Tea Tasting: Red Blossom Tea Company’s Organic Cloud and Mist

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The names of teas are a source of pleasure in and of themselves. Why ask someone if they’d like a cup of black or green, when you can offer Cloud and Mist?

Red Blossom Tea Company is a second generation family owned business in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and though a trip to their shop is imminent, I discovered their teas through BiRite Market–the smokin’ hot grocery in the center of the smokin’ hot Mission district. In a store where shelf real estate is precious, Red Blossom teas occupy two.

On a recent shopping expedition, my best friend Shani and I decided to treat ourselves to a packet after which we hurried back to my place for a little brew and chat.

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What Red Blossom has to say about this tea:

“Harvested late April 2012 from Fuding County, Fujian Province. Cloud & Mist is one of the oldest styles of green tea from Fujian. The locals sometimes call the tea “cai cha” or “vegetable tea”, an endearing, familiar term for a tea that they drink day in and day out.

Each leaf is hand-picked, then roasted with a drum roaster – a more traditional method of green tea crafting that predates the pan firing methods commonly used today. The dry leaves are dark green, each wiry twisted strand only about 2.5 centimeters long. The aroma is slightly floral with an underlying note of roasted macadamia. In water, those strands unwind and turn a creamy green, revealing tender leaves and buds. The infused tea is surprisingly sweet and bright, with a hint of butter and grass.”

After tasting we would have to concur with all the notes above. The only embellishment would be the specific floral note we got was gardenia.

Even if you don’t live in SF or feel like ordering teas online, it’s worth a virtual trip to their site just to look at the beautiful array of handmade teaware. Red Blossom goes to great lengths to bring the best teas and teaware over from China. A lot of it is quite expensive, but, oh, it’s still so much fun to look…

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To brew the tea:

Bring water to 175°F (79°C)–when small bubbles begin to rise to the surface. For more on water temperature go here.

Add 1 Tbsp. (15ml) tea leaves to pre-warmed cup (6oz./180ml). Double the quantity if using a teapot (12oz./360ml).

Add water and steep for no more than 1 minute per steep. Pour off all liquid to prevent over-steeping. This tea can be steeped many times over.

Drink plain.

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