Red Blossom Tea Company

Recent Tasting Notes

90

First day of Fall today, yeah? Good day for a Formosa Oolong. Steeping #2 for this Charcoal Roasted Tung Ting.

Same leaves as yesterday, I little more than normal since I didn’t want to leave a single teaspoon in the bottom of the jar. Although, now that I think about it, I probably should have saved it to try a little mixing and blending. Oh well. I’ll probably be buying more of this, so no worries.

Anyway: This is such a big, roasted tasty brew, I did not up the steeping time for the 2nd go, I kept it at 2:00. Here we go:

The aroma is exactly the same. Big and bold, very sweet charcoal roasted smell with hints of coffee and caramel. A bit of a dry feel.

The taste is much the same as yesterday. The roasted charcoal taste is not quite as heavy today, allowing the coffee and caramel colors to shine through more, and the whole flavor pallet is more balanced. It’s also not quite as sweet as the 1st steeping, and it has turned more towards the dry feel away from the sweet.

The natural Earthy tea flavor and feel is more apparent today as well. I think now that the roasted charcoal flavor has subsided some, those flavors are just more apparent.

Yup, this is a good one. I’ll be buying this again sometime soon, in hopes and dreams of sipping this while reading a book with rain pattering on the window and hockey on the TV.

Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Earth, Roasted, Smoke

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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90

I had almost forgotten about this one. I’ve been rotating through my most recent Red Blossom Tea Company purchase, and I guess I skipped this one!

I had a little more remaining than the normal 2 heaping tablespoons for my 32 oz Bodum Assam tea press, so I just put it all in, not quite 3 tablespoons but probably close. I kept the steep time to the short end for a Formosa Oolong, and hot damn did it turn out good!

The aroma is nice and complex, with an initial burst of charcoal roasted goodness, followed quickly by sweet, caramel, almost coffee hints.

The taste is just as complex. The roasting process is definitely the first taste and feel, I can actually imagine Mr Chen controlling the longan fruit wood fire in order to get the perfect amount of roasted taste. Big, but not at all overwhelming, and certainly plenty of room for the sweet, caramel second tastes.

I’m sad that I used the rest of these leaves in this batch, I’ll definitely need to steep it 4 times to enjoy this incredible brew the next 4 days.

Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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90

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.

Good stuff.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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90

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.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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90

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.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90

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!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

2nd steeping. I noticed a stronger coffee aroma today. Still full of earthy, smoky flavor. Even better the second steeping!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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90

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!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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88

Blend Review:

Time for another new blend! How about a green tea and an anxi oolong? Why the hell not?

Time to taste a mix of Organic Celadon Pearl green tea and Money Picked Tieguanyin anxi oolong Tea, both from Red Blossom Tea Company in San Francisco. I had no reason or purpose to mix these two, just curiosity and the desire for something different today.

I used pretty much the same amount of each, maybe a tad more green. About 1 tablespoon of Tieguanyin and 1 heaping tablespoon of Celadon. Water was pulled off the burner at the first sign of bubbles, and I kept the steeping time down to 45 seconds, the recommended time for the green tea, the shorter recommended time of the two.

Thinking about it before I try it, the earthy, nutty, slightly smoky taste with a clean and clear feel and finish of the Celadon Pearl green should mix well with the roasted nut, rich, more fruity taste of the Tieguanyin anxi oolong.

Let’s find out:

Color is a nice orange/yellowish, almost but not quite clear. Slightly darker than a regular green tea. Looks a lot like a darkish India Pale Ale, for those beer folks out there.

Aroma is wonderful. The Celadon green tea really has a chance to shine in this mix, the Tieguanyin oolong perks up to the aroma very nicely. There is a certain sweetness in there from the Tieguanyin that REALLY enhances the experience. It’s like a green tea with big, huge extra flavor but without the bitterness of the extra steeping time.

On first sip I notice a nice, crisp, clean, super dry mouthfeel. This is definitely an enhanced green tea, not the other way around. The taste has all the qualities of a very good green tea, with extra sweetness and a very nice extra flavor: The roasted nut flavor of the Tieguanyin takes the nutty, earthy flavor of the Celadon and gives it a nice boost.

Overall, these two teas are very interesting together. I think they mix really well, especially for someone that likes the taste and feel of a good green tea, but also likes tea with a little more kick while trying to avoid any bitter qualities.

Good stuff! This will make a GREAT late fall, early winter sipping-while-reading tea!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

Blend review: This Organic Celadon Pearl and Red Blossom’s Lapsang Souchong.

OK folks, I’ve done it. I’ve found the ultimate tea blend.

2.5-3(ish) tablespoons of Red Blossom’s Organic Celadon Pearl Green Tea, and <1 teaspoon (no more than that!) of Red Blossom’s Lapsang Souchong Black Tea. I wanted to add a bit of interesting to the Celadon, and this Lapsang, in all it’s uber campfire smoke deepness, is the perfect candidate.

Tip: When blending multiple types of tea, keep the steeping time in line with whatever the lower count is. For example, blending a green tea (45 seconds recommended) and a black tea (1-2 minutes recommended), go with the lower time of 45 seconds. You will still get plenty of the stronger tea in there without ruining the lighter tea and making a mess of it.

This Celadon Pearl is a great green tea to use as a base with its wonderful grassy, earthy taste and feel, with a clean, crisp, dry finish. It really is deep and complex, at times I get an ocean breeze aroma. Add just a touch of the Lapsang Souchong. No really, just a touch. I used less than 1 teaspoon. The is an incredible strong and potent tea, any more than that and the campfire smoke will take over everything.

