spoons of hong yue teaDuring my time at Rishi Tea, I have been fortunate enough to cup high-mountain oolong teas that have left me speechless – teas that transported me to the mountainside and made me feel like I was walking through the misty peaks of Taiwan.  For that reason, Taiwan has become one of my favorite tea-producing origins.  Taiwanese teas have a wide range of aroma, depth, and character.  I recently had a new Taiwanese experience – black tea.  Hong Yue filled my cup with notes of cinnamon and camphor, and left me with a new desire to explore a category mostly left out of my teapots.

Taiwan is known for producing exquisite oolong tea.  Until this year, I thought that’s all they were producing.  I was not aware of their history with black tea.  The Japanese brought assamica plants to Taiwan for black tea production.  Despite their uniqueness, at the time they could not compete in the black tea market.

Hong Yue is a cross between Burmese wild tea and Taiwanese wild tea.  It is a tea with a unique flavor profile and leaves with much patience.  My first brewing experience with this tea lasted for about 16 infusions.  I filled my guywan and enjoyed the distinct nuances this tea presented me with.  I enjoyed manipulating the brewing parameters to understand fully the range of this tea.  Hotter water brings out more of a body with rich raisin notes, while cooler water makes the aroma more pronounced and the wintergreen overpowers as the liquor cools. 

Another attribute this tea has is the warming qi.  I immediately felt the warmth in my face and body.  I also noticed that this tea left me feeling a bit more stimulated than others.  During a staff tasting, I noticed the same in my colleagues.  The voices in the room got a little louder and there were giggles heard from behind the teacups.

Taiwan has once more brought a smile to my face and a welcomed addition to my collection of teas.