Red Blossom Tea CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Ooh this one is savory. I’m getting buttered popcorn and fresh grass, the body is oily and has a nice, long and sweet finish on the palate. Reminiscent of a sencha with balance and body.
Much different than the Mao Cha I had last night, really pleasant after-dinner drinker for sure. I mixed two infusions for a great experience. About to infuse my third.
This is a 2022 harvest (about a year old at this point.)
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Grass, Popcorn, Sweet, Umami
I’m so so disappointed with this one.
When I heard about this tea in Red Blossom’s teashop, the idea of a matcha made from Lishan oolong material was so exciting to me. They even grind it in house! I kinda wish I had asked more questions like, do you remove the stems to simulate tencha, like matcha? How often is the oolong ground? Maybe it was the marketing that got to me, because this tea powder is a terrible stand in for matcha, as it was advertised.
I was very careful to make this to the package suggestions, making sure that the water temp and ratio was just right. I sifted the powder and was hit with a very strong floral notes, just like you’d think a Taiwanese oolong would have. I slowly added water and then let my whisk do it’s frothy thing. The resulting brew was grainy and bitter as hell, with the strong floral at the forefront making way for the grassiness and bitter bite underneath. I tried my best, but I couldn’t even finish the cup. Now I sort of wish I had made it into a latte, perhaps I could have finished it then…
I think i remember trying some powdered oolongs from The Tea Kings eons back… come to think of it, it was weird then too XD
Flavors: Ash, Biting, Bitter, Cut Grass, Gardenias
Got this as a sample when I was in SF earlier this month. I’m always on the lookout for something unique and lovingly made, so the description of this tea fit the bill to a T(ea). I wanted to give this sample a respectful try, and I am so glad that I slowed myself down and noticed the brewing instructions on the sample packet. I had the hot water freshly boiled when I noticed the recommended brew temp was 180. Not usually what i subject most black tea in my collection to, but I cooled down my water out of respect.
I instantly loved the smell of the dry leaf. Perhaps it was because I haven’t had a ‘fresh’ tea in a while, but the scent of raisin with a hint of nutmeggy spice was so loud, my mouth started watering. The first infusion was a hint at what was to come. the Second and third infusions was where it’s at. Sweet honey bug bitten deliciousness with a dose of fruity mellowness. I also got a dash of mineral nippiness to go with all the other goodness. Yancha? Is that you? This black tea from across the water is giving me some yan yun qualities that I would expect from a wuyi oolong. The cooler temp for sure had a factor in this tea. The long loosely rolled leaves furthered the comparison. This was such a fun black tea to drink.
I would really consider getting a full 2oz if i’m back in San Francisco, even if the $52 price tag has me going, “Daamn!”
Flavors: Cherry, Honey, Mineral, Raisins, Stonefruit
Got this sample at Red Blossom when I was in town earlier this month. I am a massive smoky tea fan, just add lapsang to any tea blend and I appear from the mist to get my hands on it. (or should I say smoke?) I ‘m very excited to try this one, my tea cupboard feels off when there’s no lapsang in it. I technically have a Joseph Wesley LS, but it’s not the smoky kind. Don’t get me wrong, I love that tea, but it’s no campfire daydream. I brewed this western style, and felt such a rush of relief upon first whiff – I had found the LS i was missing in my life! The luscious pine smokiness blended with the robust black tea effortlessly. It’s like standing in front of a bonfire wrapped in a blanket. I wanted to see if this tea was not too harshly smoked for some blends i wanted to add it to. And lo, I immediately added some WP Golden Orchid to my teapot after the first sip. When digging in my old Steepster notes, I was last on the hunt for a good smoked vanilla black tea. Now I’m sipping on some velvety, chocolatey, smoked vanilla goodness. It is said that good things come to those who wait, and this forgotten itch has been very thoroughly scratched.
Flavors: Campfire, Leather, Malt, Pine, Smoke, Wood
Last night I chose chaos and drank this tea with my partner’s turmeric-ginger teabag that I plopped into my gaiwan to be tossed. Thought the combo would be fun, and instead of tossing my leaves and my partner’s teabag, I steeped them up one more time just to see how the flavors play together. The result? Not that good XDMost of the life in the jasmine pearls had been steeped away However… I may explore this once again, but with fresh pearls, so that the flavors are still present. Sort of reminded me of when Verdant tea began making all those funky botanical blend collabs with Intelligent Nutrients. I remember trying them all, but cannot remember if I liked them hehehe. Love fucking around and finding out!
