Review: Cameron Tea Black Tea-Ruby, Competition Grade

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Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This tea’s honeyed malt profile is quite enjoyable. Best served in the late morning or afternoon, since it's a bit too delicate tasting as a morning jolt. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
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This tea comes to us from Taiwan’s famous Sun Moon Lake area. Grown at an altitude of 700m, this offering uses a relatively new cultivar, imaginatively named #18 by the Taiwanese Tea Research Institute. It’s described as having a natural cinnamon flavour as well as a hint of mint. Looking at my sample, the purplish black leaves are long and spidery. Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion but they really do smell like cinnamon to me!

In the absence of more specific brewing directions from Cameron Tea, I steep a heaping teaspoonful of leaves in 250ml of water for 3 minutes. The coppery cup has a malty, salted caramel scent to it that whets my appetite. The flavour profile seesaws between tannins and malt, ending on a sweet berry note. There are also some more elusive toasted bread and cinnamon tones.

I steep the leaves again for 4 minutes. The results are more cinnamon flavoured this time. Malt and brioche notes lead the way to the sweet and spicy finish. It’s good but I preferred the variety of flavours of the first brew.

I brew a third cup for 5 minutes. The flavours are now quite mild: some honey and malt notes make an appearance, as well as that promised hint of mint. On the plus side, the tea is completely smooth. I don’t bother with another steep, as the leaves seem well passed their prime.

This tea’s honeyed malt profile is quite enjoyable. The first brew offers the most satisfying variety of flavours. Since it's rather mild overall, I would brew it gongfu style next time for best effect. I would drink this tea in the late morning or afternoon, since it's a bit too delicate tasting as a morning jolt. This leaf would be a good introduction to the cultivar, given its reasonable price point. It's definitely a good buy for those who like smooth, sweet teas.

— To purchase Cameron Tea Black Tea-Ruby, Competition Grade, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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