The Exotic Teapot Blog
Tea as performance art: the flowering teas of China
Flowering teas are a little mysterious, a little magical, a little vaudeville. The gentle windmill unfurling of the leaves leading up to the crescendo: colour spills into the water as your bloom ‘wakes up’ in a fast-forward recreation of a flower opening. You watch, and then you sip: it’s a complete sensory experience.
We will cover everything you need to know: the origin of flowering teas, the secret of how they are made, and finally a short guide to our unique flowering teas & the teaware to show it off with.
History of flowering teas
These Fabergé eggs of the tea world emerged somewhere in the mists of Chinese history. Thought by some to be a creation of 1980s glitz & glam, other historians insist that a basic form of these teas has been drunk for hundreds of years.
The majority of flowering teas are produced in the Yunnan province. This mountainous region is home to the widest variety of flora in China, so naturally the craftspeople here benefit from a ready supply of flower species such as jasmine, chrysanthemum, hibiscus and lily.
A secret craft: how flowering tea is made
Imagine the patience & skill of a bird piecing together its little nest.
Making a flowering tea is a painstakingly detailed craft beginning with about twenty finest white tea needles being sewn around a dried flower or several flowers with food-safe yarn. This handmade bulb is fired once and then scented naturally, before being fired another five times.
There are several possible shapes to the flowers that emerge from a tea bulb: a large posy, sculpture arches of little flowers & pretty bouquets.
How to brew flowering teas
The pleasure principle of flowering teas is watching them unfurl, so we recommend using a glass teapot.
Because some of the flowers are taller, our 700ml Shan Teapot was designed especially to showcase all varieties of flowering teas. As a general rule, any glass teapot 450ml or larger, 3 inches in height, should be ideal.
Due to the process in making blooming teas, they are a little more resistant than green or white tea on its own. Use near-boiling water because this also helps to open the leaves dramatically, giving the best in show.
Another advantage of flowering teas is the fact that they can be steeped for longer without becoming bitter. The teapot can also be refilled several times, so the tea can be enjoyed while you chat with friends.
For the first steeping, use near-boiling water & leave for about 3 minutes, until the leaves have completely unfurled.
For the second steeping, try to avoid pouring the water directly onto the flower so it retains its delicate beauty. You may want to experiment with time for the second & third steeping, depending on your preference for strength.
The perfect place to start with flowering teas
We offer two introductory sample sets for you if this is the first dip of your toe into blooming teas (that’s a metaphor, we don’t recommend this):
The best way to try out & enjoy the spectacle of a range of our flowering teas. Each tea unfurls with its own personality, and you get to try 5 or 10 blooms depending on what suits your curiosity.
Sampler 5 tin: contains Vanilla Dreams, Jasmine Fairies, Heart of Gold, Roselle Melody & Orange Osmanthus
Sampler 10 tin: Roselle Melody, Mango Splash, Jasmine Bow, Lychee Snow, Peachy Rose, Jasmine Fusion, Dancing Lovers, Heart of Gold, Jasmine Fairies & Orange Osmanthus
We have a number of Discovery Tea Sets that include a glass teapot & a sampler tin of flowering tea. Each set has a choice of two sizes, and comes in a signature handmade box --a unique gift for tea lovers and adventurous minds.
One of our favourites. White petals gently unwrap themselves and float majestically in the water, forming a wreath above orange lily and a nest of silver needles.
A stunning bouquet of colour, with pinks and whites. A beautiful pink peony and white lily petals crowd around a single rose bud. Scented with just a hint of vanilla to complement the Maofeng green tea leaves.
White lily flowers dress this delicate flowering tea in a tall stem, combining with the green tea base, scented with fragrant jasmine and jazzed up with a dash of exotic mango.
Why choose our flowering teas?
- We were one of the first companies to import flowering teas to the UK, and we have retained our carefully selected sources to ensure we have the best products on the market.
- They really do taste as good as they look. Many people are surprised to find that our flowering teas are not just a novelty show: they are premium teas with delicate, scented flavours.
- Our flowering teas are all individually vacuum sealed so they reach you in the freshest possible state and will be perfect every time.
Unique flowers for wedding favours, gifts & events
The Chinese artisans who make blooming teas believe they symbolise love, happiness & prosperity. The love they put into their work shines through in every stage and particularly in the dramatic end-result, making blooming teas a heartfelt gift for any occasion.
Our flowering teas are unique wedding favours, a surprise bouquet for each guest that they can take home as a keep-sake. Each bloom comes in a satin pouch with drawstrings.
We can also provide volumes & teaware to cater for large events.
Flowering tea is the show-stopper finale to your dinner party, a visual dance of leaves followed by a fragrant burst of luxurious tea.