All that glitters is not gold, and all that looks like a blooming tea is not satisfactory. Or so hubby and I found out recently. The experience also confirmed what we’d been suspecting for some time now: blooming teas are a gimmick. That doesn’t make them bad, but they are certainly not your daily (or in my case hourly) cuppa. Time to give you the details.
First, a blooming tea can be in several shapes. This one is mostly spherical. Note the indentation around the middle where a string was probably tied at one point. The tea leaves are carefully selected by hand and then sewn together with thin string. They are supposed to be made in such a way that they open (or “bloom”) like a flower, and they often have a dried flower in the middle that is revealed as the tea leaves swell and fold away from that center.
That’s how it’s supposed to go……
This blooming tea was a green tea with a purple mallow flower in the center. So we used water heated to about 175°F, placed the blooming tea dry ball into a glass cup, poured in the water, and waited… and waited… and waited…
Time to point out that the main reason for even bothering with a blooming tea is the show it’s supposed to put on. This tea was a major disappointment in that department. And the reason became evident as the bloom opened. The flower was being strangled inside the tea leaves by more string.
And we didn’t get to see this until the tea had steeped for …… are you sitting down? okay …… SIX AND A HALF MINUTES!!! Yes, it took that long for the bloom to open this far. Ideally, green teas steep for no longer than 3 minutes. Our tastebuds were braced for the worst as we removed the spent “bloom” and took a sip.
The good part of the story is that the tea wasn’t too bad. Not the best we’d ever had but not the worst. We just wish it had put on a better show. Sigh!
Oh, in case you’re wondering, these are purple mallow flowers:
Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text