Try these 3 easy DIY floral teas. Chrysanthemum, rosebud and osmanthus are popular herbal flowers used in floral tea infusions in China. These 3 herbal flower and tea pairings will dress up your traditional teas, while unleashing the beautiful aromas and healing benefits of the herbal flowers.
Taking no more time than making a regular tea, a floral tea is perfect for sipping alone reading a good book or gathering with girlfriends. A cozy cup of floral tea is a great alternative to coffee for the non-coffee drinkers.
The Chinese Tea Culture
I have an exchange similar to this one below many times a year.
“We need to catch up. Wanna meet for coffee sometime?” My friend texted me.
“I would love to! But I don’t drink coffee. How about going to a tea house?” I replied.
I feel guilty about disappointing my friends and slightly awkward about not participating in the coffee-drinking lifestyle that everyone else seems unable to live without.
I had tried coffee many times. I even love the taste of some of them. But coffee seems to really mess up my system. Without getting into too much details, I just don’t feel great after I drink coffee. Tea on the other hand agrees with me, and the variations are unlimited.
Since the traditional teas we drink today are originated in China, you can probably imagine that teas are integral parts of Chinese food and social culture. Although tea has been sipped on and cooked with for thousands of years in China, tea houses are still very trendy gathering places among young people, serving a variety of teas, from traditional teas to fruit teas, from hot tea to iced tea, from herbal teas to bubble teas. Tea houses usually serve food items too, some are even cooked with tea in them, and you can often find healthier eating choices there than places like Starbucks.
Modernized tea houses in China can be extremely fancy and elaborate – the most high-end ones are like restaurant and spa combined, in addition to serving teas. Outside China, anywhere there is a sizeable Chinese community, you can usually find fairly good tea houses offering a nice menu selection and a relaxing environment.
Living in Toronto makes a tea-date with girlfriends possible. However, visiting a Chinese tea house isn’t the only way to experience some of the most amazing teas, when you simply don’t have a tea house nearby. Teas are easy to make at home with many healing benefits for all seasons.
The variations to enhance a regular cup of tea are endless. Some of the most delicious and authentic blends consist of a half dozen to a dozen ingredients, including tea, flowers, herbs, fruits, and sweetener. I know it can be hard to source all those ingredients, so I will introduce 3 easiest pairings of the widely used Chinese herbal flowers – chrysanthemum, rosebud and osmanthus – with green tea, white tea and black tea.
I used the traditional tea line from Teatulia, consisting of organic black tea, white tea and green tea, to create this recipe. The photo above is a Teatulia pyramid tea bag containing their organic white tea. Each pairing I will explain below is made from only 1 kind of herbal flower and 1 kind of tea. So you don’t need to have all 3 flowers and all 3 teas to make this recipe.
Each pairing has its distinct flavour profile and healing benefits. I will leave it to you to choose which one you want to make. But if you want to know my preference, you will have to be patient and read on – I am saving my favourite to the end.
Chrysanthemum Green Tea
Chrysanthemum flower and green tea are a classic pairing consumed in the east. Both chrysanthemum and green tea are commonly known by the Chinese to have cooling properties and promote fluid production. Therefore this floral tea combination is used in the hot summer days, as well as the dry autumn and spring days.
Chrysanthemum benefits upper respiratory tract, soothes coughs and sore throats due to heat-induced illness, a concept in traditional Chinese medicine. Those who use Chinese herbal remedies may tell you that chrysanthemum green tea isn’t for coughs and sore throats from catching a cold. If this concept is hard to understand, think about if your body tends to be unwell when exposed to cold, or if your stomach will feel achy when eating cold foods, then you should avoid drinking too much cooling tea like this one.
Both green tea and chrysanthemum are well-known for their abilities to remove liver toxins and improve eye sight, calming excess internal heat from eating too much greasy, spicy and heat-producing foods.
You may serve this floral tea chilled in the summer, hot in the spring and autumn. According to Chinese medicine, this pairing is not typically recommended for the cold winter season, unless it’s paired with heat-producing foods such as hotpot, spicy foods, lambs, stews for balancing purpose.
Rosebud White Tea
As roses are beautiful to the eyes, rosebud teas are widely used as a beauty tea for women. Rosebuds contain high level of vitamin C as anti-oxidant. In Chinese medicine, rosebud tea regulates Qi and blood, improves circulation resulting in reliefs from menstrual discomforts. Rosebud tea also eases anxiety, improves skin complexion and moisture. No wonder rosebud tea is loved by so many women around the world.
