I received the Sun Moon Lake Black Tea from zen8tea this week. It was described as Assam, but Melody at zen8tea told me it was indeed Ruby or Red Jade tea. I got a nice tin box with label "Sun Moon Lake Black Tea" in it. You can understand my surprise when the tea turned out to be not black at all! It's a rolled oolong. I brewed it and it tasted like a semi-oxidised oolong with medium roasting. The used leaves are brownish green.
I of course thought that they have mixed-up the teas and accidentally placed a bag of oolong (the tea was in a vacuum bag inside the tin) to the wrong tin. I wrote to Melody and this is what she answered:
"Red Jade style black tea should look like this which caused by different
procedures (fermentation level and blanching).
Traditional Black tea: 100% fermented without blanching
Red jade black tea: ferment 60%, then blanching, so leaves can keep its
color (brown mix with green).
This special procedure take double times than traditional black tea. Tea
color look clear (a little bit rose red).
I'm sorry, my English may be not good enough to make clear explanation. Hope you can understand why this tea looks quite different from traditional black tea."
I think blanching means the same as stopping oxidation by steaming or some other method - which is, of course, used when making OOLONG. So she is telling me the tea I bought is a black tea and then describes the fancy time consuming method for making this extra special "black" tea - and describes the method of making oolong!!!!!
There is nothing wrong with the tea. It was not very expensive and it was reasonably good semi-oxidised oolong, but I found it very annoying that zen8tea sells oolong as black and then continues to cheat customers by giving false explanations! They didn't even have a photo of the "Sun Moon Lake Black" tea leaves in their eBay shop, only a photo of the tin. I had ordered from them before so I believed they were trustworthy, but now I know better.