By Joel Henderson
The allure of blooming tea or flowering tea is in the preparation process. Watching the tea bundle unfurl is arguably just as stimulating to the eyes as is the taste and smell to the other senses. How to make or brew a pot of blooming tea or flowering tea is not a difficult process, but getting it right is essential if you want the full experience and flavor of this liquid delicacy.
What Is Steeping?
Steeping tea leaves is the process of soaking them in water in order to impart the flavor and nutrients of the tea leaves into the surrounding liquid. In most instances the water is brought to a boil before adding tea leaves, but in some instances the water may be kept at a temperature relative to the environment as in the brewing of sun teas. In the case of blooming tea or flowering tea, the water is brought to a boil before serving, but steeping the tea bundle may require boiling water or very hot water depending on the type of tea leaves comprising the bundle.
Select The Proper Vessel – Teapot or Teacup?
The process of brewing a pot of blooming flowering tea is intended to enjoy the visual appeal of the leaves unfurling as they infuse the liquid with delicate flavors. Since watching the tea bundle unfurl is part of the pleasure of this liquid delicacy, the best teapots for making flowering tea are of the transparent variety, usually constructed of tempered glass but sometimes made of plastic and glass combinations. You can also make the tea right in a teacup with individual bundles for each person at your gathering, but it is best to use transparent teacups in this case as well.
Prepare The Teapot
Before you brew a pot of blooming tea or flowering tea, start by pouring plain boiling water into the teapot you intend to use, swish the water gently around inside the pot, and then discard the water, emptying the teapot. The purpose here is to warm the teapot so the poured-in water doesn’t immediately drop in temperature. This also removes any possible oxidized residue within the teapot, preserving the full flavor of the tea leaves. This is the first step in many ancient Chinese tea ceremonies and many tea-loving cultures throughout the world still do this.
Select A Desired Tea Bundle & Place It Into The Teapot
If you’re serving individual bundles in teacups, it’s good to prepare the teacups as described earlier for teapots. It doesn’t really matter where in the pot or cup you place the bundle, but be sure it’s facing upward so the bundle unfurls properly. There’s nothing worse than having a waiting group of people new to blooming flowering tea only to have the bundle unfurl upside down or sideways.
Place The Teapot Onto A Heat-pad Or Raised Warmer
Be sure you protect your table or tablecloth from a very hot teapot. Even when using a tempered glass teapot, the emanating heat could damage hardwoods or melt nylon-based tablecloths. Many glass teapots intended to brew flowering tea come with a raised warming platform, so be sure light the interior warming candle and position your pot before adding any hot water.
Gently Pour Hot Water At The Proper Temperature Into The Teapot
For standard tea bags, one would usually bring the water to a boiling temperature, but when you make blooming tea or flowering tea, you are working with either white, green, or black tea leaves. Black tea requires boiling hot water for brewing, but white and green teas require the water to be hot but well below boiling temperature. For white or green tea, bring the water just to a boil and then immediately remove it from the heat source, allowing the tea to cool for roughly 60 seconds. If you’re brewing a pot of blooming flowering tea that is composed of a combination of white, green, and black tea leaves, it’s best to go with what is necessary for the white and green teas so you wont destroy their flavors.
Allow Tea To Unfurl & Steep
The allure of blooming tea or flowering tea is in its steeping process because this is when the bloom unfurls. It will usually take between 3 and 5 minutes once you have poured in the hot water, so this gives you and your guests a fair amount of time to visually enjoy the process and discuss with each other. When the bundle completely unfurls, the pot is ready for serving. Blooming flowering tea bundles are usually good for two or three consecutive uses, so the fun isn’t over once you’ve served the whole pot. Be sure to gently remove the unfurled tea bloom prior pouring fresh hot water and repeat the teapot warming/cleaning step so you wont interfere with tea’s flavor by lowering the water’s temperature or leaving unused tea.
Blooming tea or flowering tea is great as a centerpiece for parties, and always stimulates conversation between your guests. Be sure to follow these guidelines whenever you brew or make a pot of blooming tea or flowering tea so you and your guests get the full benefits of this stimulating experience.
Blooming tea is a wonderful after dinner treat, especially when you are entertaining guests.