Hmm. I could swear I’d written a note for this tea, but apparently I never did. Let’s work from memory, then.
I love roses. I love the way they smell, I love the way they look, I just love everything about them. One of my earliest experiences with tea has to do with roses, when I was probably around 5.
By age 5, I understood that tea is made from steeping flowers and leaves in water. A book I’d read about a Japanese family that moved to the US told me that this was what was put into bags. In the book, they were ripping the bags open and pouring the tea into a pot of hot water.
“Well, I’ll do you one better!” I said to the book. So I went to the front of the house, where a bouquet of roses was slowly wilting, and took a handful of petals. I stuck them into a mug full of water, and stuck it into the microwave. Voila! Rose tea.
I look back on this particular anecdote with a mixture of nostalgia and horror. Nostalgia, because I distinctly remember the rose smell and taste of my tea. I’ve never been as enterprising as I was that day. Horror, because I can only imagine the pesticides I ingested.
At any rate, upon opening the tin for this tea, my first thought was of my pseudo-tea. My second, of my grandmother’s rose-water creams. It’s a rose tea all right. I can barely pick out any scent to do with the white tea, but I wasn’t expecting to. I’m drinking this for the roses, not the white tea.
I steeped it according to the instructions on the can. I can’t remember precise details, given that this was a week and a half ago – but the can says one tbsp per 6 oz at 190F for 4-6 minutes.
Likely, I steeped it closer to 180F, as today I discovered my “cooling method” pre-thermometer results in this temperature. And I definitely steeped it for 5ish minutes – I tend to go halfway when I’m given a range.
The result of steeping was intense rose scent: the floral smell completely overpowered the white tea. So if you were expecting any sign of the white tea, go looking for another blend. But roses are like this, right? They make themselves known. It was pretty much what I was expecting, though I was hoping the white tea would mitigate the rose intensity a little bit.
And taste-wise? Roses. Heavy-duty roses that didn’t pull any punches. Yeah, this was definitely what I remembered from when I was 5 years old. Lovely, but not something I’d want to drink every single day. Even as I made it half-way through my Rishi tea, I was still wondering where the white tea was hiding itself. Maybe it was keeping the roses from being even stronger? Hmm, possible. But I haven’t had pure rose tea in a very long time, so I’m not certain.
SO! Let me sum up: I like this tea. I like it a lot. It brings back memories of when I was young and silly. It’s a bit stronger on the rose front than I’d like, though, which makes me think that green tea might be a better pairing for the rose petals than the white tea. But don’t let that put you off, if you like roses.