Red Blossom Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

I used my last sampler, and I still wasn’t satisfied. I used cold water, mixed it into a paste, put it in a double wall tumbler with hot water, shook it, and poured the drink into a small cup. The tea wasn’t nearly as clumpy and better mixed, but was still grassy and bitter. It had the trademark Lishan creaminess, orchid, plumeria, and even buttery bread complexities, but they were undercut by the bitterness.

I’m not sure if I used too much matcha. I used a single serve sample for 14 oz, which should allow for more diffusion of the powder. Maybe I’m a clutz, but I have not had this kind of issue with regular matcha. I may just have to try this matcha again in the future, but right now, I’m not sure I’d recommend it without some practice. If you do ever decide to get one, make sure your matcha skills are on point or use a filter, maybe a smaller amount? I could just be unrefined because I do not drink matcha as much as I used to. I am still impressed with its complexity and that Red Blossom is doing something original, but the price and bitterness are deal breakers for me personally. I’m also not going to rate it because I do not think I’d be the best judge, unless someone has had the same experience.

Flavors: Bitter, Bread, Butter, Cream, Dirt, Floral, Grass

Leafhopper

My matcha-making skills are nonexistent, so I’m glad I didn’t decide to get this. It’s a fun concept, though, and I’m sad it didn’t work out as well as intended.

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They had samples!

I was extremely curious about this one. I used to really like matcha, but moved away from it and towards oolong. When I saw this, I wanted to try it out. Like the company owner describes, it’s got the same mouth feel and flavor profile of a Lishan, but slightly fuller. The only issue I had was the texture, and the tea was significantly earthier as a matcha. I used a proper matcha bowl and whisk, 160 F hot water, and z patterns with the whisk and there were no round clumps leftover, but there was a lot of green sludge left in my bowl after I poured some into my cup. I don’t know if I used to much, but the earth and dirt taste overpowered the Lishan delicate elements making me not enjoy the tea as much. The color was a perfect dark jade green, but I think I need to got lighter with the sample next time as to not remind me of the basic truth that I am literally drinking grinded grassy leaves raw.

I’ll try it another time. Not sure if I recommend it yet or not. It’s got a different kind of umami, and somehow, I’ve had much less earthy matcha. I still prefer whole leaf lishan after my first time, yet I still want to give it another chance. It’s more complex in notes than a regular matcha, though I think I might stick to a regular matcha.

Flavors: Cream, Dirt, Earth, Floral, Grass, Sugarcane

Leafhopper

I’m glad you were able to order this in a sample size! My inner tea nerd really wants to try this, but my inner pragmatist is saying it’s a bad/expensive idea.

ashmanra

Harney recommends using a tiny amount of cold water added to your matcha bowl to make a paste and then add your hot water and whisk for clump free tea. It works! I wonder if that would be a better method for this tea?

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85

Heavy on the floral Dong Ding. I should have had this tea then the MiXiang because the leafhopper bitten version was far better than this one. Red Blossom notes are pretty on point because this one is lead by the orchid aroma and flavor overall.

It’s vegetal, but very balanced. I can kinda get gardenia, but orchid still dominates it with the more vegetal snap-pea and water chestnut notes. There’s some hints of sweetness that might be interpreted as persimmon or apricot. I wondered if this were actually a Cu Yu varietal because of the orchid/snap-pea profile reminding me of Jades and Tie Quan Yins, but it’s Qin Xiang. It’s also pretty forgiving in the oversteep towards the end. Not the most luxurious Dong Ding I’ve had, but more than passable.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Green, Orchid, Persimmon, Snow Peas

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93

I used Christmas money to finally try out Red Blossom Tea, and I ripped open this sample on new years day. Safe to say it compares more favorably to higher elevation oolongs than to other Tung Tings. Passionfruit and honey were the most prominent things about this one, and tropical floral and fruity smell. It is on the green side of the oolong spectrum having some Gui Fei similarities, but not as totally as vegetal as other tung tings-maybe squash-like? It was also full bodied from steeps two onward having a honey malt flavor until it got into floral-leaf-oil-water-leftover-tea-phase.

