I had a prolonged tea session w/ 2 Taiwanese who love tea yet never buy any; they drink it w/ their parents. Right away we were disagreeing & laughing at each other. First they thought I use way too little leaf & second use too much time. So, I upped the grams & cut the seconds.
What I have called black w/ no other words is bitten by bugs & made of the same leaves used for donfang meiren (oriental beauty); we started w/ that. I think I was steeping the first infusions before, for 45 seconds or so. This time 30 seconds & I poured, thankfully. This tea is the sweetest black & w/ extra leaf (for my taste) would have been overly sweet. The extra leaf makes me think this would make a great ice tea. We drank half of the first infusion & divided the rest in 2 servers. On empty stomachs early in morning, this black showed its high caffeine content.
A one-minute second infusion produced less sweetness & let other good flavor be noticed. Again we drank half & put the rest in the servers. We tasted the combination of the first & second infusions which was excellent, equal to the pleasure of the first or second infusions drunk on their own.
The 3-minute third infusion was less pleasing. I think on its own, not right after the first two really good rounds, it would be please more. Following right after those rounds, it was only okay. Added to the blend of the earlier infusions, it brought the quality down a bit.
We ate breakfast & then started w/ Ruby Black or Ruby Jade or whatever you want to call #18, the tea created by marrying Assam w/ Sinesis. I was directed to fill the pot one third high w/ leaves & steep for 30 seconds. I did. The tea is very good w/ more leaves. Steeping for the second infusion was 30 seconds & for the third a minute. The second infusion tasted very much like the first. The third was a bit less tasty but quite good. Stacking the first & second infusion w/ the third did not make much difference.
The Taiwanese were surprised we had drunk Ruby 18. It seems a lot of teas were produced in the search for a great new cultivar. After trying a few duds, most people stopped sampling the newly created teas. Additionally, not all Ruby 18 is equal of course. I've had some awful ones & can understand how one might conclude it is not his cup of tea. I like it quite a lot, but as I said before, it is slightly out of the box.
My companions said what we had today is better than what they get at their parents' & relatives' homes. I asked if their
families might think so too. They laughed at the ?. It seems their families would never change their habit of buying the same teas from the same vendors as before.