Tea: 18 Ruby (black tea)
Grower: Alfredo Lin
Teamaker: Alfredo Lin
Origin: Mingjian - Nantou, Taiwan
Elevation: 300m (980ft)
Cultivation: Natural (Organic, but no certification)
Harvest Date: July 2018 (Summer)
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Complex and well-balanced. Notes of sarsaparilla, cherry, and spearmint.
Brisk, well-rounded texture with long-lasting, cool menthol aftertaste.
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18 Ruby is Alfredo Lin's take on Taiwan's famous Ruby #18 black tea. He patented the name "18 Ruby" in Taiwan for his own batches, which are of superior quality. Like many other famous teas, Ruby #18 is often poorly processed material that depends on marketing and packaging. However, Alfredo's "18 Ruby" is truly fantastic, thanks to two reasons:
(1) Alfredo learned to craft Ruby #18 from Master Aones, the Taiwanese teamaster who first perfected and popularized the tea. Like many Taiwanese teamakers, Alfredo's background is in oolong tea. He quickly became an award-winning black tea specialist under the tutelage of Master Aones.
(2) Alfredo harvests the tea from his own all-natural tea garden. This tea garden was once depleted by chemical use, and the soils were very poor; as a result, the tea plants were not very healthy. Alfredo has revived the tea field by reintroducing native micro-organisms to the soil, and by using organic fertilizers. It has become his passion to convert conventional tea fields into healthy, biodiverse gardens.
In Alfredo's garden, the tea plants have a distinct pink-yellow hue in the young shoots. This reflects a particularly high thearubigin content in the leaves, thanks to the incredibly healthy soil and environment.
The Ruby #18 style is named after the No. 18 cultivar, Hong Yu "Red Jade", which was developed by Taiwan's Tea Research Extension Station (TRES) for black tea production. The cultivar is a cross between a large-leaf Assam cultivar, and the native Taiwan wild mountain tea tree. Cultivar No. 18 produces a distinct herbaceous, bright fruit and menthol profile, and exhibits high thearubigin content when cultivated correctly.
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Recommended Brewing Instructions:
Use 2tsp (~4g) per 250ml cup. Brew for 2 minutes.
- 195F for a smoother, lighter profile with honeysuckle notes.
- 205F for a bolder, fuller profile with stronger malt and sweet citrus notes.
This tea can be rebrewed up to 5 times, with hotter water and longer infusions.
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