Monday, December 15, 2014

Eco-Cha, Red Jade

Eco-Cha Description:
Flavor: Subtle hints of clove, cinnamon and mint. Full-bodied, complex. Substantial brew.
Garden: The maker of this tea is employed by the Yu Chi Township Tea Research Extension Station and his factory produced the winner of the 2011 Black Tea Competition in this area. He is a leading figure in his field and his knowledge and expertise of black tea cultivation in Taiwan is virtually unsurpassed.

My Review:
I do not remember who sent this my way. If it was you, sorry. This was a Steepster Select offering from Eco-Cha. Red Jade is from Nantou Taiwan.

I have had the pleasure of trying a couple teas from the Sun Moon Lake area before and they have been awesome. I'm looking forward to this one. The first thing I notice is this is $12/25g. That probably takes it out of the everyday tea range. Using the recommended 3g/8oz cup that works out to $1.50/cup. You're going to spend that at Starbucks for mediocre tea, some of you everyday, so keep that in mind. The price per cup goes down depending on how many times you re-steep the leaves.

The leaf on this looks kind of luxurious doesn't it? Dark, long twists with just a hint of cinnamon streaks. The dry scent is malt, honey, and sweet potato. Yum.

Following the label instructions, I used half the sample in boiling filtered water (212F) for 3 minutes.

The wet leaf has a baked brownie scent. It's making me hungry. The dark orange brew aroma is similar to the dry leaf - malty sweet potato.

The wet leaf surprises me a little. By the look of the dry leaf, I expected whole leaves to unfold in the pot. Instead this is large, some of which is very large, pieces of broken leaf.

The cup has cooled and it is time for my first sip. Mmmmm, this is good. It is lightly malty, woodsy, sweet potato. I do not get the mint mentioned in the description but I prepared this western mug style. My understanding is that gaiwan brewing results in a ruby red liquor and a minty sensation (without the taste).

At first I thought I didn't detect the cinnamon or clove. Then I read a review on Steepster from a baker who pointed out cinnamon and clove are not sweet on their own. Most of us relate the taste as combined with sugar. Going back with that mindset, yes, I do taste both. Thank you BrewTEAlly Sweet!

This has a dryness like white wine that surprises me. There is a long lasting cheek tingle. I find it strange and interesting. Strange because I have never experienced it lasting so long.

The after taste is honey, and sweet potato. It lingers as well, but evenually gets lost in the tingle. I am now convinced this is what the description means by mint - the sensation and not the taste.

Cup two with the same leaf was steeped for 4 minutes. The color is more caramel now. The leaf aroma is more pronounced having a mix of apricot and spice. The cup aroma is more like rye bread.

The tongue and cheeks are all a tingle as the minty sensation is amplified. Accompanied by a bit of bite, this will get your attention. What I called woodsy in the first cup is now much stronger as well, and it has become more of a fruit flavor without the sweetness. I want to say apricot.

I sucked the first cup straight down and dove right into the second. My cheeks are numb and my mouth is dry. Now, I find myself in a conundrum. I drank this so quickly, I had to enjoy it, yet I find I am not craving more of it. What does that mean? I have no idea.

You can find Red Jade here.

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