Monday, June 13, 2016

Totem Tea, Ruby 18 Taiwanese Black

Totem Tea Description:
As delicious as it is beautiful, this striking tea is unlike any other black tea.  There are immediate and powerful dark fruit-pit notes alongside a wintergreen-like expression, which is quite striking and unique.  The dark red quality of this tea seems to go beyond just the rich ruby color.

Taiwan is world renowned for its oolong tea but little is known of its phenomenal Black tea which is often referred to as Sun Moon Lake Black tea due to the location of its growth and production. This black tea is as unique and special as the oolong produced on the special island.

Sample provided by Totem Tea

My Review:
Sun Moon Lake Black Tea. It says so right in the description above. Need I say more? Just in case you didn't get the memo, I will go ahead with the review. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my readers.

I opened up the sample packet and sniffed, just as I always do before looking at the leaf, and first caught dried field grass and a touch of malt. Then I detected fruit. At first I was thinking grape? Then changed my mind to cherry. The later seems to fit the company description better as well. Either way, it definitely has fruit notes.

The leaf as you can see above is very dark, long, and lightly twisted.  This is the only situation where you will ever catch me favorably comparing anything to spiders, but the leaf has that tarantula leg feel about it. I am not afraid. Just by observing the leaf you can feel that this is quality tea.

I prepared this per directions at 195F for a 60 second steep. The beginning western steeper might let this go for the typical 3-5 minutes. I think the tea would hold up to the task but please refrain. One minute is long enough for a beautiful cup and doing so assures you extra steeps with the same leaf. This one claims four steeps by increasing the time with each cup.

The cup is actually a little darker than it looks on my computer screen. It is sort of bronze in color with ruby highlights.

This tastes so good. I wish you were here to share a cup. It is honey and plums? Maybe my first instinct of grapes wasn't so far off. Caramel and cocoa notes are in here as well. Then it finishes with this sensation of mint. Not the taste, the sensation. And not the harsher spearmint type either. This is a very comforting and welcome cooling like from winter mint.

I have to admit, as soon as I saw Ruby 18 Taiwanese Black, I was pretty certain I was going to love this tea. I am not disappointed. In fact I am a bit elated. It has been a while since my last Sun Moon Lake cup and I don't recall any of them having the cooling (and lingering) aftertaste. Possibly they did and I have forgotten.

If you love a soothing black tea, this one comes highly recommended.

You can find Totem Tea Ruby 18 Taiwanese Tea here


  1. I have been trying a few Match teas as I was reading its 10 time more healthier drinking one cup of Matcha Tea than it was drinking 10 cups of Green Tea, I gave it a go, for sure you feel good after drinking Matcha but I'm not sure its a mental thing or reality. So I searched online for a supplier of Match tea and came across a UK company with a selection of over 1000 different loose teas choose from also a selections of tea bags and coffees, I have now tried all of there Matcha Teas and I would recommend them all in the sense of they all taste great - they have also done a good article on their website which explains a lot about Matcha tea, what it can do for the body, where it comes from and how its produced, well worth a try

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