Red Blossom Tea Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is the second tea I ordered from Red Blossom and I am excited to finally do a tasting and prepare my notes.
Dry leaf aroma: Sweet potato with a malty background.
Dry leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/rnyl0zlcCK/
Preparation: Brewed western style in a glass infuser cup (which I also purchased from Red Blossom – and love – I think it is a Bodum).
First steeping: 1 minutes 45 seconds at 200 degrees. The aroma stays true to the dry leaf – sweet potato and malt, with a slight suggestion of orange. The liquor is a beautiful amber brown which seems appropriate paired with the aromatic suggestions of malt and sweet potatoes (perhaps I am ready for autumn; this color and fragrance combination is lulling me into nostalgia this evening). The flavor is multifaceted and at first it is hard for me to separate the different layers. Foremost is a pleasant maltiness with a delicate sweet potato undertone and I find as I let the cup cool notes of brown sugar appear. I was a bit disappointed I did not detect any raisin or maple syrup in this steeping (as per their website tasting notes). However, when I smell my empty cup the aroma is a heady raisin. The aftertaste is a reminiscent of sweet potatoes, with a slight starchy mouth-feel.
Second steeping: 2 minutes 5 seconds at 200 degrees. A sweet potato and malty fragrance still prevails. I do not detect any scent of orange with this steeping but as the cup cools I pick up notes of raisin. For this infusion the brown sugar and raisin notes are shining through the base flavors of sweet potato and malt. The aftertaste is also sweeter, with a refined raisin finish.
Third steeping: 2 minutes 35 seconds at 200 degrees. The third brewing has a much weaker aroma; sweet potato and malt again. The flavor is much the same as the second steeping though not as strong. The aftertaste is malty raisin and the starchy mouth-feel is still present.
The fourth steeping was unremarkable though not unpleasant. I think three steepings is a good cutoff for me.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Malt, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes
This tea intrigued me with its description so I am pleased to finally be able to taste it for myself and post notes.
Dry leaf aroma: Sweet and slightly malty with a mild trace of tobacco.
Preparation: I prepped the leaves with an initial 1 second rinse and then proceeded with my session western style (my gaiwan is on the way, so for now I am steeping western style).
First steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. The aroma is basic, a moderate black tea scent with the ever-so-slight hint of something more intricate which I cannot describe accurately. The taste is much more complex and the initial mouth-feel is extremely creamy. I’ve not experienced a black tea quite this creamy before; very nice! Buried in the creaminess is a hint of honey and a very subtle aftertaste of baked bread and banana. At the end of this cup, after it had cooled quite a bit, I detected a citrusy aftertaste in addition to the bread and banana essences. Interestingly, the creamy mouth-feel lingered after each sip. Very unique.
Second steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. I am detecting a subtle baked bread and banana scent along with the straightforward black tea fragrance. This steeping is not as creamy as the first but is still quite rich. The flavors are less complex but the brew still retains the initial profile of cream, honey, baked bread, and a trace of banana. While the cup is hot I am experiencing more of the citrus aftertaste.
I’d like to try another session using a gaiwan and multiple short steepings to experiment with influencing the flavor profile.
This is a tea that I will add to my permanent stock. Well worth the price and experience!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Banana, Citrus, Creamy, Honey
3rd steeping. 1st steeping went too long, 2nd too short. Today’s was right around 3 minutes. Let’s see…
Aroma is great this morning. Nice and earthy, just a bit of bitter sweetness. Beautiful golden brown color. The taste… Yep. Spot on. Might be a bit overdone for some, but it’s right where I want it. Big and bold, bright and earthy. Just the right bitter to sweetness balance.
2nd steeping: Finally got the steep time right. 2 minutes. And to be honest, it could have used another 30 seconds to a minute. (But not the 5 or 6 minutes yesterdays got left at…)
Subtle but smooth aroma of earthy charcoal, and a nice rich, sweet taste. This is a damn good Oolong.
Screwed up this batch. I got to reading the opinion pages again, and let it steep for 5-6 minutes. Oops.
Oh well, it’s still really good. Smokey charcoal aroma and taste, but much sweeter than Red Blossoms Lapsang Souchong, which tastes like a campfire. This Tung Ting has a much more complex taste. Still big and bold, but the earthy, nutty, wonderful sweetness is much more present.
4th steeping. Aroma still there, just a bit more subtle. Coffee and woodsy, earthy, nutty scent still noticeable. The bold tastes of a few days ago have blended together more, and while each individual flavor is more subtle, the flavor all together is still bold and big.
Let it steep a little longer for the 3rd steeping of these leaves. Totally on purpose. Totally. That’s a lie, was reading the opinion page and forgot about it. It went around 4 minutes. Oh well.
The coffee aroma isn’t quite as strong as yesterday, not sure if that’s due to the longer steeping or the 3rd use of these leaves. Taste is a little more bitter, as expected. Still a great tea, still hints of smoke and earthy nuts. Have to remember the timer tomorrow morning.
That being said, screwing up the steeping time didn’t make this tea undrinkable. It’s still wonderful, and I’m still enjoying each sip. It’s that good!
Wow, some serious bold flavor here! Strong smoky feel from the charcoal roasting, with hints of caramel sweetness.
Roasted the traditional way, using charcoal made from longan fruit wood, the thickness of the ash layer over the charcoal controls temperature, and the aroma and appearance of the tea determines roasting time, all controlled by a master tea roaster named Mr. Chen.
Well, very nice work Mr. Chen. This is an amazing brew!
Yesterday I used these leaves to make sun tea. The result:
The aroma is super light, almost non existent. I don’t notice any of the smokey, earthy hints that I got when brewing with hot water. The taste is good, but way too subtle. It doesn’t taste like much more than a regular old green sun tea. I think that has more to do with how I made it, though. Net time…
I really miss my old sun tea ball. I haven’t been able to find one that large, and the replacement just doesn’t hold enough leaves. Next time I will either use two sun tea balls, or just let the loose leaves free in the water.
Mmmm big greens! The first smell reminded me of the ocean at first, although that wasn’t quite accurate. It was the feel of driving up the coast from Santa Cruz in cold weather. That feeling you can’t quite put words to. That was the first thought. It does have an earthy smell, with a slight hint of smoke. Taste is big and bold, with hints of nuts and smoke, similar but not as bold as gunpowder.
I have a feeling this will be a great late Autumn evening green tea. It’s got that calm and tranquil feeling, as well as a sort of distant peace to it. Like things are starting to settle down, the air has that crisp, tart mood, and it will soon be time to prepare for the coming weather.
My favorite time of year!
Flavors: Nutty, Ocean Breeze, Smoke
Traditional style TGY is my favorite type of TGY. :3 I’ve sampled quite a few and this one, thus far, takes the cake! It has a nice amount of complexity and strong mineral notes similar to those found in yancha. Great length – notes dance on your tongue long after the tea has. Wonderfully sweet throat. It’s just an all around amazing traditional TGY.
I was planning on trying a shorter steep time for this 3rd steeping of these leaves. Damn you opinion section, I got caught reading and missed it, letting it steep for nearly 4 minutes. Going to need to remedy that soon.
Anyway, 3rd steeping, same strong flavor. Just as bold and potent as the 2nd, nearly the same as the 1st with just slightly less smoke presence. Slightly.
Still a ton of smoke aroma and flavor.