Roses remain a favorite way to say “I love you,” both in a romantic setting and in your teacup. In the romantic setting, the color or the roses conveys different meanings, with yellow indicating warmth and happiness, pink conveying grace and elegance, and the dark red indicating love and romance. In the teacup, the flavor and aroma are the keys attributes sending a message to your senses when your loved one passes that cupful to you.
Actually, there are three parts of the rose normally used in teas: petals, buds, and hips (the bulbous part that forms after the petals have dropped). They can vary considerably in strength of flavor. Some are very subtle while others overwhelm. The hips don’t seem to me to add much flavor, but they are full of Vitamin C and can be steeped up in a tisane that is not only healthy but soothing.
Roses can be added to just about every category of tea out there: white, green, oolong, pu-erh, and black. Two major brand versions are from Golden Moon and Taylors of Harrogate. Golden Moon’s Rose Tea blends black loose leaf tea with a sprinkling of rose petals and steeps up to a rich, intoxicating, yet light-tasting tea with a dreamy floral scent, great hot or iced. Taylors of Harrogate has a China Rose Petal tea, a classic made of rose petals and large leaf black tea (Orange Pekoe) that steeps up a soothing liquid perfect for your afternoon tea moment.
The French came up with a tea blend so delightful you may want to dance the Can-Can after the first cupful. It combines teas from India (Assam and Nilgiri), Sri Lanka, Kenya, and China together with Jasmine, lavender, and rose petals to create a tea with complex flavors and aromas, from malty to flowery to saucy and sprightly.
Go caffeine-free with Tutti Fruity, a combination of Hibiscus petals, dried apple pieces, rosehip chips, dried sweet orange peel, calendula petals, raisins, cornflower petals, dried currants, natural flavors, and dried rose petals. Your kids will love it, and so will you, since it’s naturally sweet and therefore doesn’t need sugar and can be served hot, cold, or even as “tea-sicles” straight from your freezer.
I’ve tried several teas and herbal tisanes with either rose petals, rosebuds, or rosehips in them with mixed results. Some were quite appealing. These included Japanese Sencha Kyoto Cherry Tea (my review), which is the traditional Sencha with Montmorency cherry and subtle rose flavoring; Bingo Blueberry Herbal (my review) that is a blend of blueberry, apple, rose petals, and more; and Buckingham Palace Garden Party (my review), a black tea with strong floral (rose, lilac) and a hint of citrus.
Don’t miss Part II delving into the roses in the teacup designs.
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