magical tea balls

tea bombs

i'd seen these mysterious bomby balls of tea in shops before, and knew they were special, but it took a post from food nerd to convince me that these were worth buying. food nerd does a much better job at describing them than i can, but basically, they are long green tea leaves tied together, formed and dried around a flower center that "blooms"--just put one at the bottom of a pot, then add hot water and enjoy the show.

jasmine tea tree

the green tea leaves unfurl, and a lovely "tree" made from painstakingly tied jasmine flowers surrounded by orange leaves emerges.

jasmine tea tree

here's a different ball, called dancing snowflakes.

jasmine tea ball 2

here the leaves surround an orangey-yellow flower--chrysanthemum?--but as the ball opens up, little bits of jasmine petals are unleashed and swirl in the water like snowflakes.

dancing snowflakes tea 2

or dandruff.

dancing snowflakes tea

as you can imagine, these aren't cheap unless you buy them in china, where they are made, or in asia in general. i saw some here that were reasonably priced (fiddycents) but a bit measly, so i ended up buying these from harney and sons, and it worked out to just under a buck a ball. however, it provides mighty fine if genteel entertainment along with lovely flavour, so these would be great for a special occasion or tea party.


Hi Santos,

I like those jasmine tea balls too :) but I have never had ones with actuall flowers in it, such a orangey-yellow ones... they are pretty!

There's one shot I really like, of teas of the same sort, in here taken by a friend of mine who's a professoinal photographer. Aren't they beautiful!

oh my goodness, i *love* that one! it looks like whoever tied it made the tea leaves look like a sunflower, doesn't it? gorgeous.

They do look fun. Never seen these before. Is the tea any good though?

BTW - That TIME article got snipped, but you're still in it. On news tands on 7 March.

Pardon my ignorance but do you get to drink the tea too?

Hi Santos,

I love jasmine tea, but like Chika, I've never seen flowers. There's a tea shop here at Ala Moana called L'Epicier. They have all types of imported teas for sale. My favorite is the lychee tea. Has a very nice aroma and flavor.


That is a great photo!

Uh, such pretty pictures! We have those here as well - but with red flowers - wanna swap?

hey g--it's like watching sea monkeys or some kiddy science experiment. obviously the focus is on the visual, so i've yet to come across any of these with a flavour description. basically it's jasmine tea all around, but i definitely like the dancing snowflake snowball thingy over the "fairy maiden" one. i imagine the ones with more tea leaves would be nicer.

hi ting-aling--definitely so! i admit i've brewed one just to see what was inside of it, but i like the tea that it is.

hey reid--i like the lanikai tea from l'epicier, i think it's one of the varieties exclusive to the hawaii stores. it's black tea with bits of pineapple in it.


Wow, these are spectacular. The idea of tea balls with flowers is very new to me. I've not come across them here in Singapore yet. I like jasmine tea a lot, and I'll be even more thrilled if I have such pretty tea ball flowers in my tea cup! :)

hi julia! the problem (or maybe it's not really a problem) with these is that i want to rush out and buy a glass teapot and matching cups so i can watch them bloom in style :-) right now i brew them in a laboratory beaker.

hi, been lurking at your site for quite sometime now (fr manang kusinera), hope you don't mind. why? i'm enjoying it and i'm from guam too, btw, but residing in cali now. your blog is making my homesickness worse than ever, but i still opt to visit it bec of your fascinating entries. memories came rushing back to me. i will definitely go back to guam...that's home to me (and phil to).

These are pretty cool...and your photos, as ever, are amazing! I'll have to take a look around here and see if I can find any.


hi taLhey--thanks for coming out of lurker mode! what part of cali are in you in? are you being waterlogged by all the rain? i hope i can write about something you'll enjoy, or if there's anything you'd like photos of, just let me know!

hey moira--want some?

Hi Santos - I'm definitely a coffee person, but this is so pretty!

hi keiko--i'm a coffee person, too, but i do like tea, esp. if it's as pretty as this!

Hi Santos - beautiful pictures! I wrote about these teaballs recently, too (http://nami-nami.blogspot.com/2005/07/flowering-tea.html), but I didn't have a beautiful transparent teapot:(
I love both tea (evenings) and coffee (mornings), and this particular jasmine tea is a real centre-piece at any cake table..

hello pille! you have a lovely blog. i actually brewed these tea balls in a scientific beaker at work :) i need to get a glass teapot for a better presentation, i think.

I found some wonderful flowering teas and loose teas at a little site called tealaden.com