Note: This post was originally published on T Ching's blog.
Tea Blending: Rose Petals and Tea Leaves
by Paula Geerligs
Rose petals, like tea leaves, have long bewitched throughout history, encompassing poetry affecting both the heart and spirit. The rose’s power to soften and uplift the spirit and open the heart are perhaps its most well-known of healing abilities, and can be experienced by the mere presence of its beauty, enhanced by also dipping one’s nose directly into its blooms. And so of course herbalists have also learned to use this aromatic herb to nourish the nervous system and support the cardiovascular system.
I find that rose is powerful for healing heartache, sadness, and emotional trauma, and in strengthening self-love and empowerment. Rose can conjure realization of the deep innate beauty that exists in the world and of one’s self. Rose is an incredible protector: In nature, a wild rose forms a thick protective umbrella of prickly vines, sheltering small vulnerable creatures from larger predators. Rose can do this for us as well.
When I find myself in need of rose healing, I like to make infusions from petals, working in synergy with the mood-enhancing properties of tea. For infusions, dried red rose petals from the Rosa centifolia are the only petals I use, as they’re not overwhelming in their perfume, and are easy to source without pesticides. However, do note that all roses are edible, and just like tea, flavor will vary according to variety and parts used.
I use rose petals in tea blending quite frequently, but there are two particular recipes that are very simple and common, and effectively extract the spirit of the rose. The first recipe with green tea is gentle and endearing, for moments of shelter, comfort, and care. This is a blend for soothing the heart and stimulating your rose-colored glasses.
But rose also has this fierceness that glows in sheer will and endurance, and I think the second tea blend encompasses that challenge to grow just as tall and far-reaching, and as tough and multi-layered* as a rose.
Kukicha Rose Recipe
For a hot single cup: To an infuser, add 1 teaspoon of kukicha and 1 heaping teaspoon of rose petals. Steep, covered, with 1 cup of water (165°F) for 3 minutes. For a bit of sweetness, I like to add a touch of white honey. Note: As soon as the water is poured, you might notice the release of a faint turquoise color — those are the roses!
My favorite preparation method, a smooth and creamy cold brew with a strong rose fragrance:
Combine 2 teaspoons of loose kukicha and rose petals each, plus 2 ice cubes and 2 cups of cold water. Let sit 8 hours or overnight, then strain.
Persian Rose Tea
For a single cup: To an infuser, add 1 teaspoon of black tea (I use Assam) and 1 teaspoon of rose petals with ½ a teaspoon of crushed cardamom seed. Add 1 cup of water (200°F), cover, and steep for 5 minutes.
*Fun fact: only hybridized roses are multi-layered. True wild roses have only five petals.