A Different Eighteen
Notes of manuka honey, hibiscus, and black currant.
Red tea from Taiwan・April 2021・龍眼炭焙紅玉・Organic
Eighteen is a hybrid of a native Taiwanese wild cultivar and a large leaf Assamica, creatively named by the Taiwan Tea Research & Extension Station (TRES) for their 18th successfully developed cultivar. The wild Taiwanese lineage gives Eighteen its natural floral qualities, while the richness and intensity of the brew stem from the Assamica strain.
From the Sun Moon Lake scenic area, these leaves are grown and produced by a farmer we met on our 2018 sourcing trip. His harvest, our original iteration of Eighteen, stood out with beautifully shaped, consistently sized leaves, and a tea with both clarity and depth.
A Different Eighteen pushes the post-harvest craftsmanship even further. In this iteration, we’ve parsed out the finer leaves from the general harvest, selecting leaves with more aromatic intensity and flavor. They are then charcoal roasted to concentrate and intensify these qualities. This is no easy task; twisted leaf teas are extremely challenging to roast and therefore quite uncommon. Unlike rolled teas, the twisted leaves catch in the weft of the bamboo roasting baskets, easily breaking or burning in production. A gentle hand, and sharp intuition for the craft, are paramount.
During our spring 2022 sourcing trip, we were fortunate enough to meet a charcoal roaster equal to the task. Over the course of three days, the leaves were slowly roasted over longan wood pits to distill the tea to its most innate form. Here roasting softens the highest and lowest notes of the tea, reducing the background noise and presenting a final product with a crystal clear structure and finish. Brewed, a Different Eighteen’s leaves unfurl in beautiful vermillion, with the sweet, almost menthol-tinged quality of Manuka honey, and notes of black currant, and hibiscus.
Brew: 5 grams・150 ml・205° F・1 min
More familiar with our old quantities? Here’s the conversion:
|Metric quantities||Ounce equivalent||Servings|
|30 grams (new size!)||1.05 oz.||5-8|
|60 grams||2.10 oz.||10-15|
|120 grams||4.20 oz.||20-30|
|240 grams||8.46 oz.||40-60|