Ruan Zhi Oolong N° 17 from Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand
The Oolong N° 17 hybrid, also called Ruan Zhi Oolong, is a queen among Thai Oolong teas. Originally a product of the Taiwanese Oolong Tea Research Program, the cultivar’s development goes back to the 1960’s and 70’s. Because of its fine sweetness, its quality consistence over the year’s harvesting cycle (compare Four Seasons Ooolong Tea), its relative altitude indifference and pest-resistance, the cultivar has been successful worldwide.
Since the early 1990s, the Thai Royal Development Project has driven the cultivar’s import and cultivation in north Thailand. The primary goal of the initiative was to substitute the illegal opium poppy cultivation in north Thailand with suitable and promising legal cash crops.
In the nomenclature of DMS Ruan Zhi Oolong N° 17, DMS stands for the region of cultivation, Doi Mae Salong. Then, “N° 17” is the tea cultivar’s original varietal name, while its more common name is “Ruan Zhi”. Further, “Jade” means the color of this only lightly fermented tea’s liquor and hints at its precious character. And finally, “Pearls” comes from the granule shape the tea leaves take on during processing through rolling. This granule shape is actually characteristic for most Taiwanese Oolong teas.
In hot water, the beautiful, carefully handpicked, rolled leaf unfolds to its full size within less than a minute. The resulting cup is clear and of amber color, mild, yet rich in aroma, with velvety sweetness and a charming flowery note to its taste.
Doi Mae Salong – Center of Tea Culativation in North Thailand
In Doi Mae Salong, the center of tea cultivation in north Thailand, tea has meanwhile become the major cash crop of the local Chinese migrants and mountain tribes. Here, at altitudes between 1200 and 1600 meters, the tea plant finds optimal conditions. Among these is the climate, consisting of 3 seasons. These are a rainy period, a hot and dry period and a cold period. Altogether, climate and geological conditions compare quite well to those in the cultivar’s home country.
The results speak for themselves. Although individual tastes might be different, the Ruan Zhi Oolong N° 17 is certainly one of north Thailand’s best Oolong teas. And it doesn’t need to shy the competition with comparable Oolong teas from Taiwan or either!
DMS Ruan Zhi Oolong N° 17 Jade Pearls unfolds the depth and diversity of its rich spectrum of fine, subtle taste nuances best at a dosage of 3 grams of the tea pearls on 200ml water. At this, choose a water temperature around 85°C and let infuse for 2-3 minutes. With western style preparation, the tea maintains its taste for 3-4 worthy infusions. Each of these will show its very own character and taste pattern.
Just like other high-grade Oolong teas, Ruan Zhi Oolong N° 17 is also perfectly suitable for the traditional Chinese form of tea preparation, the ‘Gong Fu Cha’ or ‘Tea Ceremony‘. In order to appreciate a tea’s individual taste and aroma nuances in even more detail, tea masters will infuse it across a long range of steeps. With this particularly sophisticated form of tea preparation, this tea produces up to 7 infusions or more .
For more information and illustrations on this tea please also read our dedicated blog article: