Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tea 101 How to brew blooming tea (flower tea, tea flower, flowering tea, blossoming tea)

I remember every time I answered questions incorrectly, my professor always said, it's no brainer! (what@#!#%@#) When I first started selling blooming tea (flower tea, flowering tea, blossom tea, blossoming tea), some customers told me that, believe or not, they ate the whole tea blooms. Yeah, it's edible, but probably it's more enjoyable to have a little process before send it to the stomach.

Click here to download Free Blooming tea instructions

It's like to put the whole bottle of red wine directly into the throat and "drink", without letting the wine go through the taste buds....Well, if nobody teaches me what to do with the coffee beans, I probably would either chew it directly or cook it with veggie. No brainer!

Anyway, brewing blooming tea is easy, but I have to make it very complicated, otherwise you will not continue to read the rest. Just kidding!! You know what, tea brewing is an occupation in tea origin countries. It's like a barista in the coffee industry. So don't feel bad when you can not remember the perfect temperature, best utensils or step 1, 2, 3, 4.

What is Blooming tea (flower tea, flowering tea, blossoming tea)
Tea 101-Slurping
Tea 101-Tea blend
Tea 101-How to care for teapots
Tea 101-The mystery of Iced Tea
5 cool ways to use your teapots-party favors  

There are few general "rules" to follow when brewing blooming tea:

Water- It's addressed in the earliest tea bible-The Classics of Tea793-804 by Lu Yu (multiple grand tea master),  best tea must be brewed with the best water. Rule of thumb, when in doubt, always follow the grand grand grand tea master's guide!!

Probably I have very sensitive taste buds or maybe nose, I never use direct tap water to brew tea, only in extremly rare situation. It reminds me the most expensive pee case in 2011 (the most costly pee in history). I always can taste and smell the chlorine in water. I have been to few states, and tasted the tap water. New York city's tap water is not too bad actually. Sometimes the tap water may have more iron due to the distribution system and it could cause muddy kind of display in tea.

For the best taste and display, spring, or filtered water is highly recommended. In old times, people believe "live" water is better because it's always fresh, such as spring water.

Water Temperature-This is always the tricky question. What's the best temperature to steep blooming tea? Normally it should be between 197 to 212, or close to the boiling point. 

Unlike any other tea, blooming tea has such a unique characteristic that it does bloom (open) like a flower.  And we do not want to wait 2 hours to see the process, like the real flower blossoming. We want it now! To view the whole blossoming process without taking a nap, boiling water (or close to boiling) will do!

Teaware-Of course the reason we love blooming tea is to enjoy the whole process with our eyes wide open. Therefore, glass teawares should be the best and only option. Well, argubly, you can use a mug to brew it and watch it from the top. Make sure not to let your nose stay too close to the hot water (You should brew tea, not your nose;)).

The size of tea ware is important too. Since blooming tea has fixed weights, certain volume of water should be used. Normally each tea bloom should be equivalent to 2-3 serving of loose tea leaves, depends on what kind of tea leaf is used, plucked from which month, geographic location etc. There are larger size blooming tea, but not available in the US market. We were the only company that used to sell larger bloomng tea ( we used to have a collection called The Luxe which includes two kind of blooming tea: Forget me Not and Milan, very beautiful though).

Click here to download Free Blooming tea instructions 

And you normally do not need strainer when brewing blooming tea because all tea leaves are bundled together. If you are a purest, you still can brew blooming tea in a teapot. When you pour, place a filter on a cup.

The idea teapot size should be between 10 oz to 20 oz, roughly 4-5 inches tall. This size teapot allows you to view the whole process. If you use smaller teapot, just brew it in less time for each brew. If larger teapot, let it sit for longer time to achieve the desirable taste and aroma.

Time-depends on how strong you prefer, normally it takes 3-4 minutes to get ready, assume you follow the instructions above.

Brew Options:
Option #1
1. Heat the water until boiling
2. Pour the water into the glass teapot or glass teaware you use, roughly 8-16 oz, depends on the tea leaf used. If
3. Tear off the blooming tea packaging, if any, and drop it into the water.
4. Steep for about 3-4 minutes or wait until fully bloom.
Option #2
1. Heat the water until boiling
2. Tear off the blooming tea packaging, if any. Lean your glassware to a certain angle so that blooming tea can slide in. If you drop the blooming tea directly to the glassware, you could potentially break the tea leaves.
3. Pour the water directly on blooming tea.
4. Steep for about 3-4 minutes or wait until fully bloom.

Here's the tip when your tea tastes too strong. If too light, just wait few more minutes.

Water Refill-This is the good part of drinking whole leaf tea: you can always refill water to make multiple cups. Tea bags normally can only be brewed once. When you finish your first brew, keep 20-30% of the water in your teapot. When you add more fresh boiling water, it takes less time to brew it and wait no time to drink it. As for how long the tea should be ready when refill, normally the first 1 or 2 refill, it takes similar time as you brew the first time. When the tea tastes lighter and lighter, it takes longer time, such as double, to get the tea juice out.

Oh lord, is it just to brew one cup of tea, you may ask? urhhhhhh, you can just drop the tea in a teapot and pour in hot water, if you do not have time. But there's a much better way in life to do eveyrthing. When you have a little bit time, such as 6 minutes (that's right!!), go through the whole process and see how your tea tastes with a little bit more efforts and....LOVE!

It must taste very different, I think. Agree?

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