Ever sniffed a jasmine or rose tea and thought “How lovely!”, only to find the tea’s taste to be bitter and disagreeable? If so, you are not alone. I’ve been disappointed by floral-scented teas more than any other kind, and I know that I am not the only one!
Teas flavored with flowers are like the “little girl with the curl”: When they are good, they are very, very good. But when they are bad, they are horrid! Floral flavors can be temperamental, and even a properly flavored tea can taste “off” if not infused correctly.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to avoid having an unpleasant experience with a floral tea:
You Get What You Pay For: The best floral teas are those prepared with real flower blossoms or petals, as opposed to essential or flavoring oils. There is no substitute for the scent and flavor of actual Jasmine flowers or rosebuds. If the price seems too good to be true, the tea itself probably won’t be.
If you are ordering a tea via mail order, ask the merchant how the tea is scented. If in doubt, try and order a sample first. If making a purchase in person, sniff the tea: If the tea smells perfume-y or the floral scent completely overwhelms the tea, choose something else.
Watch Steep Time: This is true for all teas, of course, but even a few seconds can make the difference in floral teas, particularly those flavored with jasmine. Use a tea timer, and decant quickly!
Keep it Cool: Equally, if not more important, is to not overheat floral teas Experiment with using cooler water, and, depending on the tea, consider not putting a lid on the teapot/gaiwan to avoid “cooking” the tea while steeping.
Store Carefully: The flowers (or flavorings) in floral teas can get stale if stored improperly. Be sure to store floral teas quickly (i.e. as soon as possible after purchasing) and properly (i.e. in an airtight tin).
[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]
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