I WAS delighted to be chosen by Choi Tea to receive free samples of some of their teas in return for posting a review on my blog. Ever since I stumbled across premium loose herbal teas in Selfridges I've been hooked and regular herbal teabags are a thing of the past in my house.
Choi tea sent me 2 giant flowering tea bulbs and 2 types of flower buds to try.
The care and attention that has gone into making each of these giant flowering tea bulbs is evident, and watching them unfurl and release their flavour and aroma's really is a feast for all the senses. As well as being wonderful to watch they apparently have health benefits too. It is claimed they aid digestion, strengthen the immune system, reduce the signs of aging, lower cholesterol and brighten the skin.
One of the giant flowering tea bulbs sent was Thousand Year Red Flower. Red flowers are said to bring happiness, luck and prosperity. The globe amaranth is said to be beneficial in the recovery of bronchitis and coughs and soothes asthma.
The second giant flowering bulb I was sent was Exotic Mixed Flowers. This is a pick and mix made from over 50 varietiesof flower, including jasmine, orange lily, dandelions etc. hand-woven into a giant bulb. This tea is reported to be beneficial in the recovery of bronchitis, coughs, soothes asthma, aids digestion and detoxifies blood..
To make the perfect cup, pour just boiled (but not boiling, the recommended temperature is between 82C to 88C or 180F-190F) water into a glass cup or teapot and drop in one flowering tea bulb of your choice. The bulb will unfurl and reveal the flower within whilst infusing the water. Each bulb will make at least 2 litres- up to 5 L of tea, which is between 5 - 12 infusions.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching these giants bulbs open, they really did look magnificent and certainly entertained me. Unfortunately, the taste wasn't my favourite and didn't live up to the visual experience.
One of the tea buds I was sent was Jasmine Green Tea Pearls. Jasmine green tea is one of the most popular Chinese green teas. As with all green teas, this one is packed with anti oxidants and it is claimed to be full of health benefits; it cleanses the body, can help with digestion, weight loss, lowering cholesterol and strengthening the immune system. In addition it gives skin a natural, healthy glow and is believed to have anti-ageing properties.
The second type of tea buds I was sent was Damask Rose Tea Buds, This tea is made up of miniature rose buds sourced from the Fujian province of China. It is packed with vitamins (A, B, C, E and K) which is said to boost your circulation and nourish the body, inside and out.
To brew a perfect cup, put a teaspoon of jasmine green tea pearls (5 - 15) or 2 - 5 rose buds into a cup or teapot and top with hot water The water should be just boiled (but not boiling, the recommended temperature is between 82C to 88C or 180F-190F). The tea should be left to brew for a few minutes. This amount of jasmine green tea pearls or rose buds will make enough for three to five cups without any loss of flavour, just keep topping it up with hot water.
The tea buds didn't look as spectacular as the giant flowering bulbs, however I did prefer their taste. My favourite were the rose buds. I did refill my cup, with all 4 varieties, a few times with hot water and whilst the strength did lessen it was still fine to drink. I would have liked a few more buds in my tea but Choi tea had only sent 3 rose buds, for example, which I did find a bit weak - I would have preferred it with 4 or 5 buds, I think.
Choi tea definitely had more taste than supermarket herbal tea bags e.g. Twinings. I'm not quite sure what temperature water I used as I boil the kettle and wait for a while - measuring the heat of the water is a little more complex and time consuming than I wish when making tea. I do have difficulty believing some of the health claims with the tea - it would be great if they were true but I'm a little sceptical.
These teas are also quite expensive. With the Jasmine Green Tea Pearls you can buy a taster packet (15g) for £6.00 - this does make approx. 60 cups of tea where one portion will give you at least 3-5 cups of tea. Just refill with hot water. The Damask Rose Tea Buds (12g taster packet) costs £6.50. A taster packet of giant flowering bulbs (3 bulbs) costs £6.00. The larger packet you buy the price is reduced.
If you haven't tried premium herbal teas I recommend you try these. Beware though as it could end up with you ditching standard herbal teabags as I've done and it costing more!