Picked up 2oz of this tea on my most recent SF trip. it’s been a while since I’ve dived into jasmine tea, i think i’ve gotten burned by enough bad blends in the past to turn me off of the stuff for a while. It wasn’t until my partner and I had some sweetened with a light touch of honey at a hand pulled noodle spot in Chinatown did my interest re-awaken. I wanted to be a little more selective with my next jasmine tea in my collection, and Red Blossom Tea in SF had three levels to choose from. I love the novelty of a dragon pearl, watching them pop gives me so much joy. The leaves of these pearls are massive and sturdy, they impart such a mellow lightness that is heavy on the jasmine in the first steep. It’s not too chemical or overpowering, but the delicateness of the tea base takes at least a steep to fully appear. I tried this gongfu style in a 100ml teapot with very pleasant results, i am curious to see how this turns out iced in the warmer months.
Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Grassy, Green Beans, Jasmine
Picked up some of this at Red Blossom Tea on my trip to San Francisco this past weekend. I walked by the place twice before realized that they were right on grant street where all the Lunar New Year festivities were happening! The shop is small and the have a nice small selection of really beautiful teas. Although the price tags make me balk, the quality is unquestionably there. I got this tea to replace my ippodo sencha as a daily drinker. I also got a few samples; the most exciting of which is their Lishan Matcha – a Taiwanese oolong based matcha. Very interested to try that sample sooon.
On to this tea! This particular bag of leaves are from the 2022 spring harvest. The dry leaf is a nice heap of deep green twisted pine needles. I had some this morning before work gongfu style and am currently sipping on it grampa style. It has a pleasant, rich buttery-ness that cradles the vegetal sweet notes. The brewed leaf is tiny and mostly unbroken, bright verdant green. This tea is very easy to drink; even with an absent minded oversteep, the astringency is very mild. There isn’t much to dislike in this bright and happy tea. Very glad to have tried it!
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Honeysuckle, Sweet Corn
I drank this tea a few days ago but got distracted and didn’t take good notes, so I drank it again today, with my family, and took better notes.
Prepared with 6g of tea to about 5 oz. 195 water. 1 minute infusions after a 5 second rinse.
First notes on the nose were of a pleasant campfire and a bit nutty. Strong floral.
The first taste of this tea and I remembered what I liked so much about it. A smooth long finish that tastes like toffee. It’s what inspired me to buy this tea and sure enough, it was there!
Second cup was very grassy and somewhat bitter. I let the infusion go to about 1 1/2 minutes by accident so I wondered if that is why the bitter tannin taste came out.
Third cup was even more bitter. I found myself with an internal struggle on wether or not to drink my cup as I LOVE the aftertaste of this tea but I wasn’t sure it was worth the bitter tea to be drank to get it. I ended up drinking the tea and have been rewarded with a lingering aftertaste that is still present while I write this.
So now the question is, do I recommend this tea? I’ve stopped using the number rating system for a couple of reasons. 1, it’s hard to use on an iPad. I can’t get to a specific number, only a ballpark and that doesn’t seem fair. 2, I don’t want my wacky newcomer opinion to skew teas ratings AND in situations like this, I’ve got no idea what to go with. I can’t give it 90 for the fabulous finish and 50 for the bitter grass all in the same review so better to just write out my experience and let the reader decide how and if to be influenced.
That being said, I decided to be my polite American self and recommend it although, I’m really 50/50 on this one.
I’d welcome any suggestions on how to avoid the grassy bitterness if it’s possible. Without that, this tea is wonderful in my humble opinion.
This is for the winter (2022?) harvest.
I steeped 5g to 5 oz. At 185 with a 3 second rinse. First aroma is vegetal.
First steep 30 seconds, very strong buttery with hints of floral and sugarcane. My husband tasted Nori as well.
Second steep 30 seconds, much the same as the first. With a nice long finish and almost a Steele flavor, not unpleasant. Then 40 second steep, 60, 60, 60, 2minute steep to finish. Very creamy and buttery to the end. With the light floral throughout.
