June is National Iced Tea Month. How about something different?
We love to serve our guests blooming tea, hot or iced.
Blooming tea is not just a beverage. It’s a feast for the senses, and a treat that no one will soon forget.
Blooming teas, also known as flowering teas and presentation teas, are hand-crafted balls of white tea leaves (sometimes green tea leaves), arranged to blossom into a beautiful flower.
The magic comes when you place the ball into hot water. Over a few minutes, it unfurls its leaves into a floral presentation.
The tea balls (photo #1) comprise the leaves that infuse in the hot water, as well as flower blossoms that add floral notes to the tea.
Many flowers, since each artisan company has its own flower designs and flavor combinations.
The teas, typically green or white tea, are fragrant in addition to eye-appealing.
HOW ARE BLOOMING TEAS MADE?
Blooming teas are hand-sewn balls of tea leaves and flower petals, cleverly stitched together with thread by Chinese artisans.
In addition to the tea leaves, the flowers used include globe amaranth, chrysanthemum, hibiscus, jasmine, lily and osmanthus, among others. They add flavor and aroma as well as beauty.
Here’s how the tea balls are made.
If you don’t want to see how the tea is grown and picked, just fast-forward to the middle of the video, when the tea has been picked and is about to be made into balls.
YOU CAN STEEP THEM MORE THAN ONCE
The tea blossom can be re-brewed twice more within 24 hours, so don’t throw it away after a single brewing.
The second and third brewings taste much more delicate, but are still worthy of enjoying.
The number of times the blossoms deliver flavor depends on the particular tea. Keep trying until there’s no more flavor.
Refrigerate brewed blossoms in a sealed container for up to 48 hours (remove water prior to storage).
If the bloom is still in good shape after three brews, you can add it to a cup or glass of regularly-brewed green or white tea.
We also use blooms that no longer have tea flavor in a glass or pitcher of iced water. The blooms will keep for a couple of weeks.
HOW TO SERVE BLOOMING TEA
To enjoy the beauty of flowering teas, prepare them in glass—a mug, a glass or a teapot like the ones in the photos.
If you want hot tea, the loveliest way to serve it is in a glass teapot, or individual glass mugs (photos #2 and #3).
For iced tea, a tall glass or a wine glass is the way to go.
You’ll have to brew the tea in hot water to open the blossom; then ice it in the fridge.
Guests miss out on the unfurling, but the presentation is nevertheless impressive.
(If you use a glass pitcher for brewing, make sure it is heat-proof.)
WHERE TO PURCHASE BLOOMING TEA
You can find blooming tea at dozens of online merchants.
Just look for “blooming tea” in Google Images, to see the variety of styles available from different merchants.
Flavored teas work especially well when iced.
One merchant, Tea Bloom, has a flavored tea ball set that includes Açaí, Blueberry, Cranberry, Jasmine, Litchi, Orange, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberry.
Blooming teas are great for gifting, and can be purchased in individual packets for party favors and stocking stuffers.
> HAVE AN ICED TEA PARTY
> WHAT TO SERVE AT A TEA PARTY
> THE HISTORY OF ICED TEA