I’m a sucker for bug-bitten oolongs and their characteristic honey flavor. Although I usually avoid black teas for health reasons, I couldn’t resist a straight black tea with honey in the name. I did not know anything about it at the time I drank it and took notes, but I have since looked it up and am not surprised to learn that this is a Taiwanese black tea produced from tea leaves that have been nibbled on by leafhoppers. It tastes exactly like you would expect that description to taste, in the best way.
The sample I received came in a pyramid sachet. This is also available in loose leaf. I brewed three steeps in the sachet, but if I were to do it over again I would cut open the sachet and put the loose leaf in a steeper. I opened up the sachet when I was done and the reddish-brown leaf was still not fully unfurled even though it had filled up all of the space available. It’s just really good leaf, and it deserves room to breathe.
The dry leaf smells like honey, malt, and sugar. It steeps up a nice amber color. The flavor is malt and honey. Simple but beautifully executed. It’s seductively smooth for two solid steeps. A third steep is possible but comes out watery; I had to top it off with some actual honey. If you’re looking for a black tea that’s a little different than the usual, this one’s worth a try.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Golden Leaf
Third Place Award Winner at the North American Tea Championship 2015. Honey Red Jade Tea is a unique fermented black tea from the pristine hills of Taiwan. Hand-picked and processed, Honey Red Jade Tea is grown naturally to encourage the tea leafhoppers to feed on the tea leaves, producing a natural honey fragrance when the enzymes from the leafhoppers interact with the tea plants. This tea brews to a dark caramel color with a sweet fragrance and refreshing taste.