Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rishi Tea’s Hong Yue Review

Type: Black
Origin: Taiwan
Price: Free Sample (regular price - $11.00 for 50 grams) LIMITED SUPPLY!!
Vendor: Rishi Tea
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 195°F, steeped for 3 - 4 minutes
Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5

Hong Yue, also known as Ruby Black, is a rare and unique tea from Taiwan. The fresh aroma from the bag is incredibly fragrant! It reminds me of chocolate covered raisins – sweet, slightly grape-like. There is something a bit tart about it as well; maybe dates or cranberries. The term “fresh” keeps coming to mind when smelling the leaves and I think the reason is that it lacks a smoky quality that many black teas have which makes it even more unique. The dry leaves are black, long, twisted, wiry, almost uniform pieces. The leaves are rather large for being a black tea.

The raisin aroma is brought out more while the leaves are steeping. It also has more of a fruity, candy scent. The liquor is a gorgeous copper color.

Oh my… I don’t want to write anymore. I just want to sit, sip this tea, and think of nothing else.

The taste is fantastic! I have never tasted a black tea with so many fruity notes. A raisin or grape-like flavor is prominent, followed by a currant or cranberry tartness, and then a candied sweetness. It is not spicy or smoky or bitter. It is, however, quite astringent… which I noticed by the third sip. The boldness equals that of an Assam tea but without the smokiness, of course.

As I noted next to the price, this tea is in limited supply. This is truly something not to pass on if you want a high quality tea experience.

Speaking of, have you noticed the adorable white, speckled tea pot in the picture above and in my last couple of reviews? Rishi Tea calls that a Tsuki Teapot, Tsuki meaning “moon.” I won this little beauty back in February from a contest that Rishi Tea held. I love it! It is the perfect size for one person and, because of the firing process, each teapot produces different speckles so no two are alike.

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