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Drink a flower bud instead

Drink a flower bud instead
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First Published: Sat, Jan 02 2010. 01 15 AM IST

Flower Pot: The bud blooms into a beautiful flower in the tea pot. Photo courtesy: Numi Tea
Flower Pot: The bud blooms into a beautiful flower in the tea pot. Photo courtesy: Numi Tea
Updated: Sat, Jan 02 2010. 02 51 PM IST
If the after-effects of a hectic week of Christmas and New Year parties left you feeling drained, we have three soothing words for you—flower, bud and tea. Put them together, add hot water and brew to taste.
Flowering tea, or “bud teas” as they are popularly called, are made by hand sewing tea leaves and flowers like jasmine in the shape of buds. The bud blooms when immersed in hot water. “These are fresh herbal teas made from flower buds sewn together. They are usually served with lemon and honey. We generally serve them in see-through decanters and pass through a strainer afterwards,” says executive chef Jagjit Singh Kandhari of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Select Citywalk mall, New Delhi.
High on the health quotient, “this type of tea contains antioxidants and is good for the nervous system. It is recommended that you drink the tea when you’re tired. It helps cleanse your system and is best taken first thing in the morning,” he adds.
Flower Pot: The bud blooms into a beautiful flower in the tea pot. Photo courtesy: Numi Tea
The Thai High restaurant at Mehrauli, New Delhi, serves Dragon Ball (Chinese jasmine) bud teas. Produced in Yunnan in south-western China, artisans hand-sew the leaves while still damp. The buds are then dried and run through the oxidation process before the final packaging.
Jasmine, rose and daisy bud teas need to be brewed at temperatures of around 120 degrees Celsius. The hot water makes the bud bloom inside the pot. Most teas in this range, such as hand-tied jasmine wrapped around a red amaranth flower, can be used for a number of servings. Thai High insists that the flavour of the bud stays intact and multiple servings even enhance the potency of the flavour. Apparently, Amaranth flower tea can help regulate breathing, reduce body heat, balance the liver function and even aid vision.
Jasmine tea is fairly popular among the flower tea varieties, possibly since the strong fragrance of the jasmine remains intact despite the drying process. Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl is a full-bodied variety sold at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
Another popular variety is the Formosa Dragon Oolong, hand plucked during winter and spring, with a subtle floral aroma. The rose bud is a suitable afternoon or evening tea. The buds themselves can be added to white, green or black teas as well and work to reduce body aches.
However, ad man and tea connoisseur Prahlad Kakkar has a different take. “These are essentially green teas,” he says. “It’s okay if you want a nice decorative tea. But it can’t have a strong flavour. When you want a more delicate tea, you can have this but I personally think they are a little gimmicky. The only reason they are probably popular is because the bud blossoms inside hot water.”
Kakkar, who is quite particular about his teas, says that shamong tea has a great lingering finish. Given a choice, he would have a blend of Assam and Darjeeling tea throughout the day.
Thousand Years Tea, the most popular in the Dragon Ball variety, is available for Rs175 a bud at Thai High. You can also have a cup from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for Rs115 or buy a retail pack with 20 flower bud tea bags for Rs700.
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First Published: Sat, Jan 02 2010. 01 15 AM IST
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