Flowering Tea

Flowering tea, tea leaves rolled in a ball.

Flowering tea, or blooming tea, consists of a ball made of tea leaves wrapped around one or more dried flowers. For tea drinkers, flowering tea is a way of infusing beauty itself into tea.

Two common names differentiate tea: Chinese tea and Indian tea. Chinese tea refers to tea made from the Camellia sinensis var. sinensis plant; Indian tea refers to tea made from the Camellia sinensis var. assamica plant. The way Camellia sinensis var. sinensis gets processed results in many different types of tea, two of which are white and green teas. Both of these types of tea are most often used in flowering tea.  

Overview.

The first section provides a summary of the general flavour of blooming tea, preparation, and its health benefits. The second section covers my thoughts and recommendations for different flowering teas. The third part discusses how flowering tea is made and the potential health benefits of flowers commonly included. The fourth and final section summarizes the key points discussed in this article.

Flavour, Preparation, and Health Benefits of Flowering Tea.

Flavour Profile Of Flowering Tea. 

Flowering tea often has floral notes since flowers are used in its production. The most frequently used flowers are globe amaranth, chrysanthemum, jasmine, lily, rose, osmanthus and occasionally hibiscus. Depending on whether white or green tea is used in the production of a specific flowering tea, the flavour will be milder or more pronounced, respectively. Some tea experts find that, while often stunning, the taste of flowering teas may be less preferable than other teas.

How To Brew Flowering Tea.

First, place the tea ball into a glass teapot. Because the appeal of flowering tea is primarily the beauty of it unfolding, you should avoid opaque teapots. Since flowering tea is frequently made from green or white tea, use water that is between 140°F - 185°F and steep between three to five minutes. During this time, the bundle unfurls, imitating the blooming of a flower. Once fully expanded, the real flowers within the tea emerge as the centrepiece. When serving flowering tea, use glass cups to enhance the flavour.

Summary of Health Benefits of Flowering Tea.

The health benefits of flowering tea depend primarily on whether green or white tea was used in the ball, both of which contain potent antioxidants. Further health benefits depend on the specific flowers used in making the flowering tea.

Tea Recommendations and Personal Thoughts.

Mackenzie Bailey

Founder of The Tea Tribe

Flowering teas occupy a unique niche in the tea world. While there are some tasty flowering teas, this product is often less preferred by expert tea drinkers, as some find the taste to be less pleasing than other teas.

True Love Flower Tea and Two Dragons And A Pearl, both by Teavivre, are two flowering teas I enjoy.

On a per cup basis, flowering tea is more expensive than other options, which limits its appeal for regular consumption. However, flowering tea does offer a unique benefit: it is incredibly photogenic! Blooming tea can add a beautiful aesthetic to tea parties, or make a stunning shot for your Instagram feed.

A Comprehensive Discussion of Flowering Tea. 

Most flowering tea is made in and imported from the Yunnan and Fujian provinces of China, where skilled tea artisans craft each ball of blooming tea by hand, manually binding tea leaves around flowers into a sphere. Sweet edible flowers are sewn together into the center of the ball and then flattened white or green tea leaves are sewn over the ball, forming the blooming tea's outer layer. Once built, the ball of flowering tea is dried.

Production of Flowering Tea.

Most flowering tea is made in and imported from the Yunnan and Fujian provinces of China, where skilled tea artisans craft each ball of blooming tea by hand, manually binding tea leaves around flowers into a sphere. Sweet edible flowers are sewn together into the center of the ball and then flattened white or green tea leaves are sewn over the ball, forming the blooming tea's outer layer. Once built, the ball of flowering tea is dried.

"Our flowering tea is one of our best selling products! The beautiful appearance and taste of our blooming tea make our customers happy.

All our products get made with high-quality Maofeng Green Tea, Globe Amaranth, Marigold and Jasmine flowers. Then, each tea ball gets carefully handcrafted into shape. The process that goes into each tea ball is complex and requires a lot of time and patience.

TeaVivre sells twelve types of flower tea: each has a unique name with positive and symbolic meaning. "

Mary Bao,

Customer Service Manager, TeaVivre

Flowers Frequently Used And Their Health Benefits.

