Flower Tea and Flowering Tea… sounds like the same thing, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, flower teas and flowering/blooming teas are quite different from one another. While they share many similarities, their differences is what makes each type of tea truly unique!
Flower tea is a Tisane, or an herbal tea. Tisanes are herbal infusions of flowers, herbs, spice, leaves, etc. that have been made into a tea. Essentially, a tisane is any tea that does not contain ‘true teas’ leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant, otherwise known as black, green, white, yellow, dark, or oolong teas. Flower teas are used for many different reasons. Some drink flower tea for their beauty and the captivating experience that comes from making the tea. Others drink flower tea for their endless benefits for health and beautification. And some are just obsessed with flowers and need other ways to involve them in their lives! No matter the reason, flower tea's history has proven them to be an incredibly positive addition to anyone's life.
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Blooming/Flowering tea began more as an art form than a health promoting drink, but has become so much more than that over the years. Blooming tea is made from true tea leaves and flowers that are sewn into a bulb. The main point of blooming tea is the experience when steeping. When a bulb of blooming tea is steeping in boiling water, it expands into a full bloom, with the flower being the centerpiece of the bloom, and it becomes a beautiful thing to look at. Blooming tea has been used throughout history purely as a decoration and also as a beautiful way to involve true tea and tisanes in tea rituals.
While a basic understanding of these teas may capture more of their similarities, let's discuss what the differences are to make each type of tea special in itself!
1. How They Are Made
The first major difference between flower tisanes and blooming/flowering tea is the way that they are produced! Flower tea is, simply, a flower that has been dried. It is naturally caffeine free and does not contain tea leaves. Flower teas can be whole flower infusions (like our flower teas), ground up of flowers as loose leaf tea, or blends of many different flowers and herbs.
On the other hand, blooming tea is made by wrapping dried Camellia Sinensis, or ‘true tea’, leaves around a dried flower, and sewing them together to create a bulb or sphere shape. Although called ‘flowering tea’, it does not have to contain a flower in the center to be considered ‘flowering’. These teas can sometimes contain an herb, or even more true tea leaves, in the center. The name ‘flower tea’ refers to a flower being made into tea, and ‘blooming tea’ or ‘flowering tea’ refers to the experience that the bulb creates of expanding once steeped.
Both types of tea were created with purposes very unique from each other. Flower tea has been used longer than history can trace back by cultures all around the world. Specifically, Chinese and Indian cultures can show us how deeply ingrained the use of flowers is in ancient cultures through the practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Flowers contain healing properties and teas made from various flowers have been used for centuries to treat ailments, promote healthy organ function, beautifying the body, and even for their smell as a perfume. Basically, flowers have been used by humans for teas and countless other reasons since flowers have been around!
Although historians are not completely clear on the origin, Blooming tea was said to have been first used in the royal courts of China in the 10th century, to display a sign of wealth and status, but not to drink. The modern blooming tea that we think of was created by Yun Xue Tong with the goal of increasing sales of both her green and flower teas. Blooming tea was created by artisans as an artistic endeavor, focusing more on the look than the benefit, whereas flower tea has been used for treatment for the body, and its beauty is merely an extra benefit!
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3. Health Benefits
With flower and blooming teas being made differently, for different reasons, they offer different benefits to our health too! Each flower, herb, or tea used possesses a different benefit, so each specific healing power will come down to what ingredients have been used. In general, flower teas contain large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Many flowers are anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial. Flower tea is an herbal tea that is naturally caffeine free and therefore can help with relaxation and soothing our minds and relieves stress and mental health issues. Most flower teas are known to help aid in digestion, soothe irritation and pain, promote weight loss, and so much more depending on the specific flower.
Blooming tea can have some of the same amazing benefits as flower teas when flowers are used to make the bulb. With true teas being used to make blooming tea, the benefits can differ from that of flower teas. The Camellia Sinensis plant has antioxidant properties that can promote heart health as well as oral health. These teas also boost immune function in many ways, but specifically through stress reduction from the amino acid L-theanine. Also, being naturally caffeinated, blooming teas can help with energy, as well as managing weight through increased metabolic function.
Although seemingly obvious, one aspect that makes flower teas and blooming teas unique is their taste! While that taste will differ depending on what flower is used, flower teas tend to have a light, floral, sweet, herbal taste. Flower teas generally create a lighter infusion and are not as intensely flavorful as, say a black tea. Flower teas are known for being more delicate in their flavor and scent than other teas.
Blooming tea's taste can vary, depending on which ‘true tea’ was used and what flower or herb was chosen as the centerpiece. In general, true teas will have a stronger, more bitter taste than a flower tea. Therefore, blooming teas will often taste strongly of the true tea leaves that were used, with an infusion of the flower that is used. For example, if you are drinking a Blooming Jasmine Green Tea, the main flavor will be the green tea, with a strong hint of the Jasmine within.
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While both being two of the most beautiful ways to drink tea, a major difference between flower tisanes and flowering tea is what you can use each type of tea for beyond drinking! With flowering tea, it is best to allow full infusion, and drink it as it is, with as few additives as possible. The reason for this is because the more you add to the tea, the more it will disrupt the bloom happening in your cup. Because the beauty of the bloom is hugely important to this tea, the versatility of what you can do with it is not as wide as it is with other teas.
On the other hand, with flower tea the option for versatility in how you make your tea is much greater! While the beauty of the bloom of flower teas is undeniably exciting, a single flower allows you the option to add whatever you like to make the perfect cup of tea and use the flowers for so much more! We have many recipes on our blog for different ways to use our flower tea, from making mock/cocktails and lattes to making rosewater and beautifying facial steams for the skin. And even using flowers to make ice cubes or floral-infused salt and sugar. Think about how flowers are used in life for countless different things, and be creative on how you want to use your flowers!