Red Blossom Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

75

More new tea!

Chai tea is my go-to coffee shop drink, since I’m not a huge fan of coffee, and only drink it once or twice a year. You know, like New Year’s Day, when I am battling the effects of the previous night but know there is plenty more to partake in.

But I digress…

Chai. My go-to. Starbuck’s Chai is… OK. I think it was better before they switched to Teavana, but whatever. Peet’s Chai, same thing. Pretty good. I’ve found many places that serve up Oregon Chai. OH MYYYY. That’s the shizzle.

Today I will make my own. This will be the first time I make it properly, not just like all the other tea I make.

So, the directions pulled from Red Blossom’s website: “A proper Chai needs time to infuse. We recommend brewing large multi-serving pots of this tea. For four servings, use 15 grams of tea leaves to 2 cups of water. Simmer on low heat for 8 minutes. Then add 2 cups of milk and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Serve sweetened.”

Here we go:

First off, the large serving size is fine, I make all my hot tea with a 32 ounce Bodum Assam teapot. Done. I also used fat free milk, next time I won’t do that. I will use either 2% or Soy milk. I also did not add any sugar, I will next time, just to add a bit of sweetness. The first brew I always want to get to know the tea itself, no outside help.

Everything was fine until I added the milk. I’m never sure with things like this if I should start the timer when I add the milk, or when it returns to a boil. I did the latter.

The result is very good, no doubt. Not quite Oregon Chai, but I don’t have the equipment to serve up that beauty. But very good none-the-less.

Red Blossom uses a masala-style black tea, this particular one “a sweet Lychee Black Tea as the base”. They then add orange peel, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. Unsweetened, it has a bit of a bitter, over spiced taste. That must be why they recommend sweetening it. Makes sense. Next time.

This chai tea is going to take some time for me to really get good at brewing it, but I have a feeling when I do figure it out, it is going to be amazing.

(And that score of 75 I just gave is will go up, no doubt.)

-E

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Milk, Orange, Orange Zest, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 15 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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96

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Corn Husk, Cream, Freshly Cut Grass, Honey, Sugarcane, Wheat

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87

Grabbed this while in San Fran last year, just now getting around to trying it. It’s one of those whites that brews up like a black (thick, chocolatey, full-bodied brew) yet is still light and refreshing. Likely my favorite kind of white tea, other than maybe something fruity that’s brewed up cold.

Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Sil

i love those sorts of whites…really interesting

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90

New tea!

I’m normally not a huge fan of blends, but there are a few I do like. A good mint, Chai, Jasmine, or anything super interesting, well balanced, and not over the top.

This Jasmine is certainly on that list. It uses Da Bai tea leaves as the base and Jasmine flowers from Fuijan, which Red Blossom says are more intense than what they have used in the past.

What we get is a very well balanced Jasmine, the flowers have an incredible, aromatic presence, but don’t take from the Da Bai base.

Even with a relatively low amount of leaves, only 11 grams in my 32 ounce Bodum Assam teapot, the flavor is immense.

If you’re looking for a full flavored, intense, but still incredibly well balanced Jasmine tea, check out this brew. You won’t be disappointed.

-E

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 11 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

Finally got through the loads of tea sitting on my shelf, at least to the point I could finally warrant a new order. (down to 5 greens, 2 whites, the last bits of a Pu-erh, and some samples is just not enough to live on…)

So, here we go, the first in a new order from the good folks at Red Blossom Tea Company!

I love a good Tieguanyin. A student of mine went to China and brought me back one of the best teas I have ever tasted, so this tea does have a bit to live up to.

Following the directions on Red Blossom’s website, I used 14 grams of leaves in my 32 ounce Bodum Assam teapot, rinsed, and then tumbled 200 degree water and steeped the brew for 2:30.

The scent is the first thing that hits you, and it is a good one. Just a bit of a roast sensation topping off a great, dark, malty base. The color is a bit deceiving, it looks lighter than it tastes and feels.

The taste… Damn. Nice and malty, with hints of almonds and toffee. The website says honey as well, thinking about it, yeah, it’s there, not sure I would have noticed that if it wasn’t on my mind.