Either way, I was hugging myself while drinking it last night. It’s been my favorite of my Red Blossom purchase so far and something I would consider getting again, though not too soon. High cost of living in California is keeping me from purchasing it as often with my Michigan income.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Green, Honey, Malt, Mango, Passion Fruit, Spinach, Squash, Tropical

Leafhopper

This actually sounds better than the Lishan Matcha. :)

ashmanra

Ooooo sounds good!

Daylon R Thomas

Yeah, it is. I should have gotten more than one sample. It was only 5 grams. I should have thought-mixiang is literally up your alley. Oh well, I will still get to spoil you.

Leafhopper

LOL, that’s okay! I don’t expect you to send me every good tea that crosses your path. :) I’ll have to put Red Blossom on the long, long list of vendors I want to buy from eventually when my cupboard is somewhat manageable.

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50

I got 2 samples of this tea to try out. Each sample is supposed to be ~3grams.
One sample was 2.8grams, which annoyed me as these aren’t cheap.

Their gongfu recommendations are a bit too close to Western Style: leaves 3.5 grams
temp 200 ° F |time 1 min 30 sec, so I used my own experience instaed.

I used both samples to 5grams. Brewed at 200F starting at 15 seconds.

Overall: This tea is exactly as they describe.
There are carmel, fruity, floral notes. It’s a very well balanced tea.
HOWEVER, it has no chaqi. It has no soul or spirit to this tea.

I kept feeling like it was lacking, and it wasn’t until later that I realized what it was.
I know many people like this tea, and it has all of the right notes….like a musician playing a song that is technically accurate, but with no feeling. This is this tea.

I kept steeping it for longer and longer, but to no avail. There’s no je ne sais quoi.
For the price point of this tea….personally, I’d give it a hard pass.

Notes, brewing times, and photos are on my blog:
https://jadeoolong.blogspot.com/2021/03/tea-session-heritage-beidou.html

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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91

Early spring (March 2020) picking; bright, clean flavors!
Dry notes: sweet corn husk, freshly cut thick grass, warm hay.
Wet notes: pea shoots, green beans, dewey spring morning.

Flavors: Corn Husk, Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Green Beans, Hay

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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91

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Gongfu!

Steeped this one up last weekend over a Zoom tea call with three IG tea friends. It was a nice conversation, though short, and I focused more on that then the notes of the tea. However, the deep orange liquor and thick soup was stand out enough to still pull some of my attention and I had the last few steeps after our call and I recall those more clearly. Really autumnal in feeling with more snow chrysanthemum, mineral, hot hay, and slight vegetal notes. Just a good solid body to the tea, even in its last steeps as it was fading.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUVZxmFrmTI/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xixzkx5DpHU&ab_channel=GoldparkVEVO

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Nursed a mug of this Grandpa style all day at the office today; it was very sullen but at least the tea was good and enjoyable. I found the flavour quite thick and creamy, with an overall sweetness and coating, soft mouthfeel. Aside from a beautiful clotted cream type of note, there was a faint hint of lemon to the profile as well. Enjoyed this throughout the day, and very thankful for a solid work stash of tea at the moment…

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100

Fantastic offering! Brewed in 200 ml yixing at ~195F, gets about 8 good steeps. It’s a bug-bitten tea, and the honey notes are immediate and up front in the aroma and the taste. I’ve had dongfang meiren (“Oriental beauty”), another bug-bitten tea, but I think it’s even better here as a black/red tea. Good sweet/tannin balance, long lasting finish, fairly thick mouthfeel. Up there with the best un-aged teas I’ve had.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley, Tannin

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 8 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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70

I made this while eating a baked brie covered with mango habanero jelly and working on my trusts law assignment. That was not what I intended on working on today but my partner is super on top of things and had already started drafting and I didn’t want to seem like a slacker. So I added to the assignment, hopefully useful information, and sipped on this tea.

Since I was focused on the assignment and not the tea, the sips were spread out and I don’t really remember much other than it being fairly meh. Decent but nothing special. It is now cold and seems to have maintained the same malt/flavor of the hot tea which is impressive that it is consistent at all temperatures. Still, at any temperature, there is nothing amazing about this. Good for every day, absent-minded sipping though. Thanks Roswell Strange for sharing!!

Roswell Strange

That baked brie sounds amazing!