Just a touch, and you have a great blend. The color is a nice dark, clear yellow, almost orange. Every aroma, taste, and feel of the Celadon Pearl is allowed to shine through, and the Lapsang adds a wonderful bit of dark punch, just a hint of that campfire smoke it’s known for. This blend screams fall, and with that upon us, it’s time!

I’m still new to blends, and I have a lot to learn, but this will be one I will come back to from time to time.

-E

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 8 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

4th steeping and wow, I can’t believe how well these leaves are holding up. It still has the same clear amber color, the same crisp and clean aroma with those same earth and grass hints, even that ever so slight sense of ocean is still right there.

The taste is not quite as crisp and clear as the 1st. I don’t get as much differentiation between the flavors, they are a bit more mixed up and blended. They are all still there, and really close to just as strong as before, but I have to think just a bit more before spotting the earth and the grass.

It is still just as sweet and smooth as the first steeping, maybe even a bit smoother, as it has given up some of the crisp dry 2nd taste and aftertaste.

But damn, a 4th steeping and it’s still kicking. I might just go for a 5th!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

3rd steeping, and it’s still going strong. If you get the process right on, it’s just as good as the 1st. Just don’t get the water too hot, I pull it off the stove at the first sign of bubbles, and don’t let it steep over 1 minute. I recommend 45 seconds for the 1st and 2nd steeping, 1 minute for the 3rd and probably 4th. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Even though this is the 3rd steeping, this tea still has the same earthy, grassy aroma that I fell in love with the 1st time. So fresh and clean, with a dry finish, and a hint of ocean in the mix.

The taste is also just as good as the first steeping. Each individual flavor is still there and accounted for. Earth, grass, just the right amount of tartness, and that nice dry finish.

The only the that is different between the 1st and 3rd steepings, at least that I notice this time, is that the dry finish is not as clean and apparent the 3rd time as it was the 1st. No big deal, not better or worse, just a tad different.

This is a straight up great, solid, every day green tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

2nd steeping. Usually, the 2nd steeping gives a bit more mixed flavor, the balance is still there, but the individual flavors have melding together some. Not today with this green tea. It really does smell, taste, and feel just like it did yesterday. the light, earthy, grassy taste and feel, with a faint smell of ocean breeze, it’s all still there. Delightful.

I did let the water reach a boil instead of catching it when bubbles first started to form, and I let it steep for 1 full minute instead of the recommended 45 seconds. Maybe those did the trick? Still learning…

Time out, edit: Did I really steep yesterdays 1st steeping of these leaves for a full 2 minutes? Um, wow. My bad. No wonder today tastes lighter and the individual flavors are just as noticeable, even though it’s the 2nd steeping. No wonder…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

In the mood for a green tea this morning, and right now this is the only one I have. I may need to solve that oroblem soon, but at least the one I have is this one.

This is simply a great, solud, simple green tea. Nothing special, it’s not trying yo be anything, just a greag example of what a green tea should really be. Earth grass and ocean aroma and taste, with that light, dryish feel. You want a simple, solid, go-to green tea? This is it.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Earth, Grass, Ocean Breeze

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

2nd steeping. It’s official, I’ve figured this one out. If you like your tea like I do, of course. Big, bold, and beautiful.

Start with a rinse. It really does make a big difference, but for reasons other than the 1st steeping rinse. That one cleans them off and opens the leaves. The 2nd steeping cleans them a bit, but more of getting the last of yesterdays water off, as opposed to cleaning off the dust before first steeping, while sort of waking them up some. The aroma and taste are so much brighter, crisper, cleaner. And they finish cleaner and smoother as well.

Yesterdays 1st steeping was pretty big, so today I decided to not add more steeping time, I left it at 1:30. I think that did the trick. It’s a bit less bitter and more subtle.

Aroma: Aroma is clean and crisp. Hints of grass and earth. Very smooth.

Taste: Taste is even more balanced than yesterday’s 1st steeping. The grass and earth tastes are a bit more subtle, but still there. The slight roasted hint from yesterday is nearly gone. Mouthfeel is crisp with a dry feel.

Finish: Finish is super clean and fresh. No lingering aftertaste, no different, unintended flavors popping up. Just super basic, super clean, super consistent from aroma through taste to aftertaste.

A good green tea collection would need something big, bold, and in your face like a Gunpowder and something more smooth, subtle, and clean like this here.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec 8 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88

A green tea with a huge flavor! Perfect!

I think I nailed it this time. The pre-rinse really brought out the bright, golden, grassy feel and flavor. I’m not super great with steeping times, often getting caught reading something and forgetting for several minutes, but I pulled this one at 1.5 minutes.

Perfect.

The aroma is a great balance of earth and grass, with a nice roasted touch, nice and bright and potent. Then the taste. It’s even bigger than the aroma. That classic grassy, earthy, crisp, golden green tea flavor is perfectly balanced in this tea. Big and bold, almost like a gunpowder but less bitter. The finish is clean and a bit dry.

A perfect example of a really good, straight up, basic, extremely well balanced green tea.

Flavors: Earth, Grass, Roasted

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec 8 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML
TeaBrat

nice, I should try this when I go back :)

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88

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.

Preparation
9 tsp 72 OZ / 2129 ML

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88

3rd steeping. Still kickin. Still tasty, full and bold. Still earthy and nutty with a slight ocean aroma. Still awesome.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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88

2nd steeping. Still great taste. Not as bold and bright as the first, but still has that same earthy, full flavor. Got a bit of an August sprinkle outside this morning, this tea fits right in with that peaceful, serene mod.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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88

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

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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