This will make an EXCELLENT late autumn tea, sipping as the air turns brisk and the temps start to drop. If I have any left by then, of course!

Overall, this is a damn good Anxi Oolong.

-E

Flavors: Almond, Honey, Roasted, Toffee

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 14 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
scribbles

Love dark roast oolongs. This sounds really good!

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91

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This Formosan oolong, from the highest peak of Taiwan’s Li Mountan (梨山), is a great representation or standard for the Formosan (Taiwanese) Oolong category. There is an incredible complexity and clarity in the layering of flavor notes. It is also more powerful or fragrant than other lower grade Taiwanese oolongs, and as such one could probably get great results with 3-4 grams rather than the standard 5. I’m not wild about the herbaceous eucalyptus notes strongly present in this one, but it is certainly a unique flavor and balanced by incredibly clear notes of sugarcane, mango, and cream. Red Blossom also sells a delicious Lishan Taiwan Oolong (picked from a slightly lower elevation tea garden on the same mountain), but the differences between it and the superior Fu Shou Shan are remarkable.

Flavors: Cream, Eucalyptus, Gardenias, Mango, Passion Fruits, Peach, Sugarcane

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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85

Sun tea brew:

I love using good white teas for sun tea, and this is no exception. That wonderful light, crisp, clean finishing taste is present. The hint of wood, dried fruit, and nuts work very well in the cold version.

I almost like it better as sun tea than as hot tea!

-E

Preparation
6 tsp 128 OZ / 3785 ML

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85

More new stuff from Red Blossom!

I’ll be honest, I don’t drink white teas very often, and thusly don’t know much about them. I prefer the bigger, more robust Oolongs, Pu-erhs and black teas.

But I do like to change things up now and then, and I always like to try new things. So, here is Red Blossom’s Organic Bai Mu Dan.

I used about 3 tablespoons in 32 ounces of 180 degree water for 1:30, after rising, of course. Just what the directions on Red Blossom’s website said.

The color is a nice, clear, crisp, darkish golden yellow, a bit darker than straw colored. A little darker than I thought it would be.

The aroma is nice and woodsy, with hints of dried fruit and nuts. The taste has all of those features, in a beautifully well balanced delivery. It has a super light, crisp and clean mouth feel, leading and adding to the light dried fruit taste on top of the woodsy white tea base.

This is a great, super simple, very well balanced, uber drinkable white tea. Good stuff!

-E

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Wood

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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87

Second steeping of these leaves. Still love it, but I’ve got a good tip:

Don’t overdo it with the amount of leaves. I used what I thought was the recommended amount in the first steeping, as Red Blossom recommended slightly more leaves than the average Oolong brew, before realizing just how tightly rolled the leaves were. When they got wet and expanded, they filled my teapot. Wow, they REALLY expand!

Today I removed about half of the leaves, put them in my backup teapot to save for later, and tried brewing with a lesser amount.

Same big, bold, uber smooth but still thick buttery feel, and the straw and grass undertones were still present and accounted for.

Love this tea!

-E

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 7 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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87

Finally got a new order in to Red Blossom, and this is the first grab of that order.

For an Oolong, this one is pretty light in flavor, really more towards a thick and tasty green then anything darker. It has a crisp and clear straw color to it, a nice see through yellow.

The taste and smell are full of big, beautiful butter. The taste as well. Crisp, clean, finishes super smooth. The thick, smooth buttery feel and taste are what makes this tea click, but not so overwhelming that the underlying hint of grass and straw don’t get to shine as well.

Red Blossom says this season’s Alishan harvest was plagued by rain and heat, so the quantity was rather low, but “skilled craftsmanship turned that small amount into an exceptional wonderful tea.” Yup, I completely agree. They really nailed it finding this one, I hope they have it for a while!

A tip: These leaves are rolled pretty tight. Red Blossom recommends using slightly more leaves than normal in the mix, which I did, but then realized how tight they were rolled when they expanded. The next time I brew this, I’ll use about 2/3 as much.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Smooth, Straw

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 11 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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This is my first Jing Xuan tasting so I don’t have much of a comparison which is why I will not rate this for now. When I first opened the bag there was a subtle aroma usually given off by green teas mixed with a pinch of sweetness which I enjoyed.

