Unlike the United Kingdom, in which rose is relatively common flavoring for candies and other sweets, the American palate has never really adapted to the notion of “edible” flowers. However, many teas and tisanes are blended with rose buds and petals, often with stunning results. Rose not only adds a lovely scent to teas and herbal infusions, but it’s unusual flavor perks up even tired tastebuds, particularly when blended with vanilla or citrus flavors. Rose can be a bit temperamental, though, so for best results, I suggest following these tips for brewing rose teas and tisanes:
- Watch the Water Temperature: The natural sweetness of rose can be blunted by too-hot water. Even with black tea blends, I advise bringing down the water temperature a bit (200F or so seems to work well). With green and white teas that contain rose petals, you can, and should, bring the water temperature down a bit more.
- Be Careful with Quantity: You don’t need a lot of rose petals or buds to flavor tea, and too many can result in a perfumy, disagreeable flavor. If you decide to add rosebuds or petals to a tea or tisane, do so sparingly at first, adjusting the blend to your personal taste.
- Rose on Ice Is Yummy: For reasons that I don’t fully understand, rose flavored teas and tisanes are simply delicious when served over ice. Try an iced rose-flavored black tea on a super-hot day — so very refreshing. If you have the patience, try cold-brewing rose flavored tea in the fridge overnight: The flavors are often spectacular and you don’t run the risk of ruining the rose notes with too-hot water.
- Brew in Glass: Rosebuds and petals look gorgeous during steeping, so do consider using a glass teapot so that you can admire the visual effect of the flowers and tea leaves together.
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