Posted in Kafevend Blog
Tea in bloom
Despite the wet and windy hiccup over the weekend, the weather has been kinder to us of late and for some it's been far too hot! If you're the kind of person who likes to go out to the garden, cup of tea in hand, and enjoy the sight and smell of summer flowers blooming, then our theme for today should appeal to your quest for serenity. Let's take a look then, at flowering teas.
Flowering teas, also known as blooming teas, are the tea world's answer to coffee's latte art
. A feast for the eyes as much as for the taste buds, flowering teas are a hand crafted delicacy, most often produced in the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Fujian. Top quality green or white teas are generally used along with edible flowers such as jasmine, chrysanthemum and osmanthus. The tea leaves are bound to the central dried flower, although sometimes several smaller blooms are arranged and sewn together to form an intricate bouquet, which is then dried and packaged.
The tightly wrapped, chestnut sized bundles come into their own when steeped in hot water as they gradually open up and come alive again
. Obviously a standard ceramic teapot isn't really going to be any use at all for this delicate display of visual art; a glass teapot or jug is a must so that the unfurling can be witnessed in all its glory. If we've piqued your interest enough to want to try the experience for yourself then speciality tea companies such as Bournemouth based 'The Exotic Teapot
' have a comprehensive range of glass teapots and flowering teas to choose from. The flavour of the tea itself tends to be subtle and aromatic, a very different profile to a mug of Tetley or Typhoo, that's for sure.
History of the art form
It would seem perhaps that such an aesthetically pleasing, not to mention time consuming, way of enjoying tea should spring straight out of the modern era, a way of parting the wealthy and fashion conscious from their disposable income. That could indeed be the case, with some social historians unable to find evidence of the practice prior to the 1980s. Nevertheless, others cite literary evidence from as long ago as the Song Dynasty, stretching from 960-1279, that seems to suggest that flowering teas were prepared as centrepieces for the tables of emperors and their coterie. These would likely have been for ornamental purposes only. It's not hard to imagine exquisite tea flower displays being produced for royalty, but it's also quite clear that it wasn't until higher grade tea buds and leaves were incorporated in more recent times that flowering tea gained in popularity. Nowadays, committed as we are to the concept of the 2 for 1 offer, we want to witness the beauty and drink it too!
References:Flowering teasFlowering tea history