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Red Blossom Blog

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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4 Myths About Caffeine in Tea

4 Myths About Caffeine in Tea

Though most people consume caffeine in some form or another on a daily basis, myths and misinformation persist about the way it works. In particular, there are several popularly held misbeliefs about the caffeine content in tea that are simply not true. Some are based in fragments of truth, while others are pure invention. Today, we’re clarifying the facts about four caffeine myths that we encounter often.

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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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The Ultimate Guide to Tea Infusers

The Ultimate Guide to Tea Infusers

Tea infusers, made to contain tea leaves while brewing, are an extremely popular tool for brewing loose leaf tea. A precursor to bagged teas, reusable infusers hold leaves captive while allowing water to flow freely through a filter of mesh or punched holes. They are particularly useful for brewing small leaf pieces, like those used for many Western-style black teas, because they prevent small bits from ending up in the brew. However, they’re also commonly used for other tea types, since they are easy to find, simple to use, and allow for leaves to be extracted to prevent over-brewing.

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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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