Yuchi Assamica (魚池鄉阿薩姆) is a wonderful showcase of the complex and unusual black teas that are produced in Taiwan. This black tea is crafted from a TRES #8 Assamica cultivar that is grown at an altitude of around 700m in Yuchi Township, located on the edge of the picturesque Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in central Taiwan. It was hand picked in April 2018 and is sourced by us from the grower via our Taiwanese tea master.
This Yuchi Assamica is made from the TRES #8 cultivar that is also known as the Assamica tea plant in Taiwan. This particular cultivar was registered by the Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) in 1973. It was selected from camellia sinensis var. assamica plants that were originally brought from Assam in India.
The story of the arrival of these plants goes back to the Japanese colonisation of Taiwan. During the Japanese rule of Taiwan (1895-1945) the Japanese established the first Tea Research Institute in Taiwan with a view to create a black tea industry to rival the black tea exports of the British Empire. In the 1920’s, the first camellia sinensis var. assamica tea plants were introduced from Assam in India and planted around the Sun Moon Lake area as this was judged to have the perfect growing conditions. The production quickly took off and Taiwan was producing black tea on a large scale until the end of the Japanese rule at the end of World War II. After World War II the production of black tea declined significantly as it became too costly and unprofitable for the farmers.
Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station undertakes significant research and selection procedures for Taiwanese tea cultivars and started building up a catalogue of standardised cultivars, the first of which were registered in 1969. Some of the descendant plants of the camellia sinensis var. assamica plants originally introduced by the Japanese were selected and recognised as the new TRES #8 cultivar. In a nod to the origins of this tea, this cultivar is still known as the Assamica cultivar in Taiwan.
This Yuchi Assamica has very large twisted leaves that have a savoury aroma. The liquor produced has a rich amber colour with good clarity and a sweet-savoury, fruity and vegetal fragrance. The produced flavours are complex and multi-layered. The taste, much like the aroma, is sweet, yet savoury. It has a soup-like thickness of flavour, reminiscent of the taste of a vine tomato soup. There are lightly mineral, malty and herbaceous notes. The overall flavours are clean yet complex, signifying a tea of great quality. The aftertaste has a nice mineral and savoury touch with a hint of assam-like astringency that serves as a gentle reminder of the origins of this cultivar.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. It should be brewed multiple times as each infusion brings out new exciting flavours!