One of our more novel holiday gifts was a blooming tea set, a small glass teapot and an assortment of tightly furled tea balls. I'm generally a stuffy purist when it comes to tea and tend to think blooming tea is to good tea what faux fur is to good yarn. But the show is entertaining, so I thought I'd share it.
Tea balls start out about the size of a walnut and usually can be used to make several pots of tea. Here's one sitting in the well of a saucer.
Some blooming teapots are proportioned like coffeepots, taller than wide; this one is a conventional teapot shape. It makes two servings.
The tea ball unfurls rapidly in hot (but not boiling) water. The pink flower is a globe amaranth, which has little aroma. Some tea balls smell like tea, some like jasmine or lily.
The color and flavor of the tea develops more slowly. Blooming teas tend to be on the mild side, the better to show off the flowers. For reasons that escape me, this teapot lid fits so tightly that when it's in place, the tea won't pour. Maybe to keep subtle fragrances in? Except there's nothing particularly subtle about blooming tea.
The tea itself looks like tea, so I didn't bother to take a picture of it. Some tea balls turn into tasty tea, but I threw out this particular pot after a couple sips. I suspect it could unclog stuck pipes.
Above is a different tea ball after a couple uses, sitting in the same saucer, with a Western tea ball for scale. The blooming tea ball expanded a lot initially, but didn't change much after its first immersion in hot water.
That's blooming tea as I know it. The End.