Review: Canton Tea Co. Wild Purple Chrysanthemum Flowers

Canton Tea Co., Chrysanthemum Tea Add comments
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Contrary to the impossible faintness of color in it, there are actually many flavors at play. Hints of smoke, honey and sweetness all play in the mouth."
Jamie’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: CJ gave it 7.5/10
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This is an interesting choice for you if you are looking for something caffeine free as a tisane for evening or afternoon sipping. The Wild Purple Chrysanthemum, according to Canton's most helpful website (they offer everything from particular brewing parameters to pronunciation to exact locations of harvest including time of year), is "an extremely rare variety which grows entirely uncultivated, high up on one one mountain in a remote region of Zhejiang province. They thrive at around 1460m, in the cool air of Yu San Jian moutain - which means umbrella-shaped. The farmers who harvest this Chrysanthemum live on a remote farm, 3kms from the nearest village with no road between them. Our buyer joined them for the walk into the mountains to pick the flowers today as they have done for decades - all on foot and bringing the flowers back in baskets on their donkeys."

The flowers themselves are yellow faced with a lion fringe of white petals with a stark lavender edging. Brewing is simple: It's suggested to use 3 to 4 flowers per cup and to infuse for 1 to 2 minutes. This is an important parameter to keep in mind. The flowers will become extremely bitter if infused longer. I left a