When I visit San Francisco, Red Blossom Tea Company (RBTC) is always my first stop. It carries a wide selection of Chinese tea. I met Alice, CEO of Red Blossom Tea Company for the first time last year. She has inherited RBTC from her parents and has been running it since the late 90’s. We instantly developed our relationship over our passion for tea and food. This time, Alice invited me for a light lunch and tea pairing at her shop in San Francisco.
New Emperor Pu-erh cake 2008 ($36/100g)
First, warm up this pale blue gaiwan with hot water before brewing pu-erh
These young gold tips make the tea taste smoother and less bitter (just like baby arugula tastes milder than wild arugula)
Pu-erh needs to be first washed with hot water. This helps wash the dust away that might have been collected on the surface of the tea cake. This also makes the next infusion better. This new collection of pu-erh tastes so smooth and rich. Strongly recommended for those who typically don’t like the earthy taste of pu-erh
Homemade dumplings by Alice! Chicken and Vegetables inside. Sooooo Delicious!
Pu-erh is the perfect tea to be paired with lots of Chinese food. Since Chinese food tends to be oily, pu-erh helps your stomach digest better and washes away bad fats from your body
Another beautiful gaiwan from Taiwan
Tung Ting, Mi Xiang (Formosa Oolong), Taiwan
Taiwanese oolong are usually rolled shaped like above
These rolled shaped and lightly oxidized Tung Ting Oolong will blossom beautifully after the first infusion
Alice made amazing persimmon ice cream
Decorated beautifully with soft persimmon and dried persimmon!
Lightly oxidized green tea or oolong such as Tung Ting oolong is a good pair with sweet desserts such as chocolate and ice cream. It is because the fresh green oil from the tea overpowers the sweetness. Think about how bitter coffee is often paired well with sweet desserts
As I mentioned earlier, the rolled tea leaves will blossom and show its original shape after the infusion
The next tea will be Fu Shou Shan, another formosa oolong from Taiwan
Hand made gaiwan, new collection
This Fu Shou Shan oolong, Taiwan was collected in Spring 2006. Also rolled in a round shape just like other Taiwanese Oolong
When Alice visits tea farms in Taiwan and China, she always brews tea in 2 unusual ways to figure whether it is good or bad. First, under-steep tea in lukewarm water and wait for tea leaves to brew very slowly. The other method is to over-steep. She puts tea leaves in hot water and lets them sit for a long time. In her opinion, good quality tea will always taste good regardless of different methods of brewing
This time, we decided tounder-steep Fu Shou Shan Oolong
Wait for tea leaves to fully bloom in a lukewarm water
It slowly blooms to show her green beauty
Surprisingly, this under-steep Oolong tastes so rich and doesn’t taste bitter!
Rich in green oil such as taiwanese Oolong is a perfect pair with sweet cookies (also made by Alice)
The last tea that we tasted is the king of tea, Da Hong Pao, Wu Yi Maountian cliff tea, Fujian, China
Heritage Grand Scarlet Robe, 2015 ($38/2 ounce) on the left and Heritage Beidou, 2016 ($60/ 2 ounce) on the right
We will compare two different Da Hong Pao . The left is Heritage Grand Scarlet Robe and the right is Heritage Beidou. The right side Da Hong Pao is almost twice more expensive than the left one. Nevertheless, they are both very good
Although they are in the same category of Da Hong Pao, the color of the liquid is different. The Heritage Grand Scarlet is darker
Both tastes amazing. Da Hong Pao, dark roasted Oolong is one of my favorite tea that I drink often. Heritage Beidou tastes smoother and deeper. As soon as you sip it, its dark roasted aroma gently spreads all over your mouth
Wild Leaf, Sheng Pu-erh 1998
Do you remember this pu-erh? One of my favorite pu-erh tea from Red Bloosom Tea Company. Carried exclusively at Benu, San Francisco, 3 michelin starred restaurant by Chef Corey Lee.
When I went to benu the last year, I ordered this tea. It tastes so rich and creamy but clean. Red Blossom Tea Company does not sell this anymore, since they have a limited number in stock. Because I love this pu-erh so much, Alice shared some with me. Thank you Alice!
Red Blossom Tea Company does not only sell tea but also many beautiful tea wares
What I bought from Red Blossom Tea Company
This new tea tumbler is amazing!
One of the inconvenient things with drinking tea is that you cannot bring all your essential tea wares when you travel. However, this tea tumbler is a life saver! All you need is this tumbler and hot water!
Back at my hotel, I brew my Oolong in this new tea tumbler
First, pour only 1/3 of hot water and let the tea leaves bloom a bit. Then, pour the rest of the hot water and wait a few minutes before drinking
Red Blossom Tea Company is one of my favorite Chinese tea shops in San Francisco. Alice visits Taiwan and China every spring to buy new tea. She sends all of these imported tea to the institution in San Francisco to check if they have any harmful chemicals. Red Blossom Tea Company’s tea is carried in many famous restaurants in San Francisco such as Benu, In-situ, Mourad, etc. I always enjoy my visit to Red Blossom Tea Company and love trying their new tea collections. Can’t wait to visit again next year!
Red Blossom Tea Company
- Address: 831 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
- Tel : +1 415-395-0868
- Website : http://www.redblossomtea.com/
- Hours: M-S 10am- 6pm