Red Blossom Tea Company

Recent Tasting Notes

85

Going to take a sharp left with this one today. I used it for sun tea.

Yeah, that’ s right, a Lapsang Souchong sun tea. Had to at least try it.

How did it come out? Pretty exactly how you would expect. I thought the much longer steeping time at much lower temperatures would hold down the intensity and bring out a better balance. It did, a bit. This batch did get a pretty good balance between the piney campfire taste and the black tea base. But it still tastes like campfire.

Like, the 2nd morning camping when you wake up and realize that you set up your tent directly downwind from your campfire and stayed up late drinking and burning all the wood you brought, continuously filling your tent with that piney woodsy campfire smoke.

Mmmmmm….

But seriously, it is actually really good. I do like it. And the final product after leaving it in the sun for all the day long was a really poppy, woodsy, pine smoky black tea that actually has a decent balance. The natural tea flavors were able to pop out.

Not the best sun tea I’ve had, but certainly one I would do again.

Preparation
18 tsp 80 OZ / 2365 ML

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85

2nd steeping of the same leaves. I lowered the steep time down to just under 2 minutes, and that seems to have improved the balance even more.

The aroma is still overwhelming smoke with a hint of, well, more smoke. It’s a damn smoky smell. And it’s roasted with pine needles, invoking in it that campfire memory. But the taste is much more balanced.

Here’s today’s process:

Rinse the leaves for 30 seconds.
Tumble water at first boil over 7 teaspoons of leaves in 32 oz Bodum Assam tea press.
Steep for just under 2 minutes.

I can’t change this now since I want to know what the 3rd steeping will be like, but the next time I do this with fresh leaves I will use the same process as above but with less leaves, maybe 5 teaspoons instead of 7+.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec 7 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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85

Still experimenting with this punch you in the face, full flavored, uber smoky campfire of a tea. I think I’m getting closer, and I have a good idea of what to do next time.

I used a little less leaves than last time, and cut the steeping time, and both of those seemed to do the trick, but both need to be done even more so next time. And, of course, the pre-rinse is a necessity with this tea. It’s just too smoky without it, you get the smoke from the roasting but no tea flavor. The rinse cleans the leaves, removes just enough of the smoke, and opens the leaves up to bring out more of that black tea flavor.

I went from 9 teaspoons to 7, next time I’ll use 5 or 6. Steep time was lowered from 4 minutes to 3, and it still needs to be lowered. Maybe even as little as 1 or 1.5. Next time.

All three of those things really helped balance the final flavor much better. The smoke still dominates in both aroma and taste, but the tea leaves at least stand a chance in the fight.

I think I’m finally figuring this one out!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 7 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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85

I was planning on trying a shorter steep time for this 3rd steeping of these leaves. Damn you opinion section, I got caught reading and missed it, letting it steep for nearly 4 minutes. Going to need to remedy that soon.

Anyway, 3rd steeping, same strong flavor. Just as bold and potent as the 2nd, nearly the same as the 1st with just slightly less smoke presence. Slightly.

Still a ton of smoke aroma and flavor.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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85

2nd steeping, with a pre rinse this time. The rinse helps a bunch. The smoke aroma and flavor was overwhelming yesterday, today it is just what it should be. Bold and to the fore but not so in your face that it feels like you just spent the entire night with campfire smoke blowing into your tent.

With the rinse, the earthy tea flavor is allowed to come out and actually create a nice balance of smoke with that rich sweetness it is advertised to have.

Tomorrow I’m going to try a shorter steep time to see what that does.

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

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85

Smoky. Only word needed to describe this brew.

The aroma smells like campfire. This first steeping is the strongest, and it’s really in your face.

The taste is the same. Very smoky, like a campfire in the backyard. Wonderful smell, wonderful taste, but close to being overdone.

Flavors: Campfire, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85

4th steeping. It’s finally loosing some of it’s big, bold flavor. The strong, almost overwhelming smoke flavor the first 2 steepings is now a bit more subtle. It’s still there, still big and bold, but not as in your face. Still love it!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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85

3rd steeping. The smoky flavor is really embedded now, the tea in general is getting even more balanced. The intensity has backed off a bit, but the flavor is still going strong!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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85

2nd steeping. Still amazing. Full of flavor, super smoky. Better balance the 2nd time, the smoky aroma, taste and feel aren’t quite as overwhelming.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85

Holy crap this is a smoky tea. Great big, bold smoky flavor. 1st steeping, great stuff!

