Red Blossom Tea Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This was definitely an impulse buy for me as I’m not normally a big white tea fan or a jasmine fan, but I really just wanted the big red tin + I have no teas like this in my cupboard currently.
I’ve had two steeps of this so far and it’s a nice soothing afternoon tea. The white tea brews up to be a medium yellow color and is very clean tasting. The jasmine in this blend is definitely strong but it also seems natural. Some jasmines seem artificial and soapy tasting but this is lovely.
By the third cup of this, the jasmine flavor is starting to fade a bit and you’re left with more of the white tea flavor which is slightly peachy and ever so flowery from the jasmine. I’m not sorry I picked this up, it’s truly a nice relaxing tea which is what I need now trying to prepare for my physical therapy appointment!
I received a sample of this when I purchased a teapot from Red Blossom. It’s a really nice tea. Nicely floral, buttery, a bit vegetal, and maybe very slightly grainy. It’s not grassy, bitter, or vegetal in any unpleasant way. Very nice if you like very floral green oolongs.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers
This tasted weirdly like roasted beets to me. Very earthy, almost dirt-like, and slightly sweet. It was strange. Not good, not bad. Just strange. I’ve never had a tea that made me think of beets before—but why not, if there are teas that taste like squash and sweet potato and spinach (and, according to the flavors dropdown, bok choy and green bell peppers)? This was an interesting one to try, for sure. Thanks for the sample, CharlotteZero!
This is my favorite Red Blossom Wuyi oolong tea. The first steeping tonight brought back the smell of my friend Meghanne’s plum kuchen- a dense cake covered in plums and cinnamon glaze. I have to say goodbye to this, as the rest of off to thegreenteafairy.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Plums
Yum. This one is delicious. I only had about 14g left, so I used 6g of it for a gong fu session so I could finally log this tea, and the rest I will send off to thegreenteafairy. I will have to order more of this someday, but I am trying to work on not hoarding tea…
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Espresso, Plums
This is smooth, not at all fishy, and has some pleasant “river rock” mineral notes. The first steep made my throat feel somewhat dry. The second steep was darker and had a slight sweetness. There’s also a bit of a saltiness to it as well. Ok. My mind is going blank. That’s all I’ve got!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Mineral
Sipdown no. 61 of the year 2014. A sample. I am now sure that the Gold Thread of last weekend was a Red Blossom Tea as it used the same sample packaging as this.
I was reminded yesterday while drinking the Golden Moon Imperial Formosa how much I love oolong. I have a bit of time between getting home from work and the kids and BF arriving home from kung fu to sit with an oolong.
The dry leaves are medium green and rolled into balls and oblongs of various sizes, some rather large. The have the characteristic winey smell of dry oolong.
Steeping opens the aroma out into a floral, somewhat buttery fragrance with some green notes. Liquor on first steep is a clear, golden yellow.
I went a bit longer than I’d planned on the first steep because of a phone call, about 6 minutes. This is delicious. The company describes this as a “green Formosa oolong” and it has a green-oolong buttery creamy floral thing going on but at the same time there is a fruity almost toasty quality. The description says tropical fruit—pineapple. Yes, I totally get a pineapple-like note. At first I thought it wasn’t sweet, but as it sits on my tongue it becomes moreso.
Second steep. I’ll go for 4:30 this time since that’s what I meant to hit the first time.
The leaves have unfurled from small balls at the bottom of the Finum filter to long, green, somewhat twiggy vegetation that fills the entire filter. Liquor is lighter yellow. Lovely floral notes. The pineapple is still there! A fresher, almost a tad astringent mouthfeel but with a contrasting butter/cream note still present in the tea. Sweet, somewhat toasty aftertaste.
Third steep. 4 minutes. I wish I had more of this so I could try short steeps in the gaiwan and see how they compare. It is possible I overleafed now that I read about this on the Red Blossom web site about the 2013 harvest. But that’s okay because I’m liking what I taste here. I wonder whether and how it would have been different if I’d drunk it earlier rather than saving it? I also think I should have pulled farther back on time for the subsequent steeps, because I’d pretty much drained the flavor from the leaves by steep 3. All the previous notes were still present, just less so.
I really enjoyed this. It’s clear I need to work on my oolong preparation skills, which if they were ever good aren’t any longer. But even given my rather bumbling western steeping of this it was just delicious. I’d recommend this except that it’s no longer offered. The 2013 version might be worth a look, though.
Sipdown no. 50 for the year 2014. I wanted something special for the 50-mark, and I don’t believe I’ve written any notes on Red Blossom teas before.
I should mention that I can’t be absolutely certain that this note is about this tea. The sample is in a silver packet, and it says “Gold Thread” on it, with some characters on the next line, and then the words “Black Tea.” But there is no company name. I did order from Red Blossom, though, and theirs are the only teas named Gold Thread in the Steepster database. A cursory Google search brings up only the Red Blossom products in the first couple of pages. So I’m 99% sure this is theirs.
When I poured the leaves from the sample packet, I could already tell I was likely to enjoy this. The twisty, golden leaves are lovely and the smell of the dry leaf is that malty Yunnan smell I love so much.
I checked the Red Blossom web site and used their steeping suggestions for time and temp, albeit for the Gold Thread Reserve. This was a bit of a challenge because the sample is only enough for 1.5 cups and the Breville makes a minimum of 2. I used less water than the minimum but the measurement wasn’t overly precise.
This yielded a peachy yellow liquor, very light in color. The aroma is tantalizingly malty. I am wondering whether I should have steeped this longer just because I’m used to longer steeping for black teas. I’m getting an interesting, sort of salty marine note with an undercurrent of malt. I am not tasting the orange or yam notes in the description, but there’s a really pleasant mouth feel-soft and silky, and the brown sugar comes out some as the tea cools.