Rosebuds have a faint and delicate aroma. Therefore I paired it with the delicate white tea. Together they don’t have a strong flavour, therefore allowing us to appreciate the subtlety of this floral tea. Rosebud white tea is pleasing to the eyes and minds, putting you in a good mood for relaxation.
White tea is thought to have even more anti-oxidant effects than green tea, in addition to a long list of health benefits commonly found in teas. Since white tea is not as easily available sometimes, feel free to mix you rosebuds with another tea that isn’t overpowering. Green tea and Oolong tea are also good options to pair with rosebuds in this floral tea recipe.
Osmanthus Black Tea
Osmanthus flowers aren’t well-known in the west, but super popular in the east. Dried osmanthus blossoms are versatile in cooking and in drinks, with many health benefits.
Osmanthus tea is warming and nourishing to the digestive system. Osmanthus tea may have the ability to detox our bodies and improve skin complexions, as well as to reduce coughs and phlegms, and to nourish the lung.
Because osmanthus blossoms are so fragrant, historically they are known to be used by women to produce body fragrance by drinking its tea in the ancient time in China. I don’t know how much osmanthus will have to be consumed for this purpose, but the application surely sounds fascinating.
Although osmanthus blossoms generaly pair well with all teas, I love osmanthus together with black tea the most, both for the full-body aroma and healing functions of this pairing. In Chinese medicine, both black tea and osmanthus have a warming property making this floral tea combination perfect for the cold half of the year. For elderly and those with weakened digestion system, osmanthus black tea is a year-round drink providing supports to harmonize the stomach and easing stomach ache from coldness.
Out of these 3 floral tea pairings above, my favourite is the osmanthus black tea. Have you guessed?
Over the years of recovering from postpartum illness, I have learned that constant gentle nourishment to the body is the best way to prevent illness in the future. Since I know my digestive system is sensitive to the cold temperature and my upper respiratory track tends to be affected easily when I catch a cold, I learned to put a conscious effort in balancing my system. The osmanthus black tea is the most suitable to me of the 3. That also means, which floral tea above will be suitable for you may be completely different!
I also love the strong combination of the fragrant osmanthus blossoms and black tea. For someone new to Chinese floral teas, you may find osmanthus too fragrant at first, instead prefer to start with the other 2 milder foral tea options. With time, the osmanthus fragrance will grow on you.
The Teatulia Story
I first heard about the Teatulia story from a friend of mine working for a local health food store. Teatulia is one of the few tea companies that own their organic tea garden, which means: you know exactly where your Teatulia teas come from.
Later on I learned that not only the company produces quality organic teas for their consumers, Teatulia also commits to providing many opportunities to the women they employ in Bangladesh to help lifting them out of poverty. Teatulia aims to be “good for the land, for the people, and for the environment”. As these messages deeply resonated with me, and corporate social responsibilities became increasingly important in buying decisions these days, I decided to share the Teatulia teas with you all in a recipe on my blog.
However, long before this recipe, I have purchased this Teatulia black tea from my local health food stores and used it regularly for my kombucha brew. Personally I love how the Teatulia tea bags, aren’t fastened with metal staples. This is a very important feature for me when having to keep the tea bag in an acidic environment like in this green tea fermented cucumber pickles recipe.
Tea is one of the things I highly recommend buying organic – you can wash your fruits and vegetables, but you can’t wash your teas. In China, we commonly drink tea by itself, without the added milk and sugar. When there is nothing to mask the flavour of the tea, I can really appreciate a clean and pure organic tea like Teatulia’s. When pairing teas with flowers, it’s super important to have a clean tasting tea to work with.
Easy DIY Floral Tea 3 Ways
Chrysanthemum Green Tea (Option #1)
- 12 dried chrysanthemum flowers
- 1 bag organic green tea
- 2 cups water
Rosebud White Tea (Option #2)
- 12 dried rosebuds
- 1 bag organic white tea
- 2 cups water
Osmanthus Black Tea (Option #3)
- 1 tbsp dried osmanthus flowers
- 1 bag organic black tea
- 2 cups water
- unpasteurized honey to taste
- Bring water to a boil, then let it cool for a couple minutes. I use this water boiler that dispenses hot water at the optimal tea brewing temperature (190ºF).
- Steep 1 tea bag and the dried flowers in 2 cups of hot water for 2 to 3 minutes. If you want a stronger floral note, remove the tea bag when the tea reaches desired strength and then continue to steep the flowers for a longer time.
- Decant the liquid to serve. Add honey to sweeten.
- The tea and flowers can be re-brewed again.
- For floral tea, it's best to use a higher water to tea ratio than brewing regular tea, as in my recipe. Each tea bag combined with the paired flowers can brew up to 4 cups.