Flavors: Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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95

Dramatic stone fruit notes up front, especially plum, with minor hints of papaya, and malted barley, followed by increased sweetness and earthiness with successive steepings.

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90

3rd steeping. The individual flavors, both aroma and taste, are blended even more now. It’s hard to pick out each one, where the 1st and 2nd steeping had distinct Earthy, smoky, nutty, slightly fruity and ocean-ie aroma and taste, the 3rd steeping they are more mixed and harder to pick out. I’m getting a bit more of a bitter feel this time as well.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still damn good, just not quite as good as the 1st and 2nd steeping.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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90

Had to do some work in San Francisco with the ladyfriend yesterday, so I made a trip over to Red Blossom to introduce her to my Mecca. We hung out for 15-20 minutes, smelled some great teas, chatted with the good folks working there, and walked out with a Pu-erh for me and a Honey Orchid Oolong for her. More on those later, but today was steeping number 2 for Red Blossom’s Monkey Picked Tieguanyin Anxi Oolong tea.

I am a big fan if this one, hence the forcing myself to wait a couple more days before trying my new Pu-erh. It’s such a great, solid, straight up, straight forward Oolong.

The second steeping, in my opinion, is even better than the first. It’s a bit more subtle, but the different tasting motes are a bit more balanced. The Earthy aroma and taste that dominated the 1st steeping was not as dominant today, which let the smoke and fruit flavors loose.

And, maybe it’s my brain/bad memory, but it seems to be overall a bit smoother, with a slightly cleaner, not as dry, finish than yesterday.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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90

This is such a solid, well balanced, enjoyably drinkable tea.

I used a little more leaves this time, and steeped them for a bit less. Combine that with a good pre-rinse, and wow, did it bring out that flavor! This is an amazingly complex tea, and I think I am just now starting to get close to its potential.

The aroma is the first thing that really opened my eyes. The Earthy smell hits you first, followed closely by a hint of smoke. Red Blossoms description mentions roasted nuts, and on second smell, that’s just right. (don’t trust my nose, just so you know…) The aroma isn’t done there. In addition to all this complexity, the Earth, roasted nuts, smoke, even a hint of ocean, it is still super light and crisp.

Then there is the taste. It has a dry feel right when it hits your mouth, but not bitter dry. Sort of a refreshing, soothing, Earthy dry. The taste is just as well balanced and complex as the aroma. In addition to the Earth, roasted nuts, the hint of ocean, there is also a hint of fruity taste. And all these flavors some together is a surprisingly light, crisp, and sweet tea.

Definitely a go to Anxi.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Nuts, Ocean Air, Roasted nuts

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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90

2nd steeping. The pre-rinse really does help with this tea. The aroma and taste are so much clearer, brighter, and more pronounced while not getting that bitter taste and feel from oversteeping. The sweet taste is the best thing about this tea, and the rinse really brings it out and lets it shine.

With that beautiful sweetness, combined with just a hint of smoke and nuts and some fruity overtones, this is maybe one of the better balanced teas I have ever had.

Flavors: Fruity, Nuts, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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90

This will be one tea I will continue to go back to in the future. It’s so well balanced it’s actually kind of silly. A hint of roasted smoke, but just a hint. It’s not so strong as to hide the bright earthiness and nutty presence. Surprisingly light and just a bit sweet, this is a GREAT go-to basic Oolong. No frills, no catches, nothing special, just straight up solid and amazing.

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

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90

3rd steeping. Remembered to rinse again. Makes a big difference. Brighter, fresher in taste and aroma.

This one has a beautiful earthy, grassy aroma, leading to a clean, refreshing, earthy taste with hints of grass and nuts.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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90

2nd steeping on the same leaves. I actually remembered to rinse them this time. It really freshened up the flavor. Light and fresh earthy and nutty aroma is more present, the taste is much cleaner both in the initial sip and the aftertaste. Very good tea!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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