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Red Blossom Blog

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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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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Teaware Pairing: The Perfect Pot for Every Tea

Teaware Pairing: The Perfect Pot for Every Tea

With so many different tea styles and culturally distinct brewing customs from around the world, it can be difficult to know what equipment is best suited for making your favorite teas. In truth, most pots are capable of brewing almost any tea. But just as geographic isolation has led to the development of many different tea styles, it has also created parallel developments in teaware. Many teas are complemented by the teaware from nearby regions, where local tastes have refined teaware designs to best suit their most common teas.

Now that modern globalization has made these local specialties available around the world, the connections between tea and teaware are more obscure. Most important distinctions between brewing vessels can be boiled down to the size, material, and strainer type. With these factors in mind, here are our top teaware recommendations for each category of tea.

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5 Reasons to Brew Tea in a Gaiwan

5 Reasons to Brew Tea in a Gaiwan

Though the first gaiwans were developed in the Ming Dynasty, around the same time as the first teapots, the “lidded bowl” never caught on worldwide with the same fervor. Today, the close association between gaiwans and Chinese teas gives them an exotic reputation that can be intimidating for new brewers, but they’re actually a highly practical tool for both everyday brewing and serious tasting. We use gaiwans on a daily basis for tastings in our shop, and recommend them often for newcomers to gong fu cha. Here are five reasons why we love them, and think you will too!

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Brewing Tips: Balancing Time & Temperature

Brewing Tips: Balancing Time & Temperature

Whether you’re an experienced tea drinker or just getting started, you’ve probably heard some advice about controlling the temperature of your water. But recommended steeping instructions often vary, with differences between styles, vendors, and even individual teas. How can you be sure you’re getting the best flavor in every brew?

A variable temperature kettle is one way to ensure you’re always using the right temperature for the tea you’re brewing, but these complex appliances can be an expensive investment, and don’t pack easily for travel. They’re also a very modern invention - countless generations of tea drinkers have learned to brew tea well without the aid of precise temperature control, and you can too!

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