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Red Blossom Blog

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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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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What is Earl Grey Tea?

What is Earl Grey Tea?

Earl Grey tea, which originated in Britain in the 1820s, has since become one of the most popular types of tea in the western world. The unique added flavor of bergamot citrus fruit gives Earl Grey tea a distinctive aroma and flavor that was originally intended to give new Indian black teas the same citrus-like qualities found naturally in fine black teas from China.

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Which Teas Are Most Popular In China and Taiwan?

Which Teas Are Most Popular In China and Taiwan?

We are often asked to recommend the tea styles that are most popular in their country of origin. Thanks to the vast range of tea styles produced in China and Taiwan, each region has its own specialty, and local loyalties are fierce. If you’re looking for a gift or wondering what to buy while in China, check out this list for the best teas of each region.

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5 Festive Teas to Pair with Holiday Dinners

5 Festive Teas to Pair with Holiday Dinners

For most of us, holiday festivities are all about the food, but those who love tea know that the right brew can enhance any flavor experience. Whether you need a dose of caffeine to power a long day of cooking, want to find the right pairing for rich flavors, or need something to help digest all those delicious delicacies, these five teas have you covered.

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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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