Blooming flowering tea – a joy to the senses

Blooming Flowering Tea – A Joy to the Senses

Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water itself as a form of liquid refreshment and repose.  Tea has become a cross cultural medium for invoking ceremony, ritual, and relaxation, and the process of preparing tea is often an exercise that is both calming and therapeutic in its own rite.  Blooming tea, or flowering tea as it is also known, is a form of tea that is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the other senses of taste, touch, and smell.

Blooming tea or flowering tea combines the beauty of flowers with various types of tea, and was first developed by artisans in China where it is still a significant export.  By looking at the lump that comprises a tea bundle as it is before adding it to boiling hot water, it would seem that this liquid delicacy is anything but a work of art, but a great deal of skill and expertise goes into making a flowering tea bundle.  A majority of the tea leaves and flowers used for making the delicacy come from high in the mountains of the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.  While they are still fresh from being picked, beautiful flowers and tea leaves are sewn together with cotton thread into bundles roughly the size and shape of a golf ball.  Artisans complete the delicate labor-intensive process entirely by hand, and a single bundle may take up to ten minutes to complete.  Once a bundle is sewn, it is heated in a kiln for drying and packaged for export.

The types of tea used in creating a flowering tea bundle are generally of the white, green, or black variety, but the flowers involved in the process are what give blooming tea its true appeal.  Flowers known for their aromatic properties like jasmine, chrysanthemum, lilies, hibiscus, peony, rose, and osmanthus among others are combined into intricate bundles along with loose leaf green, white, and black teas.  Most flowering tea bundles take anywhere from the 3 to 5 minutes to completely unfurl after being infused with boiling hot water.  The process itself is very therapeutic, both visually stimulating and aromatically tantalizing.  Unlike typical tea bags, the bundles can be refreshed as needed by re-infusing the unfurled flower bundle with fresh boiling water, so you and your guests can certainly have your fill of this flavorful liquid pleasure.

Flowering or blooming teas are best prepared in a transparent glass tea pot, or they can be served with individual blooms placed in wide transparent tea cups.  After all, what would be the purpose of an unfurling tea bundle that could not be visually enjoyed?  In a transparent tea pot, you and your guests can watch as the tea bundle unfurls, and with individual tea cups each guest can have their own separate bloom.  In either situation, the unfurled blooms can all be re-infused with hot water to experience the flavor and aroma once more.  Tea sets are available for purchase and are specifically designed for enjoying flowering blooming tea.  Most come packaged with 6 to 10 bundles, so you can get a taste right away for this liquid feast for the senses.  Once you try flowering blooming tea, drinking other more common forms of tea will never seem the same again.

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