I steeped it again at a full four minutes just for contrast. And yes, this is more like what I expected. A darker liquor, reddish-orange, and a deeper flavor. Here is where I start to get something like yam, a hint of starchy vegetable. And if I cross my eyes and squint, I can almost get to orange. In any case, I taste what I think is what they mean by orange. A medium note on the front end the ends as a high note on the back end.
The wet leaves have a fascinating, spicy aroma-I’m reminded of caraway seeds and pepper. Mine don’t look as blond as the picture, they’re more of a light olive green (no. 2 says “brown”), but long and pretty.
I wish I’d gone with a longer steep the first time as now I’ll never know what that would have been like. Red Blossom does not have this listed on their web site at present, though they have the reserve version. I’ll stick it on the shopping list just in case it ever comes back. I’d love to experiment with this one some more.
ETA: No. 2 says, “I love it. I think it’s better than the flavored ones.” (He tried the American Tea Room Caramel this morning, too.)
Also, after comparing the sample packaging of other samples to the database here, I’m now sure this is from Red Blossom.
Sipdown! Thanks Sil.
I got distracted by my computer (AGAIN.), and so this tea got steeped a wee bit longer than intended… but luckily, still within a reasonable infusion time for a black. I think.
Anyhow, there’s very little aroma… maybe this is too old? A quick sip points in that direction as well, although it’s too hot for me at the moment. Weird that a black would age badly… It’s specifically in a box with other unflavoured teas to prevent contamination, but I suppose that doesn’t simultaneously reduce flavour loss. I’ll update this note once the tea cools… I thought I’d have more to write, haha.
ETA: Well, I’m sad to say that this doesn’t have a great deal of flavour, and does taste a bit off – although I see that my original note also mentioned the same thing, and I’m pretty sure I tried this one soon after receiving it, so it’s unlikely that it’s a product of age. Ah well, there are plenty of black teas that I adore; no need to add another to that pile. It is decent enough that I’m going to drink it, though (unlike that pu’erh… eek…). My best guess is that my brewing parameters were poor – I think a rinse may have been recommended, and that could have helped, and perhaps more leaf or a longer infusion time.
1/26/14 Tasted at a tea event. White teas are very light and aromatic, so having the aroma cup with this tea was a real treat. The first serving had very floral almost rose like scent, and a very light simple taste. The second serving was still floral, but with an additional toastiness to it, and was much richer in the cup. Our host actually brewed this tea four times, using a very tiny yixing teapot, and combined the 1st and 2nd infusions for the first serving, and 3rd and 4th for the second. I thought it was an intelligent way to heighten the flavor of a very subtle tea.
1/26/14 Tasted at a tea event. A classic jasmine scented white tea. A tasty tea, head knockingly floral in the first serving, and showing a nice hint of citrus-like astringency in the second. I didn’t care for it much personally, though it was a nice tea. I think I’d like it more brewed western style, so the intense jasmine was toned down and balanced a little better.
1/26/14 Tasted at a tea event. A very interesting tea, both in terms of tasting and in history. It is made from a tea plant which is a hybrid of the native Taiwanese C. sinenses v. sinensis and the Indian C. sinensis v. assamica , which was imported to the island early last century to help establish a black tea industry. It was a very nice tea to drink, full of the malty peppery chocolaty notes that Assam teas have, all wrapped up with a vegetal bell peppery kind of greenness that was quite interesting. Unlike the previous more traditional Chinese teas, this black tea didn’t come through the second serving as strongly, and our host told us that is is pretty normal. Apparently the highly oxidized black teas infuse much more readily and thus don’t support multiple infusions as well.
This one is a real treat! Simple in its makeup, yet formidable in its rich, sweet, and flowery flavors. Hints of berries and honey. Very aromatic! This one can steep quite strong if you’re so inclined. This is one of the most memorable teas I have ever had, and I have yet to find anyone who isn’t pleased by what it has to offer :)
A smooth, lightly earthy, everyday pu-erh. No exciting / overwhelming flavors, if you’ve tried other pu-erhs, but it’s very balanced.
Pour out the first couple of (short) steepings, and you’re good to go. Lasts through the work-day, and peaks after around 3-4 steepings. A light sweetness becomes noticeable in the finish, at that point.
I’ve gotten a little bit spoiled by some other Wuyi oolongs I have tasted recently. And although this is still a very nice tea, it doesn’t “wow” me anymore. I still feel appreciation and gratitude for this tea, though!
This tea does have some sweet cinnamon spiciness, caramel, and subtle fruitiness. Pretty good for my first tea of the day!
EDIT: I liked this tea more and more as I steeped it further, so I’ve bumped up my rating.
Butterscotch! So much butterscotch! This is probably my favorite oolong tea (other than another charcoal-roasted tung ting that I received as a gift). I’m not usually a fan of oolong, but this tea is excellent. The tannins are present but well-hidden, and it’s hard to over/under-steep this tea to an unpleasant extent. Loses flavor after a few steepings.
(I’m taking a wild guess that this is the tea that Red Blossom calls “Aged Tung Ting, ca. 1980.”)
Smells sweet and mildly earthy. Fairly tannic initially, but smooths out. In my opinion, it’s pretty balanced but not very interesting, compared to other aged teas, including the ca. 1970’s Tung Ting from Red Blossom. That one really does “feel old.” The 1980 also lacks the strong butterscotch notes that you can taste in roasted Tung Tings. There’s something subtly intriguing in the aftertaste, but that’s about it.