Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: long, dark
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep reddish amber
I get A LOT of emails from companies who want me to write about their teas here on the blog. These days I say no more often than I say yes but sometimes a company stands out from the pack. That’s what happened when Jason Chang, the co-founder of Teaful, wrote me about his experiences growing up in Taiwan. A hike in the Muzha region six years ago changed his world when he discovered the amazing Tie Guan Yin produced there. Jason’s passion for tea was evident from the first email which made me all the more excited to share his teas with you all.
Jason called this his flagship tea and it’s easy to see why. It was produced using the Chin-Hshin cultivar in the mountains of Li Shan. This variety is usually used to make high mountain oolong but in this case, the leaves were fully oxidized. The processors work closely with the retired secretary of the Nantou Bureau of Agriculture to make this experimental batch of tea.
The taste was pleasant and light yet nuanced, a perfect choice for those who think they don’t enjoy fully oxidized teas. It had strong malty notes layered with sweeter hints of maple syrup and plums. While there was some tannin, the mouthfeel was smooth with very little astringency. If you’re a fan of Ruby #18, you’ll definitely want to give this one a try.
It’s worth noting that this tea is a summer harvest. While spring teas are the most prized it’s more than understandable that the best leaves would not be used for an experiment like this one, at least not right away. As the processors continue their work we may just see an even higher quality version from future harvests.
I found it interesting that Teaful offers several different “Taste of Taiwan” packages. I think they are a great jumping off point for those who are just starting to explore the amazing teas from this region. This tea is part of the Chapter 1 box which also includes Bi Luo Chun, Jade oolong, and Alishan oolong.
High Mountain Black Tea sample provided for review by Teaful.