There something quite beautiful in brewing tea from flowers, especially if they are fresh. While you may already know about regular floral teas, such as rose, lavender or jasmine, orange blossom may not be as widely known. But in many North African and Middle Eastern countries, and even in Spain and Portugal, orange blossoms are widely popular and an important part of culinary traditions.
What are Orange Blossoms?
Orange blossoms are small, highly scented white flowers from an orange tree. Have you heard or neroli, an expensive and highly prized essential oil, popular in perfumes and aromatherapy? Neroli is extracted from blossoms of bitter orange trees or Citrus Sp. Citrus aurantium L.. Another popular orange blossom product is orange blossom water. This scented water is actually a by-product of essential oil production. It’s very often used in cooking and for making drinks, but also as a homemade remedy for clearing skin, calming properties and aiding digestion.
Fresh orange blossom blowers and orange blossom water can both be used for making delicious hot and iced tea. Fresh orange blossom flowers are usually available in late winter or early spring, depending on the area.
Orange Blossom Iced Tea Recipe
Theoretically, you can use any type of tea to make orange blossom tea. However, to preserve the delightful uplifting freshness and floral and citrusy notes, we recommend using either lighter green tea or green oolongs. White Bai Mu Dan tea may be a good option too, but pay attention to how you brew it. The best tea types? Chinese sencha, Dragon Well green tea or Ti Kwan Yin oolong tea. Black tea blends well with orange blossoms too, but expect a stronger flavor. Best teas? Ceylon Supreme and Ceylon Orange Pekoe.
For making 4 glasses of tea (around 1 liter) you will need:
- 2 cups of hot water
- 2 cups of cold water
- About 30 fresh orange blossom flowers or 10 tablespoons of orange blossom water
- 3-4 drops of bitter almond extract
- 2-3 teaspoons of honey (optional)
- Bring fresh spring water to a boil.
- If you are using fresh orange blossoms, wash them thoroughly.
- Let water cool down to around 185°
- Preheat your teapot with boiling water.
- Add orange blossoms and green tea into a teapot.
- Add water and steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and pour into a pitcher.
- If you are using orange blossom water instead of fresh blossoms, add water now.
- Add a few drops of almond extract.
- Add honey or sugar.
- Fill glasses with ice.
- Pour the tea over ice.
You can easily enrich your ice tea by adding one or two teaspoons of other ingredients. Orange blossoms blend well with other ingredients too, such as ginger root, mint leaves, vanilla extract, jasmine or lavender flowers. Alternatively, if you want to avoid caffeine, you can make a pure herbal tea, with excluding green tea from the recipe.
Simple Orange Blossom Hot Tea Recipe
Orange blossom tea doesn’t only taste delicious iced. This calming and refreshing blossoms may add a dash of spring into your cup. To make a cup of hot orange blossom tea, or enriching your regular green tea with a natural scent, try adding a bit of orange blossom water.
For making a cup of orange blossom hot tea you will need:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon of lighter green loose leaf tea or green oolong loose tea
- 2 spoons of orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon of orange blossom honey or some other honey (optional)
- Bring fresh spring water to a boil.
- Preheat your teapot by pouring boiling water in and out.
- Let the water cool down to 176°F for lighter green teas or 194°F for green oolong tea.
- Put the tea leaves into a teapot.
- Steep for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the orange blossom water.
- Add honey if needed and serve.
How to Brew Orange Blossom Tea
IF you don’t have access to fresh orange blossoms or orange blossom water, you can try a pre-blend with a similar flavor profile. Mild, clean and smooth Orange Blossom oolong has a naturally light floral oolong note, blended with orange peel and enriched with a mild orange flavor. It’s great for drinking both hot and cold or for cold brewing. Base of this tea is a ball shaped Chinese oolong that unfurls into beautiful large leaves. You can re-steep it at least 3-5 times.
To make a cup of tea, bring fresh spring water to a boil. Let it cool down to 190-200°F. Steep for 1-2 minutes and re-steep. Increase the steep time for every following infusion. If you are making iced tea, steep for at least 5 minutes.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.