Flowering tea – what is flowering tea and how to make it?
Sometimes called “blooming tea” or “performance tea,” flowering tea is a very entertaining and artistic form of tea.
They are combinations of fresh green tea leaf buds and other flowers that have been hand-tied and compressed into a small bundle designed to open when infused in hot water. Dozens of designs have been created in the last few years, each with different flowers hidden in the center of a tightly wrapped ball of tea leaves, and each one opens to reveal a lovely flower.
The long green or white tea buds wrap around osmanthus, globe amaranth, chrysanthemum, jasmine, or lily. Flowering teas are all made by hand. These little works of art are most often used for special occasions or as decorations, but the tea brewed from them can also be enjoyed.
Brewing Flowering Tea
Flowering tea should be infused in a glass container that can tolerate hot water, usually a large cylindrical vase about 4 inches in diameter, a large glass (such as a brandy snifter), or in a glass teapot. The flowering tea bulb is placed into the bottom of the container and hot water (under 200ºF) is added slowly and gently.
Almost immediately, the tea leaves will begin to draw away from the round bulb. They will unfold slowly, one by one, to reveal the flower within. Within a few minutes, the entire performance will be complete. The water will be infused with the flavors and colors of the leaves and the flower.
Once the flower is open, the tea should be decanted before it becomes too strong to drink, or before the water becomes too dark to enjoy the beauty of the flower. It can be infused several times as a beverage and will last at least a week as a decoration.
Flowering teas are often sold in gift sets with a glass container, several different tea flowers, and complete instructions for infusing and enjoying the performance of these unusual teas.
History of Flowering Tea
What was originally a folk art practiced in tea-growing communities was revived in the 1990s in Fujian Province, China. Innovations like this not only provided interesting new products to delight new tea drinkers but also revitalized a cultural tradition and provided many new jobs for women.
Tong Yun, who grew up on her family’s tea farm and eventually took over the management of their business, generated dozens of new designs and restored the craft into prominence in the Chinese tea business community.