History and origins of blooming tea

 

The point of origin in history of blooming tea is a little cloudy. One camp claims blooming tea is a modern creation that's only about ten to fifteen years old, coincidentally just the point in time at which it was launched to markets outside of China. The other camp explains that one particular shape or style of blooming tea is at least several hundred years old and can be proved by references to blooming tea in ancient Chinese literature but admits that other shapes and styles of blooming tea are of more recent creation.
Regardless, it is definitely a modern idea to market blossoming teas in gift boxes accompanied by the requisite see through glass tea pot.

Blooming tea or Flowering tea as it is sometimes called are still somewhat of a novelty in United States and Canada and have only recently in the past few years gained popularity. However the art of sewing tea leaves into rosettes and than drying them I personally believe is actually a very old tradition in China ,some maintain it dates back a few hundred years, as there are many legends that appear to surround certain shapes and flower blends used within the blooming teas but we can not be entirely certain that at least some of these folk law tales were not of a more recent origins perhaps invented purely as an marketing aid in the promotion of blooming teas to the North American tea lover. There's still a lot of money to be made in sales of tea, particularly if what is served is good quality and different enough to capture the customer's imagination obviously this describes blooming tea to a T (pun not intended) however you are free to believe or not in these tea legends what ever makes you happiest, flowering teas are handpicked -mostly premium white, green and black tea leaves which are hand sewn by talented Chinese artisans into rosettes or tiny now ever increasingly familiar bundles.

Hand-sewn blooming teas or flowering tea are created in remote tea gardens in south western Yunnan province of China near the borders of Laos and Vietnam. Black , green and white teas are picked in the early mornings, while still damp with dew, the process starts with the sorting of tea, leaf by leaf, into bundles of equal length and weight the tea leaves are flattened by rolling and sewn with cotton or sometimes silk threads into the various shapes and bundles :- balls, mushrooms, cones, hearts, peach and lantern shapes the tea leaves may also be scented with jasmine and other mild flavored blossoms before the sewing begins in order to produce a more floral flavor. Some shapes take only about a minute to sew while other more complicated designs may take up to 10 or even 15 minutes to create. When finally complete the Flowering tea balls go through the usual drying process dried at 212 degree for two hours, followed by, oxidation and firing processes the firing process is the final stage through which the blooming tea must pass before packaging.

The art of creating "display teas" has indeed been around for possibly centuries. The very first time that a display tea was made mention of in Chinese literature dates back to the Song Dynasty.960 - 1279 "Tea leaves were tied up with flowers for the Emperor's entertainment”. however the emperor never drank the tea, way back then and up until very recently probably coinciding with the export of flowering or blooming teas into the western world , display tea as this form of tea is also often known was merely a visual enjoyment ,not intended for consumption, as the tea was both very bitter and of poor quality ,premium teas were not utilized in the production of blooming teas until I guess some ingenious Chinese businessman hit on the idea of exporting the product to tea lovers on other continents, blooming tea has only been made for consumption purposes during the last couple of decades.

There are many grades of flowering teas available, from mass machine produced blooming tea, to the high quality hand crafted flowering teas that most big name online tea houses carry all varying in price and quantities offered . Blooming tea, just like all teas, also vary in the quality of the tea in it’s self. Some blooming tea shipped from China is still meant only for entertainment, the cup is tasteless or extremely bitter. Where as others are created with the intention of being both consumable and beautiful to look at, unfortunately some inexperienced western tea buyers sometimes confuse the two products or are deliberately duped into purchasing the less palatable cousin of blooming tea. You are far better placed to rely on the knowledge of the big brand online tea houses such as Numi or Teaposy than buying from obscure high street suppliers and department stores whose buyers do not have the same extent of knowledge as the buyers of blooming tea for the big name tea merchants.

 

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