Sweetly aromatic with
smoky dried fruit notes
mature cheeses, oily fish
Picked by hand
Luyeh Red, Taiwan
Red oolong is a relatively new style of tea, developed by Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station in Taitung in the 1990s. The leaves are richly oxidised, as with black tea, then lightly roasted to create a distinct oolong style. Ours is made by Mr Lin at his small farm in the coastal township of Luyeh in southeast Taiwan. His sustainably managed tea garden is a world away from the bustling northern cities where he started out. Mr Lin actually used to work in construction, but one day, while watching a family relaxing around a pot of tea, his worldview changed and he decided to buy a farm. It took years to re-cultivate the land, but Mr Lin and his family have achieved wonders.
We tried many red oolongs, but Mr Lin's 'broken leaf' really caught our attention. The care and craft is evident throughout this tea, from its appearance to its sumptuous aromas and flavours. It combines teas from the spring and winter harvests, which Mr Lin says gives a better overall complexity. After picking, the leaves are withered to a 75% level of oxidation. Before roasting, Mr Lin and his son then shape the leaves by hand, wrapping them in canvas and rolling them methodically into a ball. This curls and breaks the leaves, helping release more of the tea's unique flavours when brewed.
LEAF APPEARANCE:Tight, dark and glossy clusters with visible tips
AROMA:Wild forest honey, autumn fruits, cacao nibs
TASTE:Dried apricots, roast carob, peat smoke
THE ART OF PREPARATION
LUYEH RED BLACK TEA
This is our recommended brewing guide, but by all means adjust to your own taste.
- Warm your teapot and cups with boiling water.
- Discard the water and add two level teaspoons of tea to your pot.
- Add 200ml / 7oz water (i.e. one teacup or small mug) at 90°C / 194°F. If you don't have a thermometer, let the boiled kettle sit for four minutes.
- Place the lid on the pot and steep for three minutes. Stir, then strain the tea into your cup.
- To re-steep the leaves, repeat steps 3–5 (up to three times).