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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Flowering Tea

My mother grew up in what I consider the heartland of tea. It isn't England who, while they may consume the most quantity of teas, is not who I think of for anything really high end or especially refined. It isn't a more remote place like Myanmar or Nepal, who may have some vast or ancient tea fields.

My mother grew up in Japan.

The tea i'm talking about is not actually even from Japan, it is in fact Chinese. But, I was introduced to it in a little tea ceremony my mom put together one time when I was small and asked her about living in Japan. She put on a Yukata, and we sat on pillows on the floor and she brought this out. I have had a hard time finding it until recently, and decided to spread the beauty and joy that amazed me as a kid.

Flowering tea is tea leaves and flowers that have been hand sewn together, folded and dried so that when placed in hot water, as the leaves absorb water and naturally expand, they produce a blooming flower effect that also steeps the tea. The effect is AMAZING!

I found this kit at world market for $20, and a refill set for 5 (because why not), and immediately had to have it!

It came with 5 tea buds, which can each be used to steep a pot of tea several times! (The box says 5-15, I have no idea which number is closer. Tea is fickle, it depends)

 You can't really see where it's been sewn, but you can definitely tell it has been sewn.  I went with Dragon Lily, a white tea with an orange lily center.
 The glass pot is small, about two small cups of tea, but perfect for flower tea. Flowering tea is not the kind you make in bulk and mix in cream and sugar with. This is the kind of tea that you enjoy for it's own sake. I didn't have a banana for scale, but here is my tiny hand.
Below is a time-lapse of the tea blooming. You can see me settling it with my chopsticks at one point, as they tend to float a bit. 

 And here is the finished tea! The cup was not included but I happened to have the perfect one laying around.
Let steep and enjoy, and as always,

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