Art has the ability to make its way into all parts of life. Blooming or Flowering tea is as much of an art form as it is a calming beverage. Although their names are often used interchangeably, Flower Teas or Floral Tisanes are different from Blooming/Flowering Teas. The biggest difference between Flower Teas (tisanes) vs. Blooming/Flowering Teas is that Blooming teas consist of both edible flowers AND true caffeinated tea leaves. Flowering/Blooming tea is also different in its history as well as how it is made and used.
The names of these teas, ‘flowering’/‘blooming’,describe how it looks when steeped in hot water. Also referred to by the names display tea, blossoming tea, hand-tied tea, art tea, or performance tea. Although often called flowering tea, blooming tea does not have to contain flowers to be ‘flowering’. Blooming/Flowering tea refers more to the opening of the bulb during infusion, and not always what it is made of. This is the main difference between blooming tea and flower tea, flower tea is always made from a flower!
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Blooming tea's origins are not entirely clear, but historians believe it to date back to around the 10th century in the Yunnan province in the south east of China. These types of ‘display teas’ were used in the royal courts of China, not to drink, but to display a sign of wealth and status. The flowering tea that we think of today is a modern creation designed in the 1990s by Yun Xue Tong, a woman from Fujian, China. With the goal of increasing sales of both her flower teas and green teas, and a lot of trial and error, she created the blooming teas that we think of today. This creation not only changed the way that people view tea, but it launched a boom in the tea industry and created jobs for many artisans and tea masters in China. (1, 2)
Blooming (Flowering) Tea is traditionally a bundle of dried Camellia Sinensis, or ‘true tea’, leaves wrapped around a dried flower. Most commonly using green tea leaves that are moistened, then flattened, and shaped by hand. Using a food-safe thread, one or more flowers are sewn into the tea leaves and the tea leaves are then wrapped into a bulb/sphere shape around the flower. This method of making blooming tea not only makes for a beautiful tea drinking experience, but also helps preserve the flavors of the tea and the flower. When steeped, the bundle of leaves expands into a bloom with the flower inside the tea becoming the centerpiece as it unfolds.
Flowering tea uses many different combinations of leaves and flowers to create different flavors, benefits, and experiences. A few common flowers used are lotus, jasmine, lily, osmanthus, rose, and chrysanthemum. While the benefits can differ depending on what type of flowers and tea leaves are used, they are generally rich in antioxidants, nourishing to the skin, promote metabolic and mental functioning, and so much more. (3)
With each bulb of flowering tea being handmade, no two blossoms are the same. The artists that create these flowering teas take strong pride in their art and believe that the teas symbolize love, happiness, and prosperity. Depending on the flower or leaves used, each blossoming tea can offer a different benefit to our health and wellness, and even carry different energies through each cup of tea. (4)
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How To Enjoy Flowering Tea
To make flowering tea, place the bulb in a glass cup or teapot to get the full effect. Then fill your vessel with water that is just below the boiling point (about 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Allow the bulb to steep for at least 3 minutes. It may need an extra 2-3 minutes to fully expand. Then enjoy!
The bundles can usually be reused up to three times to get the most out of one bulb. After the first steep, the next will generally have a lighter flavor. Allow the second and third steeps more time to infuse, usually 5-10 minutes for a full infusion. Be sure to pour the boiling water down the side of your vessel, rather than right onto the bloom, so as to not disrupt the beauty of the expansion.
We can add art into every aspect of our lives, even in our daily tea rituals! Blooming teas possess incredible qualities of beauty and intrigue. On top of this they are full of antioxidants and offer positive health benefits. You can find high quality blooming teas or learn the craft of making your own blooming teas at home using our flowers!