Red Blossom Tea Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Time to get more familiar with the thing called Pu-Erh. Here is the jem I bought when I was in the city last weekend and stopped in to see the good folks at Red Blossom tea company. They recommended this on, and I can see why!
The aroma is so big and bold, with hints of smoky chocolate and malt. It smells dry, but still has that sense that there is so much more to it.
The very first taste is subtle and non-assuming, but 1/2 a second later all those flavors hit your pallet and soar. Slightly dry tasting and finishing, with a big malty middle.
This is one hell of a tea! Glad I stopped in and picked it up!
Finding this tea strangely… not as satisfying as I’d hoped, considering the cost, how much trouble I had getting it back to my place in Canada (from San Francisco’s Chinatown), and then how much the staffer raved about it.
It’s a standard puer, with a bit of a sweet, almost bitterly so aftertaste. It’s smooth and medium-bodied, with that je-ne-sais-quoi that makes it a puer… that earthiness, without being really smack-in-your-face about it.
Do I love it? Nope. Will I reach for it? Maybe. I doubt it. This was REALLY expensive tea, too, so… yeah. Going to try re-steeping it at least a few times to see if I enjoy it more.
Flavors: Earth, Sugarcane
Delicious! I will say that this has a very thick, buttery mouthfeel. The first time I drank it after coming home from San Francisco, I literally thought “wow, this is feels like butter in my mouth!” The taste itself is lightly floral and slightly creamy. I wish it wasn’t as expensive as it is, but it’s worth it. Very, very good :)
I’m very bad at describing teas, but I got this one not long ago at their store in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It’s so yummy! Very light with a nice mouthfeel, it reminds me of the very first ‘nice’ tea I tried, which was a Silver Needle. I don’t know if this is the correct terminology, but it has a nice earthy minerality to it. My second steepings sometimes have a bit of a lemon-y, citrus taste as well. Delicate. Delicious.
Flavors: Floral, Lemon, Mineral
This is the second tea I ordered from Red Blossom and I am excited to finally do a tasting and prepare my notes.
Dry leaf aroma: Sweet potato with a malty background.
Dry leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/rnyl0zlcCK/
Preparation: Brewed western style in a glass infuser cup (which I also purchased from Red Blossom – and love – I think it is a Bodum).
First steeping: 1 minutes 45 seconds at 200 degrees. The aroma stays true to the dry leaf – sweet potato and malt, with a slight suggestion of orange. The liquor is a beautiful amber brown which seems appropriate paired with the aromatic suggestions of malt and sweet potatoes (perhaps I am ready for autumn; this color and fragrance combination is lulling me into nostalgia this evening). The flavor is multifaceted and at first it is hard for me to separate the different layers. Foremost is a pleasant maltiness with a delicate sweet potato undertone and I find as I let the cup cool notes of brown sugar appear. I was a bit disappointed I did not detect any raisin or maple syrup in this steeping (as per their website tasting notes). However, when I smell my empty cup the aroma is a heady raisin. The aftertaste is a reminiscent of sweet potatoes, with a slight starchy mouth-feel.
Second steeping: 2 minutes 5 seconds at 200 degrees. A sweet potato and malty fragrance still prevails. I do not detect any scent of orange with this steeping but as the cup cools I pick up notes of raisin. For this infusion the brown sugar and raisin notes are shining through the base flavors of sweet potato and malt. The aftertaste is also sweeter, with a refined raisin finish.
Third steeping: 2 minutes 35 seconds at 200 degrees. The third brewing has a much weaker aroma; sweet potato and malt again. The flavor is much the same as the second steeping though not as strong. The aftertaste is malty raisin and the starchy mouth-feel is still present.
The fourth steeping was unremarkable though not unpleasant. I think three steepings is a good cutoff for me.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Malt, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes
This tea intrigued me with its description so I am pleased to finally be able to taste it for myself and post notes.
Dry leaf aroma: Sweet and slightly malty with a mild trace of tobacco.
