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Red Blossom Blog

What is Da Hong Pao Tea?

What is Da Hong Pao Tea?

As one of the most famously celebrated teas in China, Da Hong Pao (translated as either ‘Big Red Robe’, or more poetically, ‘Grand Scarlet Robe’) is surrounded by myth and legend. While fantastic stories have helped to build this tea’s reputation as a rare and valuable commodity, they say little about the quality of flavor found in any particular leaf. So what makes Da Hong Pao so special, and what does it mean when a product is labeled “Big Red Robe”?

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6 Reasons to Drink Pu-erh Tea

6 Reasons to Drink Pu-erh Tea

Distinct from any other tea style, the aged, fermented teas from Yunnan Province known as pu-erh remain somewhat mysterious in the western world. The style we know today was developed relatively recently (in the context of tea’s long history) and didn’t reach peak popularity until late in the 20th century - long after modern western traditions had diverged from their Chinese roots.

Pu-erh as a category is especially captivating for a multitude of reasons, not limited to commonly marketed health benefits. Here are six reasons we think pu-erh tea is worth drinking, whether as a daily brew or a special treat.

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How Tea Grows: Anatomy of a Tea Plant

How Tea Grows: Anatomy of a Tea Plant

With the wide variety of tea styles produced worldwide, it can be hard to believe that all types of tea, excluding herbal tisanes, are made from the same species. Flavors and even the physical attributes of the finished leaves can vary drastically from tea to tea, giving the impression that green teas are in some way fundamentally different from black teas.

But in fact, all teas come from the same Camellia sinensis plant. Thousands of years of cultivation have teased myriad colors, textures, and flavors out of this single species, which now distinguish the huge variety of teas we know and love.

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Types of Pu-erh: Wet vs. Dry Storage

Types of Pu-erh: Wet vs. Dry Storage

Pu-erh can be one of the most complex categories of tea, thanks to the infinite flavor variations that can develop during the process of fermentation and aging. Two pu-erhs identical in provenance, variety, harvest date and craftsmanship can still diverge during the aging process to become utterly unique teas.

Many aspects of the storage environment can ultimately change the character of the final fermented tea, and details of past storage can be obscured over time as these teas move through the market. One of the most important considerations is environmental humidity, which is often summarized in the terms “wet” and “dry”. But as with most simple distinctions, these terms can be misleading.

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Types of Black Tea: Indian vs. Chinese Traditions

Types of Black Tea: Indian vs. Chinese Traditions

Within the broadly defined category of fully oxidized teas, there are an infinite number of variations. Black teas can vary in flavor based on the specific environmental features of local terroir, the weather and maturity of the plant when it is harvested, and the way in which the leaves are picked and crafted. But the unique history of the tea trade has also shaped the landscape of fully oxidized styles into two distinct families: those from China, and those from India.

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Types of Pu-erh: What is Maocha?

Types of Pu-erh: What is Maocha?

In the broad context of processing teas, the term maocha refers to an unfinished stage: wilted, partially roasted, or otherwise not fully dried and finished. While this unfinished tea might be tasted to gauge the development of flavor or sold to third party roasters, it is almost never offered for sale to consumers, since it is not preserved for storage. On the unusual spectrum of pu-erh production, however, maocha also includes teas that are dried or pressed but not yet aged.

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What is Ginseng Tea?

What is Ginseng Tea?

Ginseng roots are not related to the tea plant, but have an equally long history in association with traditional herbal medicine. Across Asia, but especially in Korea and China, ginseng root has historically been a panacea for almost any ill. While some modern scientific research supports myriad benefits can be derived from taking ginseng, high prices and a naturally bitter flavor makes it a popular target for imitations and false claims.

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Types of Green Tea: The Importance of Harvest Date

Types of Green Tea: The Importance of Harvest Date

Green tea is among the most popular style worldwide, but the huge variety in green teas can be overwhelming. Though the crafting steps of green tea are typically minimal, and the style is narrowly defined by the lack of oxidation, the range in green tea flavor can be enormous, even before considering scented and flavored varieties. To narrow down the options to more a more specific selection of flavor profiles, we recommend asking about harvest date.

Harvest date is the primary criteria for grading traditional Chinese green teas, with the first leaves picked during the year fetching the highest prices. But the most expensive tea is not always best for every palate, and exceptions exist to every rule. So how exactly does harvest date contribute to quality? And what factors can change the impact of traditional harvest dates?

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Flavors of Pure Tea: Sweetness Without Sugar

Flavors of Pure Tea: Sweetness Without Sugar

Though it is common for most tea drinkers to add sweeteners to their tea, we delight in finding teas that don’t need anything extra to satisfy our sweet tooth. Describing these teas is difficult, however, because of the prevalence of teas which are crafted with artificial flavorings or sweeteners. A tea described with flavor notes such as “creamy”, “honey” or “molasses” is often assumed to have some additive included, but in fact, these flavor notes occur naturally in many teas. Today we’ll explore how these naturally sweet characteristics are derived through traditional harvest dates, natural growing methods, and careful crafting styles.

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4 Whole Leaf Teas to Try Instead of Matcha

4 Whole Leaf Teas to Try Instead of Matcha

The powdered Japanese green tea called matcha has taken the world by storm, with green-tinged baked goods and claims of health benefits thrusting it into the public consciousness all over the world. However, high quality matcha teas are difficult to find internationally, as they use only the best leaves, are labor intensive to grow and craft, and are typically reserved in Japan for ceremonial uses. More common “cooking-grade” matcha is easier to find, but rarely tastes good without sweeteners, since it is intended to be used among other flavors in culinary dishes.

The inherent rarity of high quality matcha means prices are usually high, and while the suspension of powdered leaves delivers all the caffeine and health benefits of the tea in one concentrated shot, it also means a fresh serving of dry leaf is required for each new cup. In addition, matcha teas go stale quickly and must be consumed while fresh, given the large amount of surface area exposed when the leaves are ground to a fine powder. By contrast, whole leaf teas that are properly dried and finished can last at least a year before going stale, and deliver flavor through at least three infusions of the same leaves.

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