Flowers frequently used include globe amaranth, chrysanthemum, jasmine, lily, hibiscus, rose and osmanthus. 

Globe Amaranth.

In traditional Chinese medicine, globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) is used to treat many respiratory conditions (Silva, 2012). Studies have found globe amaranth to be a powerful antioxidant (Roriz, 2017) (Roriz, 2014), and pairs synergistically with other plants, like lemongrass (Roriz, 2015).

Chrysanthemum. 

Mums or chrysanths (Chrysanthemum) are primarily used to enhance the aroma of flowering tea. A recent study found that multiple types of chrysanthemum tea exhibited strong radical scavenging effects (Han, 2019), which are highly beneficial for health. One study found chrysanthemum had anti-inflammatory properties (Luyen, 2015), while another suggested that chrysanthemum may be helpful to those with type 2 diabetes (Bai, 2018). 

Jasmine.

Jasmine (Jasminum) has a heavenly aroma and a long history of being used in tea production. In India, jasmine has been traditionally used to treat body pains, toothache, stomach aches and ulcers (Arun, 2015).

Chemical analysis of the flower shows that jasmine contains secoiridoids, terpenoids, flavonoids and tannins. Some research suggests secoiridoids protect blood lipids from oxidative stress (Celano, 2018), while terpenoids may reduce inflammation and pain (Gallily, 2018). Flavonoids are antioxidants, and some research suggests jasmine leaf extracts can benefit those with anxiety and epilepsy (Addae, 2017). Research into the impact tannins have on human health is mixed: some find it harmful, others positive (Chung, 1998). 

Lily Flowers. 

While being famed for their scent, the lily flower (Lilium) may also have some health benefits. Lilies have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and sedative capacities (Wang, 2015), and research also suggests that when consumed, lilies may help treat immune-related diseases (Pan, 2018).

Hibiscus.

The health benefits of hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-Sinensis) is well documented. Hibiscus contains a significant amount of antioxidants; one study conducted on rats found hibiscus extract caused a 92% decrease in the harmful effects of free radicals (Tsai, 2002). Hibiscus is also known to lower systolic blood pressure (Mckay, 2009). 

Rose.

Rose is a fragrant flower and is often used in flowering tea. Rose has anti-HIV, antibacterial, antidiabetic and antioxidant properties. It also can prevent coughs, induce sleep and has relaxant effects (Boskabady, 2011). Rose may depress the central nervous system somewhat (Nyeem, 2006), leading to a feeling of relaxation. Research has also established that rose positively impacts mood, and decreases anxiety and depression (Rakhshandah, 2004) (Rakhshandah, 2006) (Boskabady, 2011).

Rose can also have beneficial effects on brain function. One study found rose promotes neuron growth in the brain and may help protect against Alzheimer's disease (Awale, 2011). Multiple studies have documented a positive impact of rose tea on seizures and epilepsy (Kheirabadi, 2011; Moghimi, 2008; Ashrafzadeh, 2007).

Osmanthus.

Osmanthus is a genus that includes 30 flowering plant species. Flowering tea uses many of these flowers, with sweet osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans) being particularly common. Traditional Chinese medicine credits tea made with osmanthus for improving complexion and helping the body get rid of excess nitric oxide, which is linked to cancer and diabetes (Wikipedia, 2019). Some research supports osmanthus's standing in traditional Chinese medicine as an anticancer agent, and one study found Osmanthus matsumuranus could be a chemopreventive agent (Jin, 2015).

Summary.

Flowering (or blooming) tea is often made with either white or green tea. When preparing flowering tea, the water should be between 140°F - 185°F and the tea should steep for three minutes or longer, based on taste preference.

True to its namesake, at least one flower gets used when making the tea. Flowers are placed, by hand, at the heart of a tea ball through a painstaking process. When a flowering tea ball is put into water, it unfurls in a process reminiscent of a blooming flower.

The health benefits of flowering tea depend on the type of tea used, as well as the kind of flower included in each specific ball.

Flowering tea may not always live up to what tea drinkers expect from the taste, but it has an aesthetic appeal that no other tea can match.

In the comments below, please share your favourite flowering tea.