Saturday, October 18, 2008

Red Blossom Tea Company

This past Friday Chef Brenda took my class on a field trip to China Town in San Francisco and the Sake Factory in Berkeley. The highlight of the day had to have been a tea shop we went to that had an enormous selection of loose teas. We received a great introduction to the company and making of tea by on of the owners, pictured to the right, who also gave us a "two round" tea tasting of one of Chef Brenda's favorite Oolong varietals. It was really fun and the tea was wonderful. I definitely want to return to taste more and buy some for home. The man giving us the tasting (forgot his name) told us the Red Lantern ( in Redwood City is going to have a tea tasting with the Red Blossom Tea Company's teas, which is a great foot in the door for them. He spoke a lot on how restaurants need to be more aware of the importance of quality in tea as they are on wine and food. The tea seems expensive when buying in bulk but when he broke it down per pot it was very reasonable and comparable to a regular tea bag. I personally think it's worth it as his teas were better than any bagged tea I've had. He gave a few points that I found helpful such as only allowing tea to steep for 2-4 minutes, never steeping in boiling water as it turns bitter and kills the natural flavor, and that loose tea should be kept from sunlight. He also said you can reuse loose leaf tea and that the "second round" is usually better than the first because the leaves have had a chance to fully open. The one picture I took of all the tea canisters is only a third to half of what is available in the store. I believe he said he has 80 to 100 tea varietals available. The website for this place is and the address is 831 Grant Avenue, SF. You should go!

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