A Guide to Flowering Tea
Our flowering tea bulbs consist of young, green tea buds hand-tied around a selection of celebrated Chinese flowers and shaped into small chestnut sized balls. The real magic occurs when you place them in boiling water and watch as the entire bulb unfurls. Revealing a beautiful arrangement of brightly coloured flowers, floating among a blossom of stunning tea buds, this is a delectable display of craftsmanship.
THE ORIGIN OF FLOWERING TEA
The process for creating this style of tea originates from two of the most reputable provinces for tea in China; Fujian and Yunnan.
We source our four hand-crafted, flowering teas from Fujian province as the large buds of the Fuding Da Bai cultivar are perfectly suited to hand tying. Renowned as the modern home of white tea and the birth place of both oolong and black tea, Fujian province continues to lead the way with its creative styles of tea processing.
HOW ARE THEY MADE?
Flowering teas are commonly made using the long, thick spring buds of the tea plant, which are processed as either white, green or black tea and then cold-stored for freshness until the summer. Our flowering teas are made using a green tea for its sappy and refreshing qualities, with added depth of flavour.
Once the summer arrives and the flowers begin to come into season, artisans can begin their work of hand-crafting the tea bulbs. Firstly, the spring tea is taken out of storage, collected in small handfuls and tied together into tidy bundles, forming the exterior of the arrangement. Then, each high quality flower is specifically chosen and carefully woven into the centre of the tied tea buds, with great skill and patience. Once everything has been securely tied together, the precious collection of buds and flowers are placed into a small cotton bag and moulded, by hand, into the tight bulb shape, ready for the final drying stage. This whole process is extremely laborious and can take an entire days’ work of many skilled artisans to masterfully tie and create a limited amount of each individual flowering bulb.
WHAT FLOWERS ARE USED?
Just as with the tea, great consideration also goes into the specific flowers that are used for these arrangements. Often you will see jasmine, lily, osmanthus and sometimes even roses used, each of which have a different significance and cultural meaning. For example, osmanthus flowers have been cultivated in China for over 2,500 years and are connected with China’s mid-Autumn festival, due to a fairy tale about a man named Wu Gang. Wu is ordered to cut down a mythical osmanthus tree on the moon every night, but the tree never falls down. He is only ever allowed to take a break during the autumn festival and this is when the tree sprouts its fragrant flowers.
Each of our flowering teas has a distinguished floral aroma for you to explore, complemented by the refreshing and sappy flavour of the single origin green tea. For a mesmerising and unforgettable infusion, we find that these teas are best appreciated in a large, glass tea infuser, such as our Two Cup Tea-iere or Two Cup Teapot. Simply place one bulb in your chosen teaware, add boiling water and watch it unfurl majestically. Once fully opened, you can decant the tea and enjoy the delicious infusion.