Red Rhythm Black Tea from Easy Tea Hard Choice Co. Ltd.

On September 5th of 2013, my journey through the world of tea tasting took me to Sun Moon Lake in Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan. From this farm came the Red Rhythm black artisanal tea which is the subject of this review. This sample of Red Rhythm black tea was provided by Easy Tea Hard Choice Co. Ltd. For more information on Easy Tea Hard Choice, please visit their website here.

Sun Moon Lake is located at the center of Taiwan, in Nantou County, as shown in the map below. In the tea fields around Sun Moon Lake, this exquisite tea is grown, hand-plucked, and hand-twisted. According to the Easy Tea Hard Choice website, the leaves used in this black tea are plucked from a hybrid tea bush from two varietal bushes, the Kimen and Kyang. The dry leaves of this Red Rhythm black tea are unusually long, with some measuring over two inches (50 mm). It appears that the Kyang varietal bush has the characteristic of producing large leaves. Taiwan County Map

The moment this package was opened, my office was filled with a very sweet, fruity fragrance. Between the smell and appearance of the dry leaves, I am very excited to try this tea, so let the journey begin…

Date: 09/05/2013

Product Name: Red Rhythm Black Tea

Purchased From: Easy Tea Hard Choice Co. Ltd.

Origin: Sun Moon Lake, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan

Type of Tea: Taiwan Black

Tea Leaf Characteristics Prior to Infusion:

Red Rhythm Dry Leaves

Aroma: Rich, sweet, fruity, citrusy. Slight floral fragrances. Exquisite aroma.

Dryness: Very dry. Leaves crack easily in to coarse crumbles.

Color: Perfectly uniform smokey black.

Texture: Very dry, slightly rigid long twisted leaves.

Size, Shape, Length: Unusually long, twisted leaves. Average length of 1.5 inches (36 mm), with longest leaf being slightly longer than 2 inches (52 mm). Very low level of breakage.

Unique Characteristics: Amazingly rich and fruity aroma. Unusually long, hand-plucked and hand-twisted leaves. Very low level of breakage. Possibly the most unique and obvious example of a black artisanal tea that I have seen. Very high quality.

Sampling Measurements:

Amount of Water: 18 ounces (532 ml)

Amount of Tea: 9 grams

Tea Liquor Evaluation:

First Infusion:

Red Rhythm 1st Infusion

Water Temperature: 200°F  (93°C)

Infusion Time: 2 Minutes and 0 seconds.

Aroma: Rich, room-filling, fruity, citrusy. Slight floral fragrances.

Color: Bright light amber. Clear. Transparent.

Taste: Fruity, citrusy (grapefruit). Mouth-filling and smooth, medium body. Mild bitterness balances fruity notes. Lingering aftertaste of both citrus and bitter.

Comments: The first sip of this tea lived up to all the expectations created by the aroma and appearance of the dry leaves. I only wish I would have brewed a larger pot. The aroma fills the room with citrus fragrances. The taste was so satisfying that there is absolutely no need for any additives like sugar or honey. This tea should be enjoyed as it is. Excellent. One characteristic that I expected a better result is the color of the liquor. Perhaps it was my fault with a shorter infusion time of 2 minutes instead of 3, but I expected a more colorful amber appearance. Thankfully, color is the least important aspect to me.

Second Infusion:

Red Rhythm 2nd Infusion

Water Temperature: 200°F  (93°C)

Infusion Time: 2 Minutes and 15 seconds.

Aroma: Very slightly lighter. Fruity, citrusy. Floral fragrances slightly more potent. Very pleasant aroma.

Color: Slightly darker amber than 1st infusion. Clear. transparent.

Taste: Fruity, citrusy (grapefruit). Smooth, medium body. Bitterness has lightened with fruitiness, retaining a great balance. Aftertaste is slightly lighter, but still lingering and pleasant.

Comments: Excellent 2nd infusion. Not quite as rich as the 1st infusion, but the citrusy and bitter notes lightened equally, keeping a great balance. I have no doubt that the 3rd infusion will be tasteful, and that a 4th may be possible.

Third Infusion:

Red Rhythm 3rd Infusion

Water Temperature: 200°F  (93°C)

Infusion Time: 3 Minutes and 0 seconds.

Aroma: Fruity, citrusy and floral fragrances have balanced out nicely. Very pleasant aroma, despite being lighter.

Color: Darker amber than 1st and 2nd infusions. Clear. Transparent.

Taste: Longer infusion time allowed this 3rd infusion to maintain much of the same qualities as the 2nd infusion. The bitter effect strengthened slightly. Same lasting aftertaste.

Comments: Despite stronger bitterness, this 3rd infusion was of very good quality. The color of this infusion was more what I was expecting from earlier infusions. I suggest brewing this tea for 3 minutes from the 1st infusion. I definitely believe a 4th infusion will produce an acceptable flavor.

Tea Leaf Characteristics After Infusions:

Red Rhythm Infused Leaves

Red Rhythm Large Infused Leaves 2

Red Rhythm Large Inf Leaf

Color: Uniform brown.

Aroma: Fruity, citrusy.

Size, Shape: Many large fully intact leaves, as shown above. Average leaf length at about 1.5 inches (37 mm), with largest leaf at about 2.25 inches (57 mm) in length. Very low level of breakage.

Unique Characteristics: Very nice, broad, fully intact leaves, reminiscent of an oolong style of leaf instead of a black tea leaf. Durability is moderate, suggesting a 4th infusion is certainly possible. Nice aroma.

Final Comments: This tea is the definition of an artisanal black tea. This tea presents beautiful, large, fully intact leaves that are obviously hand-plucked and hand-twisted. The aromas of the dry leaves, as well as the tea liquor, and the infused leaves are all very pleasant and high quality. The taste is remarkable, not needing any additives to make it a treat to sip. I am very happy that this sample packet of 25 grams is generous enough for me to make one more large pot of this excellent tea. I highly suggest going to the website, and purchasing a 25 gram packet of this tea. Whatever the cost is including shipping, it is worth it. This is a tea that every tea drinker should experience. However, your typical Keemun, Earl Grey, or Darjeeling may not be so appealing after you get spoiled by this Red Rhythm black tea from Taiwan. Excellent product!