Blooming tea (or “flowering tea”) is a unique and lovely tea - especially during the spring months with flowers blooming around us outside! Not only can you drink the infusion, but you can also watch the tea flower bloom before your eyes, creating a floral masterpiece! You’ll usually find them in the form of little bundles of dried tea leaves and flowers, that you simply have to place in hot water - ideally in a glass pot for the best viewing experience :)
Blooming teas have been crafted in China for hundreds of years - most commonly in Fujian, Anhui and Yunnan provinces.
Tea leaves are moistened and shaped by hand, and then bundles of leaves are sewn around one or more flowers, or sometimes with no flowers at all. The bundles are then allowed to dry, sometimes wrapped in cloth to help hold their shape.
Flowering teas come in many different shapes, sizes, tea types, and flower types. You can find them in spheres, ovals, cones, hearts, rosettes or discs. They are usually made with green or white tea leaves or buds, but sometimes black tea is used. Some common flowers that are sewn into the flowering teas are food-safe or edible flowers such as chrysanthemum, jasmine, lily, rose, hibiscus, marigold, osmanthus, and globe amaranth. Some blooming teas may not even contain flowers - only tea leaves bound together!
Most blooming teas have a mild, pleasant flavor that might be slightly floral or vegetal. Don’t expect to have a burst of intense flavor, as the flavor can be dulled by the shaping process, however some blooming teas might be additionally scented with jasmine or other flowers to lead to a more flavorful experience.
Blooming tea is pretty simple to make - you just need hot water and a brewing vessel - ideally something transparent, because the whole point is to watch the tea bloom! If you don’t have a glass teapot, you can also use a glass vase or pitcher, a large wine glass or a simple glass cup! You can use boiling water, and you can let the tea steep for up to a half hour or so without it going bitter, since the flavor is light in general. You can even let the tea sit longer as a floral decoration.