This black tea puzzled me at first sight. Because I had never seen before a Taiwanese black tea that had golden tips. A Taiwanese tea expert and vendor friend saw my post on social media and commented that some Taiwanese black teas show golden tips on the dry leaves, and it depends on the cultivar. He did taste a similar-looking tea made out of assamica species. In Taiwan, I have heard that lots of hybridisation took place between assamica and sinensis varieties. This particular tea was made from Jinxuan and big leaf oolong cultivar. It is not assamica. However, its leaves tend to be bigger than usual sinensis ones. Learnt something today!
This tea was is actually a serious competition level black tea. The leaves were eaten by green leafhoppers which then result in honey sweetness in the taste. I liked the sweetness of this tea. However, I thought it lacked some complexity I was expecting based on my previous Taiwanese tea experiences. Apparently, this tea won the 4th prize in the competition, which is not bad news because it means that one can still buy without hurting your pocket too much.
This tea comes from a very low elevation around 300 meters above sea level, which got me thinking. It might explain why I found this tea slightly dull compared to other Taiwanese blacks I tried before. Not my favourite, sadly.
Origin: Rueishuei, Hualien, Taiwan
Harvest time: Autumn 2018
Leaf colour: Tones of dark green with some golden buds
Liquor colour: Dark amber
Tea Aroma: Honey and maltness
Tea Taste: Smooth and slightly sweet
Steeping: Place 4g in 100ml of water at 90ºC and rinse after 5 seconds. Steep for 30 seconds during the first infusion,and add 1- seconds to the subsequent infusions. You can re-steep this tea about four times.
Shelf life: 2-3 years