Five Flowery Teas (And a Flower Power Tea Box) To Get Your Spring On
Crocuses are rising, spangling gardens with cups of royal purple cradling sprays of orange. Look closely and you’ll find snowdrops, too — loose cones of white petals hanging down from green stems. And soon, a profusion of spring flowers: daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, apple, plum, dogwood.
Spring’s pageant of bouquets always thrills us. But this season their arrival seems especially poignant.
Chaos enveloped us a year ago. COVID was new. People were heading to hospitals, and getting hooked up to ventilators; some didn’t survive. Governments forced businesses to close. The economy was tanking. Anxiety consumed us: Would I or a family member get sick? Will my business survive? Will I lose my job?
A year later, COVID has almost grown familiar. And now, just as the flowers begin emerging again, hope — just like those crocuses — is rising fast. Millions of people have already received vaccinations, and millions more are soon on the way.
They say hope springs eternal. As small businesses owners, we agree — if nothing else, we’ve gotta’ have hope! This spring, however, we find ourselves especially flooded with hope.
Today marks the beginning of Earth Week, and on April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. To honor such a wonderful confluence of human hope and Earth compassion, let’s complement our days with teas that incorporate those sentinels of hope — flowers.
This month we feature our Flower Power Tea Box, an assortment of flower-forward teas, one Blooming Art tea (a wildly decorative style of tea that, when brewed, looks like a blossom), and a spring-themed animal infuser.
You can buy them all, through the Tea Box. But you also can just try them one at a time. Either way, consider marking this wonderful season with some sippable flower power!
Flower Tea: Blueberry Lavender Bliss Black Tea
Bliss in a cup? That describes this spectacle of floral gorgeousness. Black tea grounds the tea, offering earthy notes. From that foundation rise lavender, calendula and cornflower blossoms. Blueberry, ginger and cocoa nibs add yet more gustatory thrills to Blueberry Lavender Bliss black tea.
We find this tea especially easy-drinking, the kind of beverage you can sip hot all day, or brew into iced tea as the temperatures rise (Side note: the forecast in Boulder calls for 75 degrees on Sunday, and 77 on Monday!).
We custom-blend many of our teas, including this one. Blending requires quite a bit of experimentation. Most of the experiments fail on the first attempt; only after repeated mixing of different natural ingredients do we arrive at winners. This one is a total winner.
Flower Tea: Lemon Blossom Oolong Tea
Different styles of Camellia sinensis add diverse qualities to blends, including those with flowers. Green often is grassy, herbal and even floral. Black tea, as we mentioned above, is earthy and steady. Oolong is more like forest floor, often slightly funky (in a great way), with subtle notes of things like fallen leaves, tree bark and humus; oolongs offer a huge variety of flavors. Pu-erh can taste sort of the same as many oolongs, only on steroids; instead of chipmunk whispers of forest floor, pu-erh suggests bear roars.
For our Lemon Blossom Oolong tea, we combine a lightly oxidized Chinese oolong with lemon; the bright notes of the citrus balance the oolong. And then comes the flowers: heather and red cornflower blossom.
Both blossoms sing for us. We find heather especially fetching, however, especially given our location in northern Colorado. Heather is native to northern Europe, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands — all cold places, like the Centennial State. Now it’s found worldwide, including North America. It’s a beautiful flower that spreads widely, turning landscapes into vistas of flowers. In Colorado, we enjoy Pink Mountain Heather, which decorates subalpine forests across the state, as well as open meadows.
Our Lemon Blossom Oolong is another great choice for all-day sipping. We enjoy it, too, with meals. Any dish that pairs well with lemon (so many!) will work with Lemon Blossom Oolong.
Flower Tea: Chrysanthemum Green Tea
Green tea often adds grassy, herbal and floral notes to the tea-sipping experience. As such, it is a natural for blending with flowers, as long as the added blossoms don’t clash with the tea’s natural floral qualities.
Our Chrysanthemum Green tea hits a flowery home run, combining a favorite style of Japanese green tea, sencha (we are sipping some of our sencha as we write!), with peppermint and two flowers: chrysanthemum and rose petal.
Rose offers a familiar aromatic and taste experience; it is one of the most versatile flowers in the world for culinary pursuits. Chrysanthemum is less widely used in the United States as an edible flower, although it’s extremely common (we also know the flowers as mums) in gardens.
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have turned to chrysanthemum for generations, using the blossoms to support lung health and reduce internal inflammations.
We champion its health benefits, but we adore chrysanthemum’s flavor, which is sweet with an almost buttery warmth mixed with honey. In other words, it’s kind of like a warm biscuit slathered with butter and dolloped with honey. Mmmm.
Flower Tea: Sakura Cherry Green Tea
Cherry blossoms are broadcasting perfume and pink now across Japan, and this year’s extravaganza is making history. The season peaked in Kyoto on March 26, making it the earliest known peak since record-taking of cherry blossoms began in 812.
Head to Instagram now, search #cherryblossom, and behold literally millions of beautiful photographs, and not just in Japan. Cherry blossoms today are filling Washington, DC with perfume and visual treats as well.
Cherry blossoms, known as “sakura” in Japanese, are central to Japanese culture. Among other things, they signify the transitory nature of life; the blossoms last for only a few days.
One of their glories is aroma, which comes from the plants’ coumarin, an organic chemical with a marvelous smell. In Japan, people pour hot water over just-picked blossoms and then bring their noses close to the cups and inhale. The aroma is elegant and sweet.
You won’t need fresh cherry blossoms to experience their perfume (although if you happen to have a cherry tree or any other aromatic flowering tree, consider pouring hot water over a few and inhaling). Our Sakura Cherry Green Tea contains dried sakura leaves; steep this tea and you’ll experience the aroma of sakura blossoms.
Just as our Chrysanthemum Green Tea rested on a foundation of sencha green tea, so does Sakura Cherry Green Tea. And then we add those precious sakura petals, along with two more flowery things: hibiscus and rosehips.
The combination will make you swoon. And while cherry blossom season everywhere is fleeting, sipping Sakura Cherry Green Tea is year-round!
Flower Tea: Desert Rose Herbal Tea
Looking for a caffeine-free flower-power tea? We offer several, but today we dive into a favorite, Desert Rose Herbal Tea, which is found in the Flower Power Tea Box.
Where Sakura Cherry Green Tea conjures Kyoto, this gem delivers us to Santa Fe, or the Provencal city of Arles, made famous by many Van Gogh paintings. Packed with herbs that thrive in the Southwest and Mediterranean, like sage, rosemary and lavender, this tea compels us to slow down, take some deep breaths and savor the moment. Lavender adds some of the floral treasure, but the flowery star of this tea is rose.
The herbs and flowers in this blend communicate with one another in the manner of instruments in a fine orchestra: with immense balance and elegance.
Here’s to April, Earth Day, vaccines, hope and flowers!