Ruby Red Sun Moon Lake Taiwanese Tea No. 18

Chu Rui Early Shoots Hong Yu Red Jade Red Tea Sun Moon Lake Black Tea Taiwanese Tea No. 18 Tea History

History of Ruby Red

Ruby Red (in Chinese: 红玉 Hong Yu),  also called “Taiwanese Tea No. 18”, or “Sun Moon Lake Black Tea”, is a hybrid of Burmese large-leaf tea B-729 and Taiwanese wild indigenous tea B-607, cultivated by the Tea Research and Extension Station, the Council of Agriculture (COA) in Taiwan since 1925. The center was originally established in 1903 as Tea Manufacture Experiment Station during the Japanese occupation period, to research and experiment to improve tea plantations, to develop new and better cultivars, to manufacture and educate the industry in Taiwan. The center is located in Yangmei District, a region in which the slightly acidic soil not well suited for other agriculture, has seen tea become a major crop.


Ruby Red tea liqueur

During the Japanese occupation period (1895–1945), tea plantation and production development, especially red tea was highly encouraged by the ruler. In the early 20th century, red tea became the most popular kind of tea all over Europe. Over 90% of tea sold in the market was red tea. In order to meet the high demand of the market, Taiwan tea farms started to cultivate and produce red tea. In the year of 1926, the Japanese brought in Assam tea tree from India to produce Assam black tea in Yuchi, Nantou [南投鱼池]. Taiwanese red tea was one of the top three most famous red teas in the world (the other two red teas were Ceylon and Darjeeling) during that period of time.

Ruby Red dry tea leaves

After nearly 60 years of testing and experiments, No. 18 was developed and proved to be the top excellent cultivar. It was introduced to the market in 1999.

What does Ruby Red taste like?

Ruby Red is a highly oxidized and fermented red tea. It has an orange-red color tea liquor and therefore it got its name “Ruby Red”. Since half of its origin is Taiwanese wild tea it has a unique fragrance combination of mint, cinnamon, and caramel. It also gained the name “Fragrance of Taiwan” and “Son of Taiwan”. Due to its unique charming fragrance, Ruby Red quickly became world-famous after its entry into the market.

Ruby Red wet tea leaves


Where is Ruby Red cultivated?

The main cultivation location of Ruby Red is the Sun Moon Lake region, Nantou County, with an altitude of about 600-800 meters. The temperature and humidity are similar to the Assam region in India, which is perfect for the plantation of the Assam tea tree. Since Ruby red shares half of the genes of the Burmese large-leaf tea, the same family as Assam tea, Sun Moon Lake region is perfect for Ruby Red cultivation.

Variants of Ruby Red

It is usually harvested in summer. Some are harvested in autumn and very few in spring and winter. The spring version has a special name called No. 18 Taiwan Tea Early Shoots (in Chinese: 初蕊 Chu Rui). The tea leaves are the first tender sprouts in the spring. The Early Shoots has a light sugar cane fragrance. The summer version is the mainstream Ruby Red which has a unique fragrance of mint, cinnamon, and caramel. People who taste the tea for the first time may mistakenly believe that it is a kind of flavoured tea, but it is indeed natural. The autumn version has a stronger cinnamon fragrance. Some may say it is more of a woody flavor than cinnamon. The winter version is very rare in the market. It has a more intense flavor, but in general, the flavor is lighter than in other seasons.

Ruby Red steeped tea leaves

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