Flowering Tea FAQ

What are flowering teas?

Chinese flowering teas are artisan made, artistic compositions of green tea and flowers that open into beautiful floral bouquets when brewed. They are also known by a variety of other names like display tea, blooming tea, blossoming teas, hand tied teas, art teas and performance teas. The dancing "performance" of the tea is best viewed in a glass teapot.

Are all flowering teas the same?

No. Like other teas, the quality can vary enormously. Over the past 6 years, we've had the opportunity to try many different flowering teas from all over China. The cheap, nasty ones often intended for the Chinese mass market tend to use low quality tea, are shoddily made and will fall apart easily in the teapot. The taste can often be insipid, flavourless and become bitter very quickly. Like many uncontrolled mass market teas from China, there is a risk of pesticides and the teas not meeting the strict standards of the EU. That's why we're extremely careful in choosing our teas and our partners. We only work with small, family businesses who still use traditional methods and can guarantee us the highest quality of tea and flower ingredients.

That's also why our flowering teas may appear more expensive. Each tea design is created by hand by experienced and highly skilled tea masters. Each spring tea crop harvest is carefully evaluated for its taste and aesthetic qualities before being tested for any pesticide and heavy metal residues by a reputable, independant laboratory. Our goal is to ensure that what ends up in your teapot is the very best tasting, best looking flowering tea you'll find anywhere in the world.

 

Are all your flowering teas actually green teas?

Our 2016 range of flowering teas are made from premium quality Maofeng green tea. In terms of actual quality and infusion clarity, this makes them closer to white tea. We do offer some pure white or black tea based flowering tea from time to time depending on the quality of spring crop.

How long have flowering teas existed?

The concept of of flowering tea is an ancient chinese art that has existed for over a thousand years. Teas back then were often used to visually entertain the emperor himself but were not drinkable. Hand tied flowering teas you can drink are a more recent creation, dating back about 20 years. The Chinese prize them for their quality and enjoy them especially when friends and family gather for a special occasion. It's only in the last couple of years that western countries have started to discover them. Their relative scarcity, particularly the high quality ones, has made them quite difficult to obtain in many countries so many people have yet to experience the magic of seeing their first blooming tea.

How are flowering teas made?

In the spring, the first step is to pick the Maofeng green tea (a core and 3 leaves). After picking, the fresh leaves are spread out on bamboo trays and exposed to sunlight or warm air for one to two hours. Then the leaves are gently heated to prevent oxidation and preserve freshness. 

The green tea is then hand selected by the teamaster who will ultimately create the flowering tea. He or she will then take several cotton like threads and entwine one or several flowers around the green tea core.

This is done in such a way so the flowers will slowly bloom once steeped in hot water. The sculpted tea is then encased inside a cotton yarn and fired twice to ensure sterilization.

The flowering teas are then hand scented several times with jasmine or other flavours (e.g., peach) and pan fired or baked a further 5 times.

The finished tea blossom is then released from the cotton yarn and individually sealed and packaged.

How do they taste?

Overall, the different teas have quite a light, delicate taste which is accented with the subtle aromas of the different flowers. Don't expect an over-powering flowery flavour. It's actually the opposite as the flowers are designed to add just a hint of flavour to the smooth tasting Maofeng green tea. Of course the longer you let the bloom steep in hot water, the stronger the brew. Three minutes is normally perfect and the teas can be re-steeped without becoming bitter. We now also offer a number of flowering teas scented with jasmine or fruit flavours like Mango, Strawberry and Vanilla.

What kind of water should I use?

We recommend using natural spring water for all our flowering teas. Tap water and mineral waters are not ideal as they can impair the delicate taste. If you don't have spring water, filtered water is the next best thing and cheaper to boot.

Do I need a strainer or infuser?

No. Since our flowering teas do not require a strainer or tea bag, they are environmentally kind as well as tasty. Simply pop the flowering tea blossom into the teapot and add the hot water.

How to prepare flowering tea for serving?

It's mainly just a matter of adding the flowering tea blossom to the right temperature water. One tip is to let the boiled water cool down for about 1 minute before adding the tea blossom. Full brewing instructions are always included with any purchase of our flowering tea products. One flowering tea blossom is about the perfect size for a 400ml teapot. If you have a much larger teapot, we recommend you either only fill it with water halfway and resteep the tea several times or add a second tea blossom. We suggest you try to use spring water to ensure you maximise the taste of the tea.

How long can I keep the tea out on display?

After drinking the tea, you can keep on displaying the bloom itself for up to a week. Simply pop it into a glass container or wine glass with some cold water (change water every two days or so). Add a floating candle for a great looking centerpiece.

Why are they expensive?

In reality, flowering tea is not as expensive as you might think. Each bloom can be steeped multiple times with hot water and serves a lot of cups of tea. There is also a world of difference between the low quality black teas you buy at the supermarket and our hand-tied flowering tea. It's like comparing a cheap table wine to a premier cru Bordeaux. Our flowering tea is made from some of the finest quality green teas in China.

Creating the hand tied tea blossoms is an intricate process that takes time, patience and considerable skill. In our opinion, the end result is well worth the extra effort and cost as our flowering tea creates a truly memorable and sensory experience that other teas cannot really match.

 

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