The first two steeps tasted like regular green tea to me which I wasn’t too pleased with but the aftertaste lingered with the same sweetness I smelled upon opening the bag maybe a little peachy? The last steep was the one where I smelled the creaminess of the tea the most and there was a small hint of it upon sipping the tea.

Milk oolong is my favorite tea so far from drinking with friends and this again is the first time I’ve purchased it for myself.

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77

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A very interesting green tea. All the characteristic flavor notes of the category (nutty, vegetal, etc.) plus a hint of smoke and bright citrus, and lacking the harsh tannins of Dragonwell which makes for a very round mouthfeel. Yum!

Flavors: Citrus, Nutty, Smoke, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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76

I’m starting to feel like dan cong oolongs are not really my “thing” or maybe I just like my oolongs on the sweet and fruity side, which is why I like the Honey Orchid but seem to have problem getting into some of these other varietals.

So, I tried this in the store and I figured the Red Blossom folks would be the ones to show me how to brew this stuff properly. They used a gaiwan with about 2mg of tea in it and water around 190 F (but told me you can also use boiling water with this tea). We did a quick rinse of the tea and then short steeps. I found this to be on the light side with definite citrus-y orange notes that are subtle and build up on your palette over time.

Mostly we did 30 second steeps but also did one steep that was around 1.5 minutes. I was told if you steep it longer it can become astringent and drying but that’s how the local people like it.

I thought it was “just okay” and definitely wasn’t compelled to buy it. Maybe a dan cong connoisseur would appreciate this, but I might just give up on my experiments with them for a while. I just don’t get the appeal, but that’s ok. There are plenty of other teas out there for me. :)

Flavors: Orange Blossom

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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96

This is a super tasty high mountain Taiwanese oolong (and currently one of the only ones in my stash).

I feel like Red Blossom did a really good job of describing the notes in this one. It is super lush tasting! The tea liquor brews up a light green and has a wonderful cream note with hints of butter and intense fruit. I am getting mango and pineapple. I steeped it around 5 times in the gaiwan and it is still going strong but the fruity notes are a bit more present in the earlier steeps. It has a lingering finish that really coats your mouth after you’ve been sipping on it. I tried this in the store and it is definitely a treat. Great afternoon tea, really relaxing and the flavor makes me so happy! Loved it.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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89

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This tea is a great example of a classic Taiwanese winter oolong. The floral notes are enhanced from those of a spring flush. The tea has a hard-to-describe mellow crispness. Incredibly clean, with a beautifully lingering finish.

Flavors: Cream, Gardenias, Sugarcane

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80

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It would be difficult to find a more aromatic tea. Mi Lan Xiang (or Honey Orchid) indeed possesses notes of honey. However, this is only one aspect of a flavor profile that includes floral notes, winter fruit, and the dry, mineral or metallic flavor distinct to Phoenix oolong tea.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Metallic, Mineral, Stonefruits

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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88

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This is a really interesting green tea, perfect for someone who has experience drinking both green and white teas. Not a good representation of a “classic” green tea, but more of an adventure – an experiment. And the tea is just that, crafted from the cultivar normally used to make white tea, but with the method used to make Dragonwell green tea, hence the name Xue Long or Snow Dragon. All the desirable characteristics of a Dragonwell (nutty, sweet, bright) without any of the undesirable characteristics (this tea is not at all tannic or astringent like many Dragonwells, but rather very mellow), plus many of the the flavors of a white tea. A truly enjoyable experience.

Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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63

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Brighter than Red Blossom’s Pre-rain version, but still lacking in depth. I would recommend a higher quality Dragonwell, such as their Ming Qian Shifeng (Shifeng – which means Lion Peak – is the mountain in Hangzhou, China of Dragonwell tea’s origin; the most prized Dragonwells come from this mountain) or their Pan’an Supreme. Dragonwell is a tea you need to spend a bit more on to get the most of its flavor.

