Well! I’ve seen quite a few teas in my time, but I have NEVER seen an EXPLODING TEA!!
You need some background info on this story. I have 2 crappy cameras. One is old, and works fine, but it doesn’t have good close-up/macro capability, and the batteries are shot. Even after a fresh charge, the camera can snap maybe 2-3 pics before dying. I keep 3 batteries charged, and have to alternate them after about every 3 shots, in rapid fire, as they quickly die, one by one. So, THAT’s frustrating! Then, the OTHER camera, which is also old, has great close-up capability, and the batteries are OK, but the camera itself has developed an irreparable malfunction which causes it to vibrate like a cell-phone on a suicide mission… and it refuses to take any pics when you push the button… unless you like abstract, streaky smear-art… then this might be the camera for you! But, once in a while, it stops shaking long enough to snap 1, and only 1 shot! You take your chances with either one of these technical wonders! Needless to say, you have to act FAST before you lose them both!
So here’s what happened with the tea…
No… go back again… Yesterday I received an order from TeaVivre, which included about 10 years’ worth of Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin, 2 small samples of Taiwan Dong Ding Oolong and Apple Awakening Fruit Tea, and a giant zip bag of 12 Mixed Flower Teas. So, YAY to that!! (Stay tuned for further posts).
With the Mixed Flower Teas, I expected to find a bunch of loose flower balls, and I had a tin all ready to put them into. But when I opened the pack, out popped all these cute little flower balls in cute little individual packages! It was a surprise! Like a little explosion of flowering tea ball packages! I should have taken that as forewarning!
So today I decided to try “Osmanthus Dancing” because after 3 years of MA hell, there is no more dancing. The day I started on that journey is the day the music died. Maybe the tea will bring back a little dancing inspiration!
The tea ball has a cute little bulbous shape and smells like straw. I pour boiling water over it and watch it start to unfold. Have to snap fast… camera #1 is dying, remember….
I try battery #2. Dead on contact. No response. Tea continues to open… looking pretty and orange. I race to grab camera #2, across the room, praying that it will give me one more vibration-free shot once the tea opens fully. I dart back to the tea and before I can get either camera functional… the tea EXPLODES!!!! WHAAAAAAAAT??????? WHAAAAAT??? This is INSANE!!! The flower has opened, and like a giant puffball mushroom, has released a spray of tiny yellow flowers UP into the water in a big *POOF* and they are dancing and swirling and falling like rain all through the tea… and my cameras are DEAD!!! It’s mesmerizing… so pretty!! I watch them dance and fall, and finally succeed in getting camera #2 turned on with no shaking, but by now the little flowers have mostly fallen down around the big orange lily on the bottom. Well, you can see a few of them here, still on top. No thanks to the cameras.
That is one of the craziest teas I’ve ever seen! Up there with the Blue Chai and the Tai Ping Hou Kui (which I like to refer to as “Tea Fingers”). I wish I had known it was going to do that. I would have shot video! You’ll have to get your own. It’s WAY cool!
So, it is tea, after all, and the taste counts too. First, it smells amazing and sweet. The taste, like other flowering teas, is sweet like honey and butter. In all my shock and amazement, and camera wrangling, I’ve actually brewed it a little too long, and there is a slight bitter edge to it now. It probably sat for a good 5 minutes. If you do it yourself, drink it sooner. Don’t let it sit. It’s still a good tea, and similar to other flowering teas I’ve had. I’ll remember when I steep the next ones. I don’t know if there will be any more surprises like that!
Here’s the final shot where you can see some of the little flowers settled down in the bottom. You’ll have to imagine the dancing for yourself. And maybe I will do a little dancing myself, before I hit the research for another day.
*Now accepting camera donations at a blog near you.*