VariaTEA

It was very good. I personally prefer Red Pepper Jelly b/c it is more flavorful than the Mango Habanero, surprisingly. However, this was a nice alternative.

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Gongfu!

Very late night tea session, so pretty short – even more so because it was interrupted by my landlord coming over to fix something in the kitchen. Pleasant though, and exactly what I wanted/expected from a Bai Mu Dan! Lovely & smooth with notes of timothy hay, clotted cream, and cucumber skins!! Nothing complex or out of the ordinary – and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B16MvWxgOcx/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJrKlSkxRHA

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Gongfu Sipdown (807)!

I finished this one off last week – I was very proud of myself for sipping down what was one of the larger bags of black tea that had been part of my office tea stash. However, in the week afterwards I’ve realized that I need more office black teas because it’s something I’m gravitating to a lot right now…

I described this session on instagram as:

Robust & full bodied, with some pine wood, mild smoke, and bitter baker’s chocolate notes!! Perfect break from a few sweeter teas from earlier in the day…

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B7lyALJgFib/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t50T7eEQXCo

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Western mug of this from Friday afternoon – was craving a nice black tea!

I drank this in between working on different projects so it was always fleeting sip at a time and eventually I was just drinking a cold mug of tea because I’d stretched it so long – but the taste was very nice and it was incredibly smooth. No astringency/bitterness, very forgiving to what was a really long steep time, and stayed very tasty even after cooling. I found it a touch jammy, but mostly more on the woody/spicy side of things: notes of oak, cumin, nutmeg and a little malty smoke. Kind of that “leather” quality that I like in blacks teas a lot, as well!

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Gongfu from this morning, drank at work.

It was only a 1/2 day today at work which was very fortunate for me – with my ear infection I don’t think I would have lasted a full day, I was already doing mad at my desk with pain and restlessness by hour two of the day.

I wasn’t very happy with this session – but I’m going to revisit the tea since I have a gut feeling that all the tea I consume throughout the course of this ear infection are going to be perceived more negatively than they otherwise would be.

I did stretch the session out over the course of the whole morning – and the taste was actually alright; kind of a honeyed sweetness, bit of a baked bread note, and a higher noted red fruit profile (pomegranate, red apple?). I would normally really enjoy that combination of flavours so I’m not particularly sure why I didn’t today. The finish was a little smokey and had a sort of aggressive dryness about it, and that was really the nail in the coffin.

As I said, I’m going to rebrew this when I feel well – and we’ll see how I feel about it then,

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI34LYmJ1Fs

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85

Very, very busy week at work – so I didn’t get to do a lot of more involved tea drinking during my work days (like Gong Fu/lattes/etc). In fact, in between all the hustle and bustle it was actually pretty damn challenging finding the time to make a mug of tea – but I did manage to enjoy this tea steeped Grandpa style for a few hours on Thursday! I found it tasted pretty smooth, with a nice mild and consistent earthiness with a sweeter undertone and hints of lovely stonefruit flavours (plum/raisin) in the undertones. This is probably one of the nicest aged Sheng teas I’ve ever tried, to be honest. It was very rich and smooth, and unlike a lot of other Sheng that I’ve tried.

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Shared with me by a coworker…

I wanted to really enjoy this one because I do quite like what feels like a lot of aged oolong; and the smell of the dry leaf was actually incredible. Toasty and warm, with a sweet cocoa and nutty quality and a hint of cooked/stewed fruits? Intriguing!

Steeped, I did find I was underwhelmed with the taste though. The roast level was pretty nice; sort of medium to high roast with some cocoa element and nutty qualities; like a heavily roasted hazelnut/chestnut mix with some mineral elements. I didn’t really get any “plum” or fruitiness at all from the cup; in fact really the only other note was that weird sort of semi-creamy and herbaceous dill note that I sometimes get from more heavily roasted/oxidized oolongs that no one else ever seems to notice. Plus, the whole infusion just felt a little bit flat/dull. I think I just needed more; more nuance, “levels” of flavour, and some bitterness or acidity or something to give more life to the body of this sip. All in all, it felt kinda one note…

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80

Gongfu Sipdown (1323)!