Preparation: I prepped the leaves with an initial 1 second rinse and then proceeded with my session western style (my gaiwan is on the way, so for now I am steeping western style).
First steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. The aroma is basic, a moderate black tea scent with the ever-so-slight hint of something more intricate which I cannot describe accurately. The taste is much more complex and the initial mouth-feel is extremely creamy. I’ve not experienced a black tea quite this creamy before; very nice! Buried in the creaminess is a hint of honey and a very subtle aftertaste of baked bread and banana. At the end of this cup, after it had cooled quite a bit, I detected a citrusy aftertaste in addition to the bread and banana essences. Interestingly, the creamy mouth-feel lingered after each sip. Very unique.
Second steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. I am detecting a subtle baked bread and banana scent along with the straightforward black tea fragrance. This steeping is not as creamy as the first but is still quite rich. The flavors are less complex but the brew still retains the initial profile of cream, honey, baked bread, and a trace of banana. While the cup is hot I am experiencing more of the citrus aftertaste.
I’d like to try another session using a gaiwan and multiple short steepings to experiment with influencing the flavor profile.
This is a tea that I will add to my permanent stock. Well worth the price and experience!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Banana, Citrus, Creamy, Honey
This was the 3rd and 4th steeping of the same leaves, and they really hold up. It’s not as crisp and clear as the 1st, and the individual flavors are more mixed, but they are all still there.
The aroma is the same for every steeping. Sweet, charcoal smoke with a hint od coffee and caramel. The taste has a little less pop, but it’s still very good.
Aaaaaaand, that was the last of these leaves. I think I’ll be ordering more soon, they ard worth it!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I love fiddling with this solid, basic green tea. I also love a good, hot cup of green tea when it starts to get cool out and that inevitable not-feeling-quite-so-well time comes.
I had already tried mixing in a bit of fresh dried mint leaves into this one, which worked wonderfully. So I did that again, this time also adding a bit of honey.
First, the good: Flavor is great. The Celadon Pearl base is just strong enough to shine through the bite of the mint leaves and the sweet of the honey. Can’t beat that super smooth, almost creamy feel with the honey, and the sweet but still a bit tangy taste with the mint leaves. Clears up the sinuses and soothes the throat faster than even Theraflu can do!
Now, the needed improvements: 3 tablespoons of Celadon Pearl to 3 dried mint leaves to 1 tablespoon of honey in the 32 ounce Bodum Assam teapot needs to reshaping. Fresh mint leaves, home dried hanging in my room, are just too potent. Needs a bit more honey and less mint in the mix. Next time I’ll keep the 3 tablespoons of Celadon Pearl, go down to 2 mint leaves, and up to 1.5 tablespoons of honey.
That should do the trick.
Went a different direction with this tea today. I wanted to try making my own mint tea, which is just great on those cold winter evenings, or when you’re not feeling so well. So, just to try it out, I went to the local grocery store, bought a few sprigs of mint leaves, hung them in a doorway at home for 1.5 weeks to dry, and here we go:
First off, I choose this green tea for this little experiment because it’s a simple, solid, amazingly straight up green tea. I used just under 3 tablespoons of tea leaves in my 32 ounce Bodum Assam tea pot, with water just starting to boil. I added 3 dried mint leaves to the steep.
The color is the same, still that nearly see through yellowish orange strawish color. Aroma and taste are exactly what I expected. Mint tea! Maybe a little on the strong side, and not quite the mint flavor I want, but for going to the store and buying whatever mint they had for a first try, I’m liking it, and loving it’s potential.
It’s ALREADY better than any mint tea that I have bought in a store.
In the future, I think I would like to get some more gunpowder green tea for a little more strength against the mint flavor, and I will be going to a farmers market or one of the local natural food stores to find more specific type of mint.
Also, I might try using either slightly less mint leaves, or adding them halfway through the steeping process.
Anyone out there have experience making their own mint tea?
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!
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.