What Black Are You Drinking

Oxidized tea
Ethan Kurland
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Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:05 pm

Ruby Jade #18 Summer 2019:

I've prepared this tea twice. Once I steeped the 3 infusions fairly quickly (30 - 45 seconds); once I steeped longer (about 2 minutes) for the 3 infusions.

Quicker steeping shows how the tea is unique more than the longer steeping. For me, the quicker steeping produces a brew that is most distinctly a break in my routine drinking of black tea from Taiwan. I like the unique flavor & the break in routine, though it is far from a favorite. The tastes that come from the Assam may be picked out by some drinkers; as well as the influence of the Sinensis; & most importantly, the dominating unique flavor of the created cultivar is clearly in one's mouth. I think most people would like that flavor; some would love it; & almost no one would fine it distasteful.

The brew from longer steeping is one I enjoy very much. Its flavor is closer to what I usually drink; yet, different. I like it too much to analyze.

I look forward to comparing a few sessions of this year's #18 to a few sessions of this year's Ruby Jade #21. My impression from sampling (when deciding whether to buy) was that they were very much the same.

A note to people who have never liked the Ruby Jades: Ruby Jade #18 is often sold by people who like to take advantage of its reputation & customers' ignorance. At the airport in Taiwan where samples of some tea is available, one must push hard & wait quite a bit to get the shop to prepare some for sampling. They prefer to give people a drink of some awfully vegetal green oolong that most don't like. Then the suggestion is made that a better purchase would be the same type of tea but a better quality one; or, Taiwan's unique black tea, Ruby Black #18. The shop does not want people to sample either of their suggested "better" purchases. Patient & pushy, I did sample #18 there twice to my dismay.

Other people who also sell the worst of #18 may not always be so nasty, just not diligent. They have not drunk much of it & probably would not care to drink much of it. It may not be so interesting to them, but they have it for those of their customers who want it. Whatever, I had tried lots of this tea that was not very good & once some from a respected vendor that was disgusting, before finding any Ruby Jade #18 that I liked. So, one may believe Ruby Jade is not for him but like the best of that type, if he ever gets to try it.

Cheers
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Balthazar
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Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:25 pm

sqt wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:59 am
Other regulars include the Black Gold from Yunnan Sourcing ($39 for 1kg) or their Da Hu Sai which they seem to have stopped making the autumn flush of, which was better value for money.
I actually haven't tried the Black Gold, glad to hear you recommend it, that price is hard to beat.

Victoria wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:05 pm
Balthazar and sqt I just had a pretty smooth, aromatic and flavorful Dianhong Jinya from Feng Qing, in southwest Yunnan. It is from Bessa Tea House. She’s in Guangzhou and on facebook has a pretty big following. Don’t know much about her though we have many mutual friends on FB for what that’s worth.. Anyone else know of her?
Haven't tried any of her teas, but I've noticed her on FB.
Iheartea
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Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:46 am

I drink green tea predominantly, however, traveling to the U.K. always inspires me to drink black tea with cream and sugar. It’s usually an English or Irish Breakfast.

For the moment, I seek advice from you for a slightly different purpose. I live in a hot, humid area and have become addicted to making my own black tea lemonade until winter. For this, I like to brew a strong but flavorful black tea. Organic would be great, but I am open to conventionally grown as well. I have depleted my black tea bag gifts, so I want to continue with loose tea. I’d love your recommendation whether prepared hot or cold.
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Victoria
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Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:01 am

Iheartea wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:46 am
I drink green tea predominantly, however, traveling to the U.K. always inspires me to drink black tea with cream and sugar. It’s usually an English or Irish Breakfast.

For the moment, I seek advice from you for a slightly different purpose. I live in a hot, humid area and have become addicted to making my own black tea lemonade until winter. For this, I like to brew a strong but flavorful black tea. Organic would be great, but I am open to conventionally grown as well. I have depleted my black tea bag gifts, so I want to continue with loose tea. I’d love your recommendation whether prepared hot or cold.
Welcome to TeaForum. Where are you located? If there is a loose leaf tea shop or farm near you, that would offer an opportunity for you to try several different blacks. I’ve been enjoying some Japanese blacks, Taiwanese reds, and blacks from Nepal and Darjeeling corridor along the Himalayas, and recently a Dianhong Jinya from Feng Qing, in southwest Yunnan, discussed above.
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Bok
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Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:35 am

Iheartea wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:46 am
black tea lemonade until winter. For this, I like to brew a strong but flavorful black tea.
When you say lemonade, are you adding lemons? If so, I would not use a high quality black tea, it would be a waste. Assam/Ceylon and the like are more suitable/palatable to add lemons. For this kind of tea, I usually I go for medium-low quality black tea. Also always worth checking out local Turkish-Indian-pick your local minority neighbourhood grocery shop for open leaves tea tins. Turkish black tea blends with cardamom can be tasty.

If you were to use high quality leaves, I would suggest the cold-brew method. Leave a good amount cold-brewing over night in the fridge. That way you get flavour, but none of the bitterness and other unwanted side effects. Taiwanese black teas are often already very fragrant by themselves so the lemon is not necessary, might even shave off some of the more interesting flavours.