I have a frankly absurd amount of Golden Money in my tea stash right now, so I decided to finish off my last bit of this on this afternoon as a VERY over leafed session… more over leafed than I first thought, that’s for sure!! It’s moments like this where I’m grateful for my very high caffeine tolerance, though resentful of my tendency to never weigh my sessions. I’m already a few steeps in, but plan to see this super concentrated session through to the end – just gonna have to try to correct some of the concentration with VERY short steeps. Most prominent flavour from these wicked thick ones was a syrupy raisin note – and so much tannin!

(Later steeps, after I got through the crazy ones, had more malt/cocoa/bread notes)

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLKuT-ogjWV/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVGRLVfCwyE&ab_channel=NiceGuys

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80

Since I finished off another straight black tea sample I decided to pull a new one out of the drawer to work on – by coincidence it also ended up being another Golden Monkey…

Having had the Tea Runner’s Golden Monkey more recently, I actually feel like I might prefer that one? The leaf style of this is nicer and it has a better chocolate note to it – but it’s overall less nuanced feeling to me, and not quite as brisk. Still a very good Golden Monkey overall – but nothing that gives me that magical “I need to have this stocked up” kind of feeling, y’know?

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80

Gongfu – steeped in the hongcha yixing.

I don’t remember much about this session, it was a little later in the day and in all honesty it was also a bit rushed. I wanted to get one last black tea in before I lost all natural light for the evening. It was delicious, but if I’m recalling correctly very typical Golden Monkey notes. Sweet, rich, malty, smooth, chocolate – y’know, all the things. Great tasting tea, doesn’t last all that long Gongfu. Maybe three good infusions, one bad.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B69fPoaAwNq/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V465T95i6lM

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80

Short little Gong Fu session after work on Thursday night…

I didn’t want to brew too many steeps of this since I wasn’t in the mood for a caffeine buzz at eight or nine at night, but I had maybe five steeps and since I was very heavy handed on the leaf I used all of them were quite strong/flavourful. Very similar though – brisk, full bodied tea with strong chocolate notes, a bit of malt, and some raisin/smoke undertones.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvm6u_cFt4N/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcDXpTa3g-U&index=28&t=0s&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ

Just saying, The Taxpayers are my current music obsession right now and I HIGHLY recommend checking out their music. It’s so good.

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80

It’s been a while since I last had a really good Golden Monkey, but this was a good Golden Monkey!! I brewed it up Gong Fu last weekend and drank it at the same time as I was enjoying a baked brie with crab apple topping on Parmesan crisps, with slices of asian pear. I could wax poetic about how amazing the tea was and how amazing the food was for, well, forever but to keep it simple…

The pairing worked VERY well because, throughout all thirteen steeps, the tea tasted strongly and deliciously of milk chocolate – and chocolate just really compliments all of the different elements of the food: creamy cheeses, red apples, pear. Like, it ALL just went together in a super fluid way. I don’t want to be completely immodest, but this pairing was basically a stroke of genius on my part.

10/10 – would drink while enjoying baked brie again.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/BttvVENl4dO/

Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Malt

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89

Exciting news — I’m within a weekend tasting fest or two of completing the taste-and-write-an-initial-note-about-all-the-teas-in-my-cupboard project! After today, the count is:

pu erh: 4
oolong: 1

This isn’t my entire tea universe as there is still the random selection of pu erh samples to taste and a few newly arrived teabag and other single serving samples, but it will be another little tea project accomplished.

I may be out of town next weekend, though, which means accomplishing the goal will need to wait until later in the month. But I’m pretty excited about being within striking distance.

The dry leaf of this one has a lovely creamy-floral green smell.

Gaiwan. 195F, rinse, 15 seconds plus 5 for each additional steep.

The tea is a pale yellow with a green tinge. It has a natural dairy smell that does not seem to have been artificially enhanced, with some floral notes as well. It is light bodied and smooth.

This is different than other “pouchongs” I have had, which tend to be more oxidized. This one is very green, and although it isn’t as floral as some of my favorite green oolongs, it’s really lovely.

Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Floral, Green

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C
ashmanra

I had Wenshan Baozhong from Harney and Sons and it was quite green and very floral, not very oxidized at all. But I have had other pouchong tea that had a sour edge and I didn’t care for it.

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