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Red Blossom Blog

Understanding Tea Identity: 5 Teas Defined by Variety

Understanding Tea Identity: 5 Teas Defined by Variety

Teas are often named for the variety of Camellia sinensis they are plucked from. Over the long history of tea cultivation, farmers have developed thousands of distinct varieties in pursuit of specific flavor profiles or adaptations for particular terroir. These cultivated varieties, or ‘cultivars’ form one of the four pillars of any tea’s identity.

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4 Ways to Use a Tea Thermos

4 Ways to Use a Tea Thermos

Thermoses designed for brewing tea are becoming more popular around the world, but the brewing techniques we use at home don’t always translate easily to these portable vessels. Practices like controlling steeping time and temperature or brewing multiple infusions may seem to rely on the availability of specialized teaware, but these four methods of using a travel thermos will show how easy it can be to adapt and make a great cup of tea - whether you’re on the go or at your desk.

Find an overview of all the ways you can brew looseleaf tea >>

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Understanding Tea Identity: 5 Teas Defined by Provenance

Understanding Tea Identity: 5 Teas Defined by Provenance

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the effects of provenance, as traditional regions typically use specific varieties and crafting methods, as well. Many famous styles of Chinese tea have a worldwide reputation for the characteristics imparted by these environmental factors, but are now crafted in other regions to match demand from a growing market. Get familiar with the role of provenance in shaping tea flavor by tasting these five teas that just wouldn’t be the same if they were grown anywhere else.

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Types of Pu-erh Tea: Accelerating Natural Fermentation

Types of Pu-erh Tea: Accelerating Natural Fermentation

When talking about pu-erh teas, we often discuss the difference between sheng teas, which ferment naturally during the aging process, and shou teas, which undergo accelerated fermentation to create a final product in much less time. Distinguishing between these two subcategories can make the overwhelming variety of pu-erh much easier to navigate, since the two types of fermentation can create distinct differences in flavor, mouthfeel, and even caffeine content.

Find out more about the difference between sheng and shou pu-erh teas >>

But this dichotomy can also be misleading, because there are many factors that influence the speed of fermentation beyond the conventional shou processing techniques. The natural fermentation that occurs with age can be affected by methods of initial processing as the fresh leaves are made into maocha, and by the climate and environment the tea is stored in during the aging process. Together, these factors create a full spectrum between the traditional opposites of sheng and shou teas.

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What is Hojicha?

What is Hojicha?

Though Japan is primarily known for producing green teas like matcha, there are many Japanese teas that are less commonly exported. The broad category of roasted teas called hojicha is particularly popular in Japan as a pairing for heavier meals, or as an alternative during the winter season when green teas are out of season.

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Understanding Tea Identity: 4 Teas Defined by Harvest Date

Understanding Tea Identity: 4 Teas Defined by Harvest Date

We often discuss the four factors through which each natural tea develops its distinct flavor identity. Variety, harvest date, provenance and craftsmanship all play a role in building the finished characteristics of a tea. However, the weight of these factors in defining quality and flavor can vary from category to category, or even from tea to tea.

To get a clear picture of the impact, it can help to taste a few teas that depend heavily on a single aspect. Today, we’re showcasing the importance of harvest date with four teas that just wouldn’t taste the same if they were harvested at any other time.

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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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