To most, tea is just a beverage. Hot water + tea bag or loose leaf tea = yum. However, there are some ways to have fun with your tea! Tea has been considered an art form for a very long time. Especially long ago when there were competitions to see who could perform the best tea ritual. Today, there are literally ways to make your tea look pretty.
There are teas that are hand sewn with flowers to make tea more decretive. It looks like a ball of dried up leaves and maybe even some sticks—however it turns into something beautiful once added to hot water. You can get this type of tea online, or like me travel to Waterbury and visit VT Liberty Tea.
The little ball looks like this:
When you are making this kind of tea, it is very important to not to pour boiling water over the ball because it could possibly ruin the flower. Just below boiling would be best. Also allow 10 minutes to steep to see the full flower.
When I bought my set of two tea bud balls, a little piece of paper was inside the little bag. It read:
“A rare and beautiful peach shaped ball of black tea leaves with a yellow flower that emerges in the steep. Rare hand sewn tea buds which when bloom reveals a beautiful white chrysanthemum flower as a base that seems like honoring the majestic pink Globe Amarath. The full bodied liquor with its ripe and sweet aroma and flavor and rich aftertaste is remarkable. This Yunnan style tea embodies what we wish all display tea could give us, beauty and quality.”
The name of this tea is called Fairy Peach.
Here is a series of photos showing what the process of brewing this tea looks like!
Now I think that is pretty much the coolest thing ever!
While I was at VT Liberty Tea, John the owner told me a really interesting story about the legend of how these tea/flower balls came to be and why this particular tea flower was called Fairy Peach.
Preface: In ancient China for birthdays you gave your guests peaches as parting gifts (today we give goodie bags).
The Legend of the Money King:
There once was an Empress goddess that lived in China who was very powerful and lovely. She had a birthday coming up so she asked the Monkey King to go out and get her peaches so that she could give them to her guests. The Monkey King agreed because this was a great honor, and he ventured out to find the best ripest peaches around. Once he gathered them he went back to give them to the Empress goddess. On his way however, he became very hungry and ended up eating all the peaches by the time he arrived. The Empress was very angry and stripped the Monkey King of his title.
Very upset by this the monkey wanted to do something to make up for his mistakes. He went and found some sympathetic monks. They then taught him how to sew flowers and tea together to make a little ball that looked like a peach. This would then bloom when it was steeped with hot water. He made them for all of the guests at the Empress goddess’s party and went offered them as an apology. All the guests loved this new creation and the Empress goddess was very pleased. She then restored the Monkey King his title and all was well again.
I love happy endings!
This whole learning process for me was really interesting. I had read about this kind of tea online, but now that I’ve actually had the change to experiment with it myself, I recommend this to any tea lover with a passion for creativity.
Think Spring everyone! 🙂