For Valentine’s Day this year, my mom sent us a package of little flowering tea buds and they were a delightful experiment to do with our kids. We opened the package to find these curious little bundles of green tea. As per the directions, we poured hot water over them and watched them slowly unfurl to reveal lily and jasmine flowers inside!
The tea should be consumed after just a few minutes of steeping or it will become bitter. But after that, you can remove the flower with a slotted spoon and add it to a bowl of new water with a few drops of vinegar. There it will last several days (if you change the water each day) and makes a beautiful centerpiece.
Curious about these little gems, I found that they originate from China and, lthough some claim their origins to be ancient, they were probably invented somewhere around the 1980s. They come in several varieties, most featuring green tea leaves wrapped around different kinds of dried flowers: jasmine, marigold, amaranth or lily, each giving the tea a unique flavor. I am planning to get some of my own to give away and was happy to find them for sale from Mountain Rose Herbs. When was the last time you had a cup of tea and ended up with a centerpiece?