One part beverage, one part bliss.

By Aly Walansky
February 04, 2021
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As winter goes on, the hot cocoa bomb craze has reached its peak — meaning it's time to find a new source of excitement in a steaming cup. Enter: flowering tea balls.

While tea bombs are having a moment on TikTok and work very much the way the hot cocoa bombs did, blooming or flowering tea is far more sophisticated, and poised for an elegant afternoon tea. 

Blooming or flowering tea is exactly what the name implies. It's a bundled up ball of tea leaves and flowers that, much like the exploding hot cocoa bomb, will "bloom" when it encounters hot water.

Choosing a tea ball is going to be pretty straightforward — go with the tea you generally like to drink, be it white or green or any other available, and perhaps even choose based on the pretty flowers bundled in. The final result should be Instagram ready.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Boil water, and fill your glass teapot or tea mugs.
  2. Gently place a blooming tea ball in the cup or teapot, and let the magic happen. It should take just a few minutes.
  3. Take that photo to show off to your friends, and then sit back and enjoy.

A tea ball can also bloom in a tea kettle, so it could be fun to start find a glass kettle so that the blooming can be watched as it happens. That is all the fun, after all.  For example, this set on Etsy is perfect for gifting — it comes with the glass tea kettle, plus a set of mugs.

Try out a variety of flowering tea balls. This set on Etsy is only $11 and comes with four types of blooming tea, including black, white, jasmine, and a fruity tea with a natural strawberry flavor. Giving these a whirl (or a stir!) can really help to know what kind to buy in the future. Another great variety pack exists on Amazon, where for $17, you can get 12 blooming tea balls, ranging from jasmine to green.

Flowering tea or blooming tea consists of a bundle of dried tea leaves wrapped around one or more dried flowers. These are made by binding tea leaves and flowers together into a bulb, then setting them to dry. When steeped, the bundle expands and unfurls in a process that emulates a blooming flower, and the flowers inside emerge as the centerpiece
Credit: Inga Rasmussen/Getty Images

The blooming tea balls can even be reused a few more times over the next day or so, but much like re-using a tea bag, each subsequent use will have a more delicate flavor.

While there's no doubt that blooming tea is a pretty and social media-friendly way to enjoy a hot cup of tea on a cold afternoon, it's also just a great way to decompress and relax. It's truly an experience that all the senses can appreciate. Whether going through the ritual of actually making a flowering tea ball or just drinking it, it can be soothing from the inside, out — and a really chill way to be social with a tea-loving friend, whether that is virtual, or in real life.