Over the past couple of years blooming teas have really blossomed (sorry - couldn't resist) in popularity. The visual impact of the slowly unfurled hand-tied leaves accounts for the immense draw these teas possess. Their beauty and exquisite nature make any tea moment a celebration.
Some simply open from a carefully formed, hand-tied ball into an anemone-like shape that reveals a tiny flower inside - elegant and beautiful. Others open into elaborate chains of flowers and shapes that resemble all sorts of creatures. These tend to have equally dramatic names.
When choosing blooming teas consider several factors:
Quality of the dried bloom- It is brittle? Are the leaves tight? An occasional leaf breaking off is normal but if the bloom doesn't hold together when dry it may not be as pretty in the cup.
Individually wrapped vs. packed in bulk - Bulk packaging may offer better pricing but the blooms are not well protected. Freshness and structural integrity of the bloom may be at risk.
In the cup - Once steeped and the bloom has opened, evaluate the display and then smell the cup aroma and sip. Usually, the more elaborate ones have less flavor and aroma. Decide if you prefer a very elaborate bloom with little flavor or a more modest version that can still be enjoyed. Many of the jasmine versions do carry through nicely into the cup and can be enjoyed!
In order to show off the lovelies you have decided upon, the best way to do this is clear glassware. Cups, teapots or even some glasses are very nice ways to let these gorgeous beauties strut their stuff. Make sure the size of the vessel can accommodate the fully opened tea bloom! Some of the elaborate ones can get rather tall! For these a tall glass or large glass teapot may be best. Be sure to do a dress rehearsal prior to the event!