Flavors: Citrus, Nutty, Roasted, Tannic

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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60

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Unfortunately, Dragonwell is one of those teas that you need to spend a bit more on to get the right flavor. This one is lacking in complexity. While it has the nuttiness typical of Dragonwell, it is flat, and lacks the sweetness of higher quality versions. Pre-rain (雨前 – Yu Qian) teas by definition are lower in quality, as they are picked at the very end of the harvesting season after the best flushes have already been picked. As such, it is always best to go with a Ming Qian tea instead (one picked before the Qingming Festival). I would try their Ming Qian Pan’an, Shifeng, or Pan’an Supreme instead.

Flavors: Nutty, Roasted, Tannic

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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87

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A beautiful, superbly balanced Wuyi Oolong. Deeply layered flavor profile, with complete harmony between all layers.

Flavors: Cream, Dried Fruit, Mineral, Roast nuts, Soybean, Tobacco, Wet Rocks

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.


Before trying this tea, I was never a huge fan of black teas, but Red Blossom Tea Company’s “Three Cultivar Red – 三品紅” has made me reconsider. The tea is unusual for a black tea, in that it is crafted with cultivars used normally for Wuyi oolong teas (also called Wuyi Rock Tea). This means that while “Three Cultivar Red” possesses all the trademark flavors of a black tea, it is more layered and nuanced like an oolong.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cream, Dried Fruit, Honey, Orange, Smoke

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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93

I am drinking this tea today for maybe the first or second time only. I can’t believe i have never written a review about it…

So this is a rolled white tea that is similar to the jasmine white pearl I also like from Red Blossom. Instead it is scented with osmanthus. I have done several steeps in the gaiwan today .

https://instagram.com/p/zdQjXmoLWX

I get a light yellow tea liquor with this one. It really only needs to be steeped for about 30 seconds. It has a light, cornsilk, buttery type of flavor and while the osmanthus is present, I would say it is fairly subtle in this blend. That is good news for me, as I don’t like overly flowery teas. It has a bit of sweetness but I actually like this with a tiny bit of coconut sugar as well.

There must be something about osmanthus that relaxes you because I find this very soothing when my nerves are feeling stressed out and I’m a bit hyper. Also brings a happy feeling. I am definitely glad to have this in my tea collection!

Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Floral, Osmanthus

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
Lion

Some companies call white tea pearls Panda Pearls rather than Dragon Pearls… I find this adorable. They are said to bring incredibly good fortune because apparently that is what panda tears are supposed to do in Chinese folklore and the pearls represent tears. Hrrrrrrrr… I might explode from cute. But I hope they’re happy panda tears!

TeaBrat

awww. :)

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76

I haven’t been catching up on reading tasting notes as much as I’d like lately. Hopefully everyone is doing okay!
From a teabox a WHILE back. Speaking of which, the Here’s Hoping teabox has been with the same person for a while… I hope it will eventually move on. Anyway, I used quite a bit of these long and twisty leaves. I have no idea what parameters to use for this tea.. I tried looking at a bunch of Steepster pages for similar teas. Didn’t really find any suggestions. Twenty minutes after boiling seemed to work. The flavor is so floral it seems hard to believe that it’s natural orange blossom. It’s actually like flowers, like perfume was sprayed on the leaves. Hopefully not… hopefully these leaves were just harvested around fragrant orange trees or something. I’m not really accustomed to “orange blossom” but there are definite citrus notes as well as the natural honey flavor of the oolong. The second steep somehow had just as much of the flavor as the first cup, so maybe it is in the leaves itself. The leaves also didn’t seem oversteeped — I thought they might be with just boiled water. I prefer green oolongs, but this isn’t bad.
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // less than 2 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2-3 min

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65

This was not a tea I ordered but a sample packet, which are always welcomed, that came with my tea. This was a pleasant, albeit unremarkable, green tea. I steeped it for a full 4 minutes at 175f as I wanted something strong following New Years Eve, but even then it was rather tame. This was especially odd because the Red Blossom site describes it as " one of the thickest and intense green teas we’ve tasted". I likely won’t order this offering, but if you want something light this might be the tea for you.

Flavors: Floral, Nutty

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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