Flowering tea, when tea leaves become art

Many of you probably haven’t heard of flowering tea, let alone seen one unfold so I’ve decided to share with you this piece of theatre. I say that because watching a flowering tea take shape is an impressive experience, testament to the wondrous talent of those who have build the little nugget of tea. It’s nothing short of a work of art and it’s believed that it may have been created for the Imperial Court in China.

Many years ago, my husband (then boyfriend) gifted me a box of flowering teas and I am still fascinated by them. So before I tell you more about them, I think you should watch a video I took of one of them called Dancing Lovers from the Exotic Teapot. My teapot got a bit steamed up but you’ll get the idea!

How are they made?

Flowering tea buds are traditionally made in Yunnan, a province of China, using long leaves of green or white tea, usually picked in the spring harvest to create a really delicate brew. Silver Needles is commonly used. Skilled artisan tea makers then thread or fix the leaves together at the bottom, placing a flower in the middle. As you can expect the chosen flower is dried, not fresh, and it’s carefully selected to be a perfect blossom. Roses, lotus flowers and jasmine flowers are the most common, but amaranth and chrysanthemums can be used too.

After fully positioning the flower and leaving air gaps in selected places, the tea leaves encase the blossom at the top and they are tied again to seal the flowering tea. The finished product looks a bit like a walnut still in its shell. This is then fired (as all green and white teas) to remove the moisture.

flowring tea bud

How to brew flowering tea

The first thing you need is a transparent container. A glass teapot would be ideal, but if you don’t have one, try a large pint glass or a jug. You don’t want to miss the show!

Boil the water to 80 degrees (or until the bubbles start to form in the kettle ). Boiling water would ruin the delicate tea leaves. As the heat releases the air gaps, this will push the bud to open up and within 3 minutes you will have a truly impressive centrepiece. Fit for a party or an afternoon tea.

As with any green or white tea, you can rebrew the leaves another two times, but the tea is very delicate to begin with so it might not be the strength that you expect.

Even so, I’d recommend witnessing this majestic tea creation at least once as you can’t help but be amazed at the skill that is involved in creating them.

I’ll leave you with some more videos to capture your imagination.

Until next time,


More videos


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