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Red Blossom Blog

Types of Teaware: What is Stoneware Clay?

Types of Teaware: What is Stoneware Clay?

As if choosing a tea wasn’t hard enough, teaware options are almost equally endless, and can have a surprisingly large impact on the flavor of brewed tea. While many teaware options are made of modern materials like plastic, metal, or glass, the greatest variety of tea tools are made from ceramic, or fired clay. From traditional teapots to utilitarian infusers and decorative display pieces, the clay used to form each piece helps define how it functions.

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Benefits of Tea: Can Tea Lower Stress Levels?

Benefits of Tea: Can Tea Lower Stress Levels?

Studies investigating the effects of intense or long-term stress have shown that it can have serious health consequences over time in many parts of the body. Chronic stress has been linked to mood disorders like anxiety and depression, and has been shown to cause reductions in brain mass over time. It also has proven effects on vascular and immune function, causing high blood pressure, increased risk of illness, and other physical ailments.

Despite the stimulating effect of its caffeine content, tea is widely viewed as a calming beverage that can help relieve stress. Though this effect has been studied, not all results have been conclusive.

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How Cold Brewing Changes Tea Chemistry

How Cold Brewing Changes Tea Chemistry

It’s no secret that cold brewing is by far our favorite method of making iced tea. A long steep of natural teas in cold water creates flavor that is consistently sweet and smooth, negating the need for added flavors or sweeteners. Though hot tea holds an obvious place in our hearts, cold brews are the perfect way to create a refreshing, ice cold beverage with the full-bodied, complex flavors of our favorite single origin tea leaves.

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4 Myths About Caffeine in Tea

4 Myths About Caffeine in Tea

Though most people consume caffeine in some form or another on a daily basis, myths and misinformation persist about the way it works. In particular, there are several popularly held misbeliefs about the caffeine content in tea that are simply not true. Some are based in fragments of truth, while others are pure invention. Today, we’re clarifying the facts about four caffeine myths that we encounter often.

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What is Oriental Beauty Tea?

What is Oriental Beauty Tea?

Also known as Dongfang Meiren (“Eastern Beauty”), Bai Hao Oolong (“White Tip Oolong”) and Pengfeng Cha (“Braggart’s Tea”), Oriental Beauty is a unique and famous tea. Traditionally, it is grown in Hsinchu County, in the north of Taiwan. Here, the mountains give way to rolling hills, and the mild climate is ideal for growing tea. It’s probable that immigrants from the Chinese mainland started planting tea bushes here in the Ming Dynasty, and possible that these first bushes included the variety that would become Oriental Beauty.

It was not until 1933 that Oriental Beauty was introduced to the commercial market, after winning accolades in a tea competition. At the time, the Taiwanese government was making an effort to increase the quality of tea for export, and tea competitions were a fantastic way for them to reward farmers for making high quality tea. Buyers of the first batch of Oriental Beauty included the governor's office, and the tea fetched such high prices that the proud farmer’s boasts inspired the name “Braggart’s Tea”.

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The Ultimate Guide to Tea Infusers

The Ultimate Guide to Tea Infusers

Tea infusers, made to contain tea leaves while brewing, are an extremely popular tool for brewing loose leaf tea. A precursor to bagged teas, reusable infusers hold leaves captive while allowing water to flow freely through a filter of mesh or punched holes. They are particularly useful for brewing small leaf pieces, like those used for many Western-style black teas, because they prevent small bits from ending up in the brew. However, they’re also commonly used for other tea types, since they are easy to find, simple to use, and allow for leaves to be extracted to prevent over-brewing.

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Types of Tea: 3 Degrees of Blending

Types of Tea: 3 Degrees of Blending

Though most types of tea are defined by some combination of their variety, harvest date, provenance, and crafting style, there is typically a range of quality within each broadly defined type. In the interest of increasing yields, lower quality teas are grown quickly, in hotter climates or with fertilizers, and thereby sacrifice natural flavor quality. These become the base tea leaves for mass produced blends, a widespread practice which has given the term 'blended' a negative connotation among serious tea drinkers.

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Tasting Notes: Why Do Some Pu-erh Teas Taste Fishy?

Tasting Notes: Why Do Some Pu-erh Teas Taste Fishy?

The unusual category of pu-erh tea can be a divisive topic. Though loved and lauded by many die-hard connoisseurs, the unique flavor profile produced by microbial fermentation is unlike any other tea, and can be off-putting to new drinkers. Fans savor the bold, earthy flavors this style is known for, and appreciate the notes of peat, loam, and petrichor that make pu-erh teas so distinctive. But with popularity increasing worldwide for this tea from remote Yunnan Province, the market’s demand for inexpensive pu-erh tea has led to many examples that fall short of quality flavor.

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What is a Kyusu Teapot?

What is a Kyusu Teapot?

Shopping for teapots can be daunting, with seemingly endless styles to choose from and few physical differences among them. Materials, finishings, and craftsmanship can all influence the flavor of tea in subtle ways, but most teaware is sold without mention of these practical details. Instead, exotic-sounding descriptors like kyusu are used to indicate features - but the application of this term, in particular, can be inconsistent. So what does the term kyusu mean, exactly?

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