First steep was actually heavier on the leaf than I realized (I measured my tea after steeping and rather than my vessel holding 5 oz. As I thought, it is only holding 4 oz. So the first infusion was 5g tea leaves to 4 oz. Water at 210 for 30 seconds after a 5 second rinse.
smoky with camphor and malt. Very smooth, heavy taste with a lovely long finish. My husband described the aroma as: “warm hay you want to lay down in”
Second infusion was 30 seconds and 5 oz. Water. A bit better balanced and not as thick. Felt medicinal although it doesn’t taste particularly medicinal. It is a very intense tea, so we need a break after only two steeps.
Back for steep number 3 @45 sec. More of the same, just very rich and malty. This tea is going to the top of my list to be shared with family. It’s hard for two of us to get through a session as it’s so rich. But it’s so delicious, we keep wanting to come back to it after a while.
Wasn’t sure what kind of tea I was in the mood for today so I gave my husband a choice between a few and he chose this one.
Prepared at 180 for about 1 min. Each steep. 5.5g to about 5 oz. Water in my celadon pot. This is a smooth, relaxed tea, with mild flavor, nothing super exciting or complicated. The seller says notes of roasted sweet potato which I can agree with although it’s very faint. My husband says it has a similar flavor to Lipton. Or is what Lipton is going for perhaps? I’m actually more excited to try it over ice later this afternoon. I have a feeling I may like it better cold.
I hesitate to write this as I’m so inexperienced, I’m struggling to identify just what it is that I am tasting and smelling. After reading some of the tasting notes here, I’m intimidated and acutely aware of how much I don’t know. My desire to have this useful place to log my experiences, and see others experiences, just slightly outweighs my self-conscious discomfort though, so here goes:
I was unsure how to prepare this tea as the seller suggests a very cool, long steep (160 at 2 minutes) but my research and limited experience leads me to want warmer, shorter steeps. I settled on 180 for 1 minute varying to 2 minutes.
I used 2.5g to 4 oz. Water.
First steep 1 minute and brought out green bean and butter. Very smooth with a lingering light finish. Subsequent infusions were 1, 1, 1:30, 1, 1, 1, 1;30, 1:45, 3:00,. By the end, I was drinking water. I noted a hint of honey in the 6th infusion that I hadn’t tasted before that. The honey came back when I poured all my leftovers into a tall glass and added ice. This makes a very nice (expensive) glass of iced tea. The honey flavor was strong enough that I would have thought this tea had honey added if I didn’t know better.
Prepared gong fu style (more like a hybrid as the manufacturers recommended steep time is 2 minutes). At 197 with a 1/1 ratio. (1 gram of tea to 1 oz. Of water). I had 5 grams to 5 oz. First steep 1:30, then 2 min., 1;30, and 2 min. I took a break after 4 steeps.
Very woodsy and roasty. I felt like I was transported to a toasty campfire. Lovely long finish with notes of fruit. I was expecting to taste toffee based on the sellers description. Maybe next time.
I prepared this tea as directed at 212 with a 1/1 ratio and steeped for 1 minute. My husband joined me and immediately exclaimed “it tastes just like bread! Who needs a snack when you have this tea.” Along with the initial notes of bread, I also tasted chocolate with the most amazing lingering finish that I can still taste as I write this. I’m fairly new to tea as is my husband but we both loved the smooth, dark, liquor this cake produces.
Flavors: Bread, Dark Chocolate
Sipdown. I found some fruit and minerality along with the nuts and bran sweetness (still wouldn’t call it honey) I’d noted before. This is lovely, but not necessarily my favorite style. It’s tempting to consider embarking on a journey to understand the fervor for dancongs… I first need to learn what exactly they are, though… so not today, wallet, not today.
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Roast Nuts
I didn’t think much of this tea the first time I had it; I likely was expecting something much different with a name like “Honey Orchid” and let that color my impressions.
I didn’t take full notes on this session, but I especially was taken aback by the amazing roasty notes immediately coming off of the first steep, before I even closed my pot. It almost smelled like nuts baking, their skins just beginning to turn dark brown and almost char.
The first two steeps were my favorite, with subsequent steeps fairly quickly dissipating into sticks and wood. But those first two steeps were full of bran flakes — like sitting with a bowl of cereal and experiencing the sweetness that creeps in as you chew each bite and release the natural sugars. I don’t get honey, but this robust bran flavor didn’t need it. Really lovely.
Flavors: Grain, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Sweet, Wheat