Many of the tea cultivars discovered and perfected in Taiwan have numbers for nicknames: JinXuan is called #12, Jade cultivar is known as #13. Ruby #18 is one of these; a cross between a wild Formosan tea plant and Assam, developed specifically to make phenomenal black tea.
Grown near the famous Sun-Moon Lake in Nantou, Taiwan, Ruby #18 is one of the most popular black teas in Taiwan and the rest of East Asia, no small feat considering the region’s strong preference for greener teas.
Prepare this tea full-bodied or light depending on your preference. For full-body, use 4 grams of dry leaf per 100ml of water at 98-100c. Brew for 30 seconds, no longer. This style produces a syrup-like sweetness, with notes of chocolate, licorice and camphor. The sheer robustness of this brew makes it excellent for pairing with a meal or desserts. You will definitely be able to taste this tea even while enjoying a flavorful meal!
To enjoy the tea by itself, as we often do in the office, we prefer to steep it light. Use 2 grams of leaf per 100ml of water at 91-93c. Again, brew for no longer than 30 seconds at first, gradually adding 15-20 seconds per re-steep. The liquor is more delicate, with notes of mint, baking spices, and licorice complimenting a softer, fruity sweetness.