Saturday, February 04, 2012

A Tea Flower Ceremony

My mother, father and I were having dinner  together the other evening, as we do every evening now that they live with us.  it was a quiet meal with not a lot of conversation.  I cleared the table of the main meal and brought out dessert and as always, a pot of herbal tea.  Only this day the tea was different.  We had a coffeemaker that stopped working and I had thrown out the body of it and put the pot in a box for the local thrift shop.  Mum saw it there and brought it back into the kitchen.  She told me she had a tea flower that her granddaughter gave her and she needed a clear pot to put it in and wanted to use the nearly discarded clear glass coffee pot for that. 

Now you should know that Mum has downsized considerably in this move, and can't let go of a lot of things she has.  So when she can't find a place for them she brings them into my part of the house and places them somewhere.  I find little surprises in the oddest places.  Some I leave there and some I put in the box for the thrift store.  I've found that once Mum has actually gone through the motions of moving something out of her space, she will often forget about it.  (Altho I have gotten into trouble the odd time because we "can't find" something she knows she brought over to my house!)  But this time it was worth it......

But back to the tea.  Mum brought her little tea flower over.  It's a tight little ball of tea leaves.  This one was called Sunset Oolong...."Wild oolong leaves and orange lily offer a golden full-bodied flavor with hints of peach, some caffeine.  Brew time 3 minutes."  It was from Spice Merchants . 

We put the little ball into the pot and topped it up with just-boiled water.  And then the three of us sat and watched the little thing unfurl.  I must admit to having had thoughts along the line of "what has my life become?"  But little by little the leaves rehydrated and spread out and lo and behold, we had a lovely flower floating in a pot of tea!  We poured three cups and it was surprisingly tasty.  I had seen these little balls in the tea shops in our area, but never before appreciated the zen quality of the tea ceremony using one of these. 

My natural (or destructive?) curiosity overcame me when we were done tho.  I got out kitchen scissors and dismantled the leaves.  It was interesting to see that it was constructed like a bouquet.....many long tea leaves, a lily flower which still had it's stamens, and what I think was a strawflower in the middle.  I can't imagine making these and wondered how it gets dried into the ball shape! 

But what started out to be something I thought laughable was actually pretty interesting and educational as well as tasty!