I was asked the same questions again and again. Finally I decided to write a blog about it to share with you.
The first question is always the same: What's blooming tea? Excellent question!!
Everybody believes tea is "old", because it has thousand years of history. Yeap! Tea, used as medicine, food and beverage throughout thousand years is well cultured and an "old invention". But surprisingly, blooming tea is actually a modern creation in China.
Blooming tea (flower tea, flowering tea, blossoming tea, bloom tea, flower blossoming tea, tea blooms, blooming flower teas, tea flowers in English translation, or 工艺茶，开花茶，女儿茶 in Chinese), refers to tea that is purely hand crafted with whole leaves and freshly dried flowers and it "blossom"s like a real flower once dropped in hot water, exactly like the blossoming process, from flower bud to a fully opened flower. It creates a whole completely different experience to tea drinking-entertaining, delightful, romantic and enchanting.
In China, tea leaves are made in multiple forms for many reasons. One of the reasons is to make it easy to transport, such as tea cakes, tea bricks, etc. Some other forms include spiral shapes, tea pearls etc. Flowering tea is developed based upon these various shapes of tea.
There are two people who are well-known tea masters and played major roles in blooming tea invention. The first person is from An Hui. He grew up in a tea farm and both his father and grandfather were advanced tea farmers. When he was young, he saw his mom making sun dried vegetables. In Chinese tradition, moms use a special local leaf to buddle the sun-dried vegetables together then store it for winter. Inspired by what his mom did, he applied the same techniques in dried tea leaves-buddle tea leaves together to create a artful shape. That's the original Green Peony (or Lu Mu Dan, 绿牡丹 in Chinese)!! After years of testing and research, he finally created a special tea category-blooming tea, a tea that is purely hand crafted, leaf by leaf, from plucking to final sewing, and unfolds in hot water, even though there's no flower attached. He immediately shared the techniques with all local tea farmers. That was in mid 80s.
There's another family who planted and sold tea for decades in Southern China, but their business was dying. In 90s, the most popular teas in China were green teas, but this family business were specialized in white and Oolong teas. The family barely made living for years. Until one day, the brother who was a sales rep for the father, came back with a question-he noticed the issues at tea house-In Chinese tradition, men always drink loose leaf teas only (because they believe they are strong), while women love flowers, such as rose buds, Jasmine. When few friends, male and female, go to a tea house, they have to order two separate pots of tea-whole leaf tea for men and herbal tea for women. The solution was to combine the two together-true Blooming tea was born!! The sister started working on the idea. She was inspired by the the natural flower blossoming and eventually created a truly beautiful blooming tea, with real flowers in the center of tea leaves!!!
Today blooming tea is enjoyed by people from all over the world! People not only love its entertaining and intimate blooming process, but also its special craftsmanship, creative tastes and natural aroma, from both tea leaves and flowers.
Have you ever tried flowering tea? please share your story with us in comments;)