time to move tea out of the teapot and into the glass! Display
teas are made to be enjoyed for the show presented while
steeping. Young tea leaves are bunched and hand-tied or
rolled to create distinct shapes. These shapes are eye-catching
when first seen and truly wondrous to watch while steeping.
In water the leaves unfurl to create a completely different
shape. These teas are best enjoyed in a wineglass, so that
the aromas are concentrated to the nose and the show is
raised to eye level. They make a wonderful substitute for
wine during a meal, if you want to avoid alcohol.
these teas are made with specific varietals of tea that
will not get bitter. This is important as most often the
leaves are left in a glass while you drink the tea. Because
they are tied together, the leaves will not flow into your
mouth as you drink the tea. So the two considerations that
are important in purchasing these teas is that they are
made with good quality leaf and that they are well constructed
to retain their intended shapes. When drinking this tea,
allow sufficient steeping time. The teas are generally mild
and take a few minutes to begin to impart their flavor to
is one of our most popular teas. Its Chinese name is Green
Peony (Lu Mudan). The peony form is one of very common for
various display teas. When you first see this tea, it is
a flattened rosette. This tea is made from quality spring-picked
leaves that are hand-tied into beautiful rosettes. Ours
was found in southern Anhui Province on a mountain where
virtually every family grows tea. Once the leaves are steeped
they swell to create something that looks like a peony bloom.
It also looks like a sea anemone, which is how it got its
is the black tea version of Green Tea Anemone. Also from
Anhui Province, it is a surprising tea since it does not
become bitter, which can be said about very few black teas.
There's no need for milk or sugar; this smooth tea tastes
great as it is.
Flowers to the Brocade (Jing Shang Tian Hua)
extremely rare display tea takes Green Tea Anemone to a
whole new level. Secretly tied into the quality spring-picked
leaves is a set of chrysanthemum flowers. These explode
into your glass as the tea anemone expands. Very limited
quantities are crafted each year since it takes 45 minutes
to make each rosette.
shape of the litchi nut, not the taste of the litchi fruit,
gave this tea its name. This tea is a high-grade, pure-leaf
green tea. After hand-rolling the early-picked leaf-and-bud
sets, they are hand-formed into these "nuts."
Similar teas are also sold under the name Dragon Eyeball.
are also known as Yin Yang Pearls, which are produced in
the mountains of northern Fujian Province, China. The name
yin yang refers to the appearance of the pearls; each one
consists of many leaf-and-bud sets. The buds appear soft,
downy, and almost white; the leaves are a darker, richer,
green color. The tea has a mild, pleasant taste and won't
become bitter from oversteeping. The leaves will unfurl
and sink to the bottom. Dragon Pearls are fairly dense — so
not many are needed in the wineglass or pot!
final note: While traveling in China, we always see people
sipping tea out of glass with the leaves floating at the
bottom — whether or not it's a display tea. The Chinese
use their teeth as a strainer! Americans are not at that
point, but display teas are definitely changing the rules.
Copyright © 2005, In
Pursuit of Tea.
OF YOUR OWN
If you’d like to experience display teas
for yourself or give the perfect gift to the
tea lover in your life, wander through a local
tea boutique or visit any of the following websites.
Keep in mind that these teas can also be called
artisan or flowering teas.
Pursuit of Tea: Sells both delicate jasmine pearls
and flower craft teas with the chrysanthemum blossoms.
Teas: Provides a wide variety of display teas
such as Red Bloom teas and Jade Halfnotes (which display
beautiful flowing rings) in addition to products in
which to showcase your display teas. (www.adagio.com)
Source: Sells unique display teas like Green
Mu Dan and Peach Blossom Green. (www.teasource.com)
Tea: Rose Garden and White Lychee are just two
types of flowering tea that this purveyor has to offer.
Road Teas: This online company sells all types
of flowering tea, including Green Peony and Jade Pagoda,
both types of green tea. (www.silkroadteas.com)
Exploring Remote Regions to Supply the Finest Teas. All
Photos courtesy of Sebastian Beckwith and Numi Tea
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