Santikhiri Ruby Ruan Zhi is a complex Thai black tea made from a ‘Ruan Zhi’ cultivar. It is a high mountain tea grown at an altitude of around 1,200-1,600 metres and was plucked in Summer 2021. We source this tea directly from the organic plantation in Doi Mae Salong.
Just like our Santikhiri Ruan Zhi Oolong, this black tea is made from a Taiwanese Ruan Zhi or ‘Soft Stem’ (軟枝) cultivar that is favoured for lighter floral oolongs. However while the oolong version of this tea is only slightly oxidised (around 20-30%), this black version is allowed to undergo almost full oxidation. It is still probably a little off being 100% oxidised, so it’s a transitional tea somewhere between a dark oolong and a black tea. Based on the flavour profile, however, we do class it as a black tea.
This Santikhiri Ruby Ruan Zhi black tea comes from around Santikhiri village (formerly Mae Salong) that is located in Mae Fa Luang District and around the highlands of Doi Mae Salong mountain, close to the border with Burma and Laos. As it is made using a Taiwanese cultivar, the heritage of this tea is quite obvious to those who have had some of our fantastic Taiwanese black teas. The profile of this tea is complex yet very balanced. Just like the best of Taiwanese black teas, this tea from Thailand exhibits a variety of sophisticated flavours that are bound to appeal to discerning tea drinkers.
Santikhiri Ruby Ruan Zhi black tea comes in small tightly rolled leaves that are very dark in appearance, resembling dried currants. The leaves are quite a bit smaller when compared to the oolong version, due to the heavier oxidation process. The liquor produced is dark amber in appearance with a little green tint. It has a slight cinnamon and wild honey aroma. The character of this tea is complex yet light and very brisk in nature. The flavours are stony and fruity with a tangy taste that is neither astringent not drying. There are pronounced wild honey and cinnamon notes present that makes this tea quite comforting and warming in nature. A real delight especially during the colder winter months!
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed around 3 times depending on your taste preferences.
This Santikhiri Ruby Ruan Zhi black tea was first featured in our November 2017 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.