Every now and then we all need a bit more beauty and pampering in life. For tea drinkers a good cup of tea is often a source of joy and relaxation. But, what if you can make your tea even prettier and more relaxing? The answer lies in scenting tea with flowers.
Real tea originates in China. A long time ago before tea leaves were introduced to Europe, most of the blends were far from what we now consider flavoured tea. They were simpler and usually blended only with flowers.
Scenting and flavouring are two different terms. Scenting means adding pure dry (or fresh) flowers to tea leaves, while flavouring means adding different natural or artificial flavours. In general, scenting is simple, although with some tea types it takes a lot of work to get the best result. On the other hand, blending means mixing tea leaves with other ingredients, or even mixing together tea leaves of the same type, but different qualities.
The most popular scented tea of all times is Jasmine tea. It first appeared in China almost a thousand years ago. These days countries like Vietnam and India are making their own exceptional Jasmine teas as well. Scenting tea with jasmine flowers usually takes a lot of time and effort – tea leaves are mixed with blossoms until they soak up the essence, then replaced with fresh to repeat the process. The most exceptional type of Jasmine tea is Dragon Pearls – green tea leaves scented with blossoms and tightly rolled into small balls.
Other popular flowers for scenting teas are rose, chrysanthemum, osmanthus, daisy, lavender, chamomile, pomelo flower and lotus. Their usage greatly depends on the country – China still favours the most traditional flowers – rose, jasmine, chrysanthemum and osmanthus, India is experimenting with rose, lavender and chamomile, Vietnam offers amazing daisy and lotus flower scented teas, while Taiwan is still traditional and uses mostly jasmine and rose.
The exception is Japan. Japanese teas are rarely scented using flowers – except with the national blossom – sakura or cherry blossom. Other non-pure Japanese teas are either blended or flavoured with different fruits, herbs or rice. Yuzu, lemongrass, mulberry leaf and roasted brown rice are the most common blending and flavouring ingredients.
The best teas for scenting are bolder and stronger Chinese and Indian green teas, white teas like White Peony and Silver Needle, Indian and Sri Lankan black teas and Taiwanese and Vietnamese oolongs. Japanese green teas have a very different flavour profile and are rarely appropriate for a simple home scenting.
If you would like to try DIY scenting tea with flowers at home, you might want to try rose petals first. Although rose petals might have a strong opulent scent, they actually do fit every tea perfectly. Rose petals add an amazing delicate note to almost any type of tea. Keep in mind that you should start with less flower and more leaves, and adjust the ratio if you find the flavour of flowers to weak. The final outcome should be a well-balanced blend of both ingredients. Here is the simple pairing list for easier scenting.
Remember to have fun with scenting, and that there are no strict rules – keep it simple and pleasurable.Tags: black tea, green tea, oolong tea, rose petals, scented tea, white tea