In Taiwan some drink shops also offer exotic options like Puerh-honey-lemon cold tea, which is surprisingly not bad at all!
Ethan Kurland
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Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:04 pm

Ruby Jade #21: This is another successful cultivar created from Sinensis & Assamica. #18 & #21 do taste different from each other. Yet, for me, 21 is very much the same as #18 in that either fills the unique niche of a black tea that is different from others that are in anyone's tea chest. For me, both are tasty but are not some of my favorites. House guests find them quite special.

Quick steeping emphasizes some fruit flavors; long steeping brings out deeper flavors. I have enjoyed 3 infusions from a modest amount of leaves. In the past I've used leaves that had been used for 2 or 3 hot infusions with room temperature water an extra infusion (that was steeped for several hours). Today I also tried using new leaves of 21 in a glass jar of water in the refrigerator for 6 hours. That resulted in very good cold tea.

The #21 that I have is 20% cheaper than #18. I think both are worthy of being stocked & good enough to drink fairly often. For me, one of the two is enough of the type (Ruby Jade). The 21 is 20% cheaper than the 18; thus, I am happier with that. Cheers
Ethan Kurland
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Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:45 am

Championship Black: This year's (2019) seems to be the same as last year's, but I don't have any of last year's to be scientific & compare properly. This organic Lishan tea is rich in flavor & most satisfying. I prefer steeping a modest amount of leaves in 98C water around 30 seconds for 3 infusions. However, this tea can be steeped much longer without getting bitter; &, with more leaves works well for gongfu sessions. Water can be a little cooler or hotter. Lately I don't like to talk about this tea much because in the long run I've realized that I should work at getting it tried, not described. (Championship Black is delicious--enough said.)
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Tillerman
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Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:34 pm

Drinking a very fine jin jun mei from the Chen family. Wonderful aroma, lively mouth feel and sustained presence. Very nice tea.
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Bok
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Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:56 pm

high mountain Lishan hongcha on a sunny morning. Some might know it as Championship black, to me it’s morning glory... sweet, fragrant and no assamy tanniness.

The pot drying in the sun after use.
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Bok
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Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:15 pm

Different place, different pot, same glory in the morning. Lishan Hongcha.
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debunix
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Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:03 pm

A lovely session with a last bit of the special gift Jin Jun Mei I got from a visiting colleague from Shanghai. I am not sure if this was the last or the next to last--hoping there is one more 'single-serving' packet in the back of the box of black/roasted oolong teas. It is so floral and fruity and rich and not bitter, oh my.
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Bok
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Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:05 am

debunix wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:03 pm
A lovely session with a last bit of the special gift Jin Jun Mei I got from a visiting colleague from Shanghai. I am not sure if this was the last or the next to last--hoping there is one more 'single-serving' packet in the back of the box of black/roasted oolong teas. It is so floral and fruity and rich and not bitter, oh my.
That is the beauty of Chinese/Taiwanese Hongcha :)
Ethan Kurland
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Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:14 am

Not sure what Bok means by "tanniness", but I know I started enjoying Assam much less after trying good black tea from Yunnan. After having excellent hongcha from Taiwan, I rarely drink Assam. I do get some of the Assam flavors in Ruby Jade 18 & R.J. 21.

I used the last of a 50-gram packet of Ruby Jade 21 yesterday. I enjoyed that tea quite a bit for all the sessions from that packet (about 15); nonetheless, I usually would go up in quality after finishing a packet of a less-than-favorite tea in a category. But, instead of opening my last packet of Championship Black, "Morning Glory" by Bok's terms, a.k.a. Lishan Hongcha; I continued in the same less-than-favorite way & opened Ruby Jade 18. Soon I regretted the decision & wondered if I was influenced by reading posts about hongcha leading me to miss the black tea that I prefer. I was ready to post some thoughts & questions about why we bother with less favorite teas. (But also thought I should not because once the Ruby Jade 18 sits in a ceramic caddy for a couple of days, it will produce a terrific brew.)

Later that day I came to the end of a jar of delicious peach jam. As is my habit when that happens, I put 2 supermarket teabags into the jar filled it to the brim w/ boiling water to steep for a few minutes. Poured the brew into a tall glass, added milk & then had my favorite drink of tea for the day! Low quality tea w/ high quality preserves & milk = bliss sometimes. Peachy!

Cheers
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Balthazar
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Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:02 pm

Finished the unsmoked version of the 2019 Tong Mu Guan Lapsang Souchong Sample Set from Chawangshop.

This is by far the best Lapsang I've had at this price point (goes for both the smoked and unsmoked version). I'm a big fan of Lapsang Souchong, but it's getting harder and harder to find decent examples of the traditionally smoked stuff, so I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger when I saw this sample set.

Today I ordered 10 samples more (doesn't seem to be available for purchase in larger quantities, unfortunately, but I don't mind getting both the unsmoked and smoked versions as they are both stellar).
swordofmytriumph
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Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:39 pm

Balthazar wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:02 pm
it's getting harder and harder to find decent examples of the traditionally smoked stuff
I haven’t really looked into Lapsang Souchong, I’ve only had it a few times. What is the difference between the traditionally smoked stuff and the modern stuff? Besides the traditional stuff being better, obviously.
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