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Aug 11, 2008 01:25 PM

Red Blossom Tea, Chinatown, SF

Great selection of teas from China, very knowledgeable, enthusiastic but unintimidating staff. A place to buy teas, rather than a tea house, but they let you taste (with proper and graceful brewing technique) before you buy.

I particularly loved the Song Zhong Phoenix Oolong, from the Phoenix mountains in Canton. A perfect balance of roasty oolong woods and the enduring but delicate tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, passionfruit), harmonious but subtle in every aspect.

Also sipped some very pleasant scarlet robe, the characteristic richness and roast of oolong first, followed by a bitter-sweet (almost ginseng-ish to me) lasting finish in the throat. They get theirs from a direct descendant of the original bushes in the Wuyi mountains.

A buttery Iron Goddness of Mercy from Anxi, a very subtle floral lilt, a balanced buttery aroma, and a sweet roasty finish.

Superior to my experience at Imperial Tea Court.

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    Red Blossom Tea Company
    831 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

    1. I'm glad you made it. A friend has been giving me performance teas from Red Blossom, and we had one yesterday with a large orange flower in the center and tiny osmanthus flowers that bubbled to the surface. Definitely more show than taste, but delicate and sweet too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Windy

        I ended up getting the Song Zhong Phoenix Oolong, which was their highest grade for that looking forward to comparing it with my local teahouses; it was better when I tasted in SF, but not sure how much the water plays a role.

        1. re: limster

          Get a nice postcard of Yosemite and pretend that's where your water's from.

          1. re: Windy

            Ha! The water is very hard here and some folks says it makes a big difference in flavour. I'll find out soon. :)

            BTW, I was quite impressed with their tea selection overall - such as several varieties of pre-Qing Ming Dragonwell, including ones of Westlake and Lion's Peak, a nice range of Fujian oolongs, and several varieties of the Phoenix mountain ones. They were careful to distinguish between raw and cooked pu-erh teas as well. Was intrigued by the aged Taiwanese Baozhong, can't remember if they re-roast the teas in house or not.

      2. Via his blog, The Second Steep, Peter announced today that he's leaving his family's business this year to start his own tea venture.