Camellia Flower Tea

Tea is a product of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are dried and processed using a variety of methods that result in black, oolong, green, and white teas. Further variations might include flowers such as jasmine or orchid, which infuse the tea leaves with their fragrance. Although such flavorings were disdained by many tea scholars of the Ming era (1368-1644) in China, these fragrant teas have remained popular and today are a subject of connoisseurship.

Some teas, such as chrysanthemum, are made without using tea leaves at all, and are appreciated for their unique flavor and medicinal qualities. Camellia sinensis flower tea, made exclusively from the blossoms of the tea plant, is a lesser known example. Camellia flowers contain a trace amount of caffeine and some polythenols and catechins, properties that make tea leaves so beneficial to health. I recently acquired some Chinese heirloom camellia flowers from Upton Tea Imports, located in Massachusetts. After immersing the flowers in boiling water for 8 minutes, the water becomes a glowing nectar, with whole blooms slowly drifting to the bottom of the teapot. The fresh taste is reminiscent of a delicate white tea, but with a softer finish and sweet undertones. Camellia flower tea is an excellent choice for a spring afternoon and makes a refreshing iced drink as well.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

That teapot is lovely. I like the top details. Much nicer than the standard glass teapot I've seen around. I've never had camellia flower tea. I wonder how similar it tastes to chrysanthemum blossom tea? That's one of my favorites.

Martha said...

Camellia flower tea sounds delicious.
My favorite scented tea is jasmine. I'm not
familiar with orchid but have tried osmanthus
tea which I also enjoy. Upton Tea Imports has a fine selection of all tea categories. I do hope to see
more posts on rare and notable teas.

the five o'clock teaspoon :: said...

Wandering Chopsticks,
I'm glad you like the pot. It was purchased at the Japanese department store Takashimaya as a sake pot but I thought it would show off the tea flowers well. Unfortunately it can't really be used for hot tea-- I had to wait until the tea cooled down for this photograph-- the glass is so thin I'm sure it would crack! It's been a long time since I've had chrysanthemum tea...I'll have to do a taste test comparison. Let me know if you try the camellia flower tea.

I will be posting more unusual tea varieties in the future. Jasmine is one of my favorites too.