Steeping Blooming Teas

Blooming teas, or flowering teas, are bundled tea leaves around dried flowers. Typically when you pick up a blooming tea ball, you only see the tea leaves because the flowers are meant to be a surprise. During the steeping process, the ball opens up, unfurls, and the dried flower ‘blooms’ as it is hydrated in the steeping process. Commonly found flowers in blooming teas include globe amaranth, chrysanthemum, and jasmine flowers.

Blooming teas are typically made with white or green teas, as these teas are light in colour and allow you to visualize the floral blooms better. You will want to steep a blooming tea in either a clear glass teapot or cup in order to take in the whole ‘show’, as I like to call it.

Some people find that it’s difficult to steep blooming teas properly, or they wind up oversteeping blooming teas because the teas can be delicate and sensitive to oversteeping. I thought I’d share some of my methods of steeping a blooming tea to make a good cup of tea! Blooming teas can be expensive per pot, so it’s important to steep it properly to make it worth it!

I use a clear glass teapot, I find this best to see the blooms and to watch the ball of tea itself as it steeps. It just makes for a more beautiful tea experience.

The kettle I use has preset temperature settings (the Breville IQ Kettle, I’ve had it for 2+ years and it’s still going strong with daily use!) and I use the lowest temperature setting which is meant for green teas, 175°F (80°C). After the kettle has finished reaching the temperature, I let the water sit for about 5 minutes prior to pouring the water into my teapot. If you have a standard kettle that only boils (100°C/212°F) water, you’ll want to let the water sit for longer to cool down – open the lid or taking off the lid will help the water cool down faster.

Lowering the temperature of the water reduces the likelihood of scalding or burning the tea leaves and causing a bitter flavour. Some companies will provide steeping recommendations, but I find sometimes that their recommended water temperature is too high given the fact that there’s a longer steeping period for the blooming tea to fully open.

Each blooming tea will steep for a different amount of time, I consider it to be ready when the ball has opened up and the flowers have ‘bloomed’ as well – some blooming teas will have the flowers floating up to the surface. Often the process of blooming can take up to 5 minutes or more. I find that blooming teas with a white tea base are far more forgiving and less likely to result in a bitter cup of tea than one with green tea base. Blooming teas can also be resteeped! Because the flavours come from the tea leaves and blossoms, there’s generally no added flavouring and the tea leaves can be resteeped usually once or twice. The flavouring may be a bit weaker than the initial steep, but you can get more bang for your buck by resteeping the tea leaves.

Trader Joe’s Organic Pomegranate White Tea

Organic Pomegranate White Tea by Trader Joe’s
White Tea / Flavoured
$2.49USD for 30g (1oz), 20 sachets

First Impressions

Organic Pomegranate White Tea was one of my purchases from my cross-border tea haul trip back in September (I’m almost done reviewing those teas, I swear). Organic Pomegranate White Tea is one of my Trader Joe’s finds, and came in a cardstock box. Each tea bag comes individually wrapped in clear plastic and there’s two staples with each sachet – one on the bag itself and the other on the tag. Not impressed.

That said, the tea itself smells lovely. I can smell hibiscus, lemongrass, and pomegranate – all very nice fragrances. The ingredients in Organic Pomegranate White Tea are: white tea, hibiscus flowers, lemongrass, natural flavours, pomegranate extract, natural orange flavour, natural lemon flavour, and other natural flavours (all organic). Fun fact, Organic Pomegranate White Tea is sold in Trader Joe’s (American company) but is a product of Canada (where I live).

Preparation

Trader Joe’s recommends steeping Organic Pomegranate White Tea in boiling water (100°C/212°F) for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of Organic Pomegranate White Tea was for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Organic Pomegranate White Tea steeps to a beautiful dark pink, many thanks to the hibiscus in the blend. The first thing I notice about this white tea blend is the tartness. I think we can thank the hibiscus for that. Other flavours that I can make out is sweetness, floral notes, and a fruity flavour that does remind me of pomegranate (perhaps suggested since it’s in the name?). I find myself searching for the white tea base, I can’t taste white tea because the other flavours are quite overwhelming and powerful in comparison.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Organic Pomegranate White Tea and found that the flavour was very poor compared to the initial steep. I would recommend steeping Organic Pomegranate White Tea just the one time.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Trader Joe’s Organic Pomegranate White Tea was just okay. The thing that really bothers me the most about Organic Pomegranate White Tea is the sheer amount of packaging. The cardstock box is okay, because that will go in recycling, but the individual clear plastic packaging around each tea bag is unnecessary – along with those staples! Staples aren’t biodegradable, so if you’re looking to pop the tea into your green waste bin when you’re done, there’s an extra step to remove the staples in order to be environmentally friendly. That said, the flavour of the tea is really nice and I think its great – it’d be fantastic as an iced tea because of the fruity tartness, but Organic Pomegranate White Tea does fail from an environmental standpoint.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tea Side’s 2016 Moonlight White Tea

2016 Moonlight White Tea by Tea Side
White Tea / Straight
$9.00USD for 50g

Tea Side has provided me with 2016 Moonlight White Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I received 2016 Moonlight White Tea from Tea Side in a silvery foil package (not resealable, which is unfortunate!). The leaves are big, they look like they were just laid out to dry and then were scooped up into the package. There’s some visible downy feathers on some of the leaves, which vary in shades of brown.

2016 Moonlight White Tea has a very subtle floral aroma to it, and it’s fairly obvious that there aren’t any other ingredients in with this tea. As per the Tea Side website, the 2016 Moonlight White Tea was harvested in Thailand at 1200m above sea level from tea plants that are between 300 and 500 years old.

Preparation

I couldn’t find any steeping instructions for 2016 Moonlight White Tea, so I opted to steep in 85°C (185°F) for 2 minutes. If you’re ever stumped for trying to figure out how long to steep a tea for and in what temperature, check out my steeping guide! And if you’re steeping a tea blend (e.g. white and green tea), always opt for the temperature and length of time that is less.

First Taste

2016 Moonlight White steeps to a beautiful light golden yellow. I found the aroma to be floral, which did match the flavour. There’s a light floral flavour with a smooth texture. This white tea is easy to drink with the slight sweetness that lingers in the mouth. I think it would pair well with each sweet or savoury dishes with how clear it tastes.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped 2016 Moonlight White Tea a total of 5 times, adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the flavour intensified for the first resteep and then slowly started to fade with each steep. The colour of the tea became more of a deep golden yellow for the first two resteeps.

My Overall Impression

I loved Tea Side’s 2016 Moonlight White Tea. I found the flavour to be really enjoyable, and the white tea resteeped really well and kept a good flavour throughout the steeping session. The floral notes and the light sweetness throughout really made for an enjoyable steeping session, and the fact that the leaves resteeped so well was a nice touch and really showed off the quality in the tea leaves.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.