Leaf Appearance: dark, long and twisted
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark reddish amber
Taiwanese black teas have become something of an obsession for me over the last few months. They were always something I enjoyed but for some reason, they just seem to hit that sweet spot. I really enjoyed the Red Jade #18 from this company so that set the stage for high hopes for their Shan Cha.
The Jade Leaf's website explains that it was made exclusively from Taiwan's indigenous tea variety. They went on to explain that this variety has been crossed to produce hybrids such as Ruby #18. After reading that I was really intrigued! For a bit more on native tea varieties in Taiwan, check out this guest post that Eco-Cha contributed a few years ago: Taiwan Mountain Tea - The Indigenous Plant.
The taste of this tea was malty and sweet with notes of maple syrup. There was also a really interesting fruitiness that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Maybe lychee? It was relatively low in tannins, leaving a very smooth finish with little astringency. Later infusions brought hints of dark chocolate and a comforting biscuity quality.
If you're a fan of Taiwanese hong cha, I highly recommend giving Shan Cha a try. This tea's mellow nature makes it a great candidate for bowl brewing or enjoying grandpa style. Don't be afraid of hotter water or longer infusions. These leaves can really take a beating, though you might want to use a bit more grams per ml of water if brewing with a gaiwan.
Did you miss my podcast interview with Emilio of The Jade Leaf? Check it out here!
Shan Cha Summer 2016 sample provided for review by The Jade Leaf.