The peach character of osmanthus comes to the fore with hints of jasmine and lily.
Yunnan, the southernmost province in the Peoples Republic of China is also the countrys largest producer of flowers. And, like everything produced in China, when we say large, we mean large on a scale the likes of which youve never seen before. In 2003 the province, which covers roughly 394,000 square kms or 4.1% of Chinas landmass, grew more than 3 billion flowers commercially! 3 billion! Thats the equivalent of 3 stems for each of Chinas 1 billion citizens. Now thats a lot of flowers. The high production numbers have secured Yunnans position as Chinas top flower producing region for more than 10 years straight. During those years, the provinces Carnations, Forget-Me-Nots, Lilies, Osmanthus and Jasmine flowers have account for 45% of Chinas total annual floral exports.
So what makes the conditions in Yunnan so ideal for growing flowers? The answer lies in its geographical location. Yunnan sits directly below the Tropic of Cancer, the farthest northern latitude at which the sun can appear directly overhead, an event that occurs once a year on the 21st of June. In short, Yunnan gets a lot of direct sunlight. And, as every good schoolchild knows, flowers love the sun and lots of it. Couple that with an average rainfall of between 1,000 to 1,9000 mm annually, and youve got ideal conditions.
As every good tea-drinker knows, Yunnan is also famous for growing tea. So it seems only natural that given the prominence of the local floral industry, tea artisans would create a tea in its honor, 3 Flower Burst. The idea behind the tea is that as it brews, it unfolds and mimics the way the lush Yunnan countryside bursts open with color in the springtime. The tea is produced by tying Lily, Osmanthus and Jasmine blooms together with steamed full leaves of Yunnan green tea. As the tea dries, the flowers are held inside the way seeds are concealed in the damp earth. Drop the tea into a glass pitcher, infuse it and watch the miraculous bloom unfold. The cup, like springtime in Yunnan is bright, with a very full green taste layered with overtones of cut peach and layered undertones of jasmine and lily perfume. Makes a perfect gift for Mothers' Day - an absolutely wonderful tea!
How to Brew
Green tea, chrysanthemum lily, jasmine, osmanthus blossoms
Hot Tea: Place one ball in your teapot and add water that is roughly 194F (90C). Infuse until the ball is fully open, usually about 5 minutes. Watch the long leaves unfurl to reveal the hidden flower treasure. Iced Tea: Makes 1 litre: Not generally consumed iced but if you do: 3 balls in a heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 (315 mL) cup boiling water on tea. Steep 5 minutes. Quarter fill serving pitcher with cold water. Add ice, fill with cold water, garnish and sweeten to taste.