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Red Blossom Blog

Picking the Perfect Teapot: Functional vs. Decorative

Picking the Perfect Teapot: Functional vs. Decorative

Since teapots were first invented (probably during the Ming Dynasty), the classic form has been adapted and reimagined in every corner of the world. From the Brown Betty in England to the ornate metal pots used in Morocco, cultures around the world have created their own teapots to suit their own unique tea habits. Over time, teapots have become more than just a functional vessel for brewing tea, and have taken on a new role as collectible pieces of art.

Learn more about the history and use of teapots >>

While decorative details don’t negate a pot’s usefulness, it can be helpful to distinguish between those that are meant for everyday use and those that are designed for display. Regardless of aesthetic value, there are a few functional details that are important to pay attention to when buying a pot to brew tea in.

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6 Brewing Steps to Test Tea Quality

6 Brewing Steps to Test Tea Quality

During our annual sourcing trips to China and Taiwan, we are presented with a variety of teas at each farm we visit. Some farms grow many different varieties of the tea plant, but every farm produces many lots of tea throughout the harvest season, with differences based on the exact day of harvest and minor adjustments in crafting techniques. Our job is to discern the most subtle of flavor differences and curate our selection to include only the very best. To ensure we get an accurate tasting, we use our own version of the gong fu cha brewing method. Here are the steps we take to gauge the quality of every tea we get the opportunity to taste.

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3 Simple Steps to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea

3 Simple Steps to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea

For those new to tea, the brewing process can be intimidating, especially if your first exposure to loose leaf brewing involved a showy sampling in traditional gong fu cha style. The specialized teaware, high tech gadgets, and precise methods of tea connoisseurs can all serve a purpose in the enjoyment and appreciation of tea, but brewing the perfect cup doesn’t have to be complicated. With the three adaptable steps in this article, you will be able to brew great tea in any context, with whatever equipment you have on hand.

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How To Pair Snacks for Tea Tasting

How To Pair Snacks for Tea Tasting

For most Chinese tea drinkers, tea is an all-day affair, served alongside meals, but also between them. In the more ceremonial customs of Japan, or even the ritual of afternoon tea developed in England, strong teas are paired with small snacks, which serve to complement flavor while mitigating bitterness and astringency.

Today, with the plethora of teas that are available to taste, those who love tea may find themselves undertaking marathon tasting sessions, which practically require a snack of some sort, if only to calm the effects of excess caffeine. But pairing snacks can go beyond necessity and truly enhance the tasting experience, given a little bit of consideration. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting snacks to accompany any tea tasting.

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How to Use a Yixing Teapot

How to Use a Yixing Teapot

Unglazed teapots made with clay from Yixing are an iconic part of Chinese tea culture, and have proven their value as tea tools ever since their introduction in the Ming Dynasty. Because they are finished without an outer coat of glassy glaze, the exposed clay remains somewhat porous, and over time it begins to absorb and enhance the aroma and flavor of the tea brewed in it. For devoted tea drinkers, Yixing teapots can become a way of life, but even casual connoisseurs can appreciate their aesthetic and practical appeal. Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, follow these simple steps to ensure your Yixing is always ready and waiting to brew a great pot of tea.

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3 Reasons to Weigh Your Tea Leaves

3 Reasons to Weigh Your Tea Leaves

Brewing tea should be easy. Even when brewing rare teas or checking quality of new harvests, we avoid extra steps or equipment that don’t directly enhance our understanding of the tea. For everyday brewing, we usually simplify even further, using a travel thermos or infuser mug for a self-contained steep. In fact, we insist on high quality tea for the simple fact that it’s easier to brew without bitterness. But when tasting new teas or simply perfecting our favorite brew, we always weigh our tea leaves, no matter how fussy or extraneous it may seem. Here are three good reasons to try adding this step to your own tea routine.

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Brewing Tips: Telling Water Temperature Without a Thermometer

Brewing Tips: Telling Water Temperature Without a Thermometer

You may know that the temperature of the water used to steep your tea can have a direct and measurable impact on the flavor of your final cup, but do you really need a thermometer or specialized electric kettle to end up with a good brew? We certainly don’t think so. Here are 4 ways to find the the right water temperature without any extra equipment.

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5 Reasons to Try Tea Without Sugar

5 Reasons to Try Tea Without Sugar

As traditionalists, we rarely add sugar to our teas, but we’re asked about the possibility often during tastings. To be fair, tea has a long standing reputation as a bitter alternative to more indulgent beverages, so we understand the urge to sweeten your cup. But we highly recommend taking at least a taste of your tea before dropping in the first teaspoon of honey or sugar. Here are five good reasons to give it a try.

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Signs of Quality: Whole Leaf vs. Broken Leaf

Signs of Quality: Whole Leaf vs. Broken Leaf

There are only a few rules of quality that apply across all styles of tea, but one piece of advice that is commonly given to new tea drinkers is to look for whole leaves. In fact, we have given this piece of advice many times ourselves. When shopping for loose leaf teas with complex flavor, looking for intact leaves is one of our highest priorities. But some teas, like English Breakfast blends or matcha, are always crushed or powdered, even at the highest grades. What is the real benefit of brewing whole leaf teas, and can there be advantages to using broken leaves, as well?

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How To Write Tasting Notes: Aroma, Flavor, and Texture

How To Write Tasting Notes: Aroma, Flavor, and Texture

Tasting notes used to describe natural products like tea are often ephemeral and hard to understand, because our sense of taste is actually multifaceted. Taste includes not only the sensation on your tongue, but also the way the tea smells and the texture that lingers in your mouth. Written tasting notes can be used to describe any or all of these aspects, and help distinguish subtle differences between natural teas. Whether you want to keep track of what you love in a tea or just make a little more sense of tea descriptions online, understanding these three parts of flavor will help make it easier.

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