One of the most amazing aspects of some teas is the bouquet they create in your teapot. This statement is sort of a double entendre. First, the word “bouquet” can refer in general to fragrance. Second, “bouquet” can also mean a physical bunch of flowers. In this case, I am talking about fragrance but specifically about a flowery fragrance some teas take on when steeped.
These teas have floral fragrance (also called “notes”) without any flower pieces (buds, petals, essence) physically in the tea. Nor are any flower pieces used during processing to impart their fragrance and possibly taste to the tea. (See Part I, Flowers in Your Tea.) One thing I found that these flowery teas have in common is that they are larger leaf pieces and loose, not confined in bags or sachets. That’s certainly not a hard and fast requirement, but it is good to see, since I can let the pieces float loose in the teapot for full steeping (my preferred method).
Some Teas with Floral Notes:
- Lychee Congou China Black Loose Leaf — A leafy black tea infused with the flavor of lychee fruit (globular with white translucent flesh). Naturally scented tea with a sensually sweet taste that reminds me of roses and grapes.
- Sri Lankan Ceylon Loose Leaf — A classic Ceylon tea, light in yellowish color with whiffs of floral notes.
Sylvakandy Estate Orange Pekoe Tea Loose Leaf — From the Kandy region of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) and grown at an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level. A smooth and floral yet malty, strong, and full-bodied flavor, perfect for after dinner or afternoon. Consistent quality, since the tea is produced at a modern factory in a process that forms evenly-graded leaves.
- Ti Kuan Yin Slimming Oolong Loose Leaf — Light and sweet with the fragrant aroma of orchids. Also considered a good weight loss tea.
- Nonsuch Estate Tea Loose Leaf — A Nilgiri Tea from South India, grown at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level, and having a pronounced orange blossom-like flavor and fruity floral-like maltiness unique to Nilgiri teas. The stronger flavor is perfect for breakfast and really wakes you up.
Dragon Pearls Green Tea Loose Leaf — A smooth green tea with delicate flavor, some strength and body. Made from the top 2 leaves and the bud of new season growth that are hand rolled into small “pearls” that spread open during infusion. Look for some small ‘hairy down’ on the bud of the leaves, a sign of superb quality and very careful, delicate handling.
- Golden Moon Tea Darjeeling Loose Leaf — A blend of teas from the Darjeeling area of India, resulting in a bouquet full of floral, fruit, and nut-like notes.
- Golden Moon Tea Sugar Caramel Oolong Loose Leaf — Made using quality green oolong leaves. They are tightly rolled and then infused with rich caramel and burnt sugar. The result is a sweetness that still lets the natural floral notes come through.
- Golden Moon Tea Orchid Temple Oolong Loose Leaf — A tea that steeps up aromatic and light green with floral notes that will linger in your memory long after the last sip.
- Harney & Sons Ti Quan Yin Spring Floral — A quality yet affordable tea from Anxi region of China. The tea is shaped into tiny greenish balls that can be steeped several times, maintaining the nice body and high floral notes that separate this tea from the pack.
Now you know why there is often a bouquet in your teapot. Either your tea has flowers added in, your “tea” is actual a floral infusion, or your tea has no flowers but still wonderful floral notes. Happy sniffing!
A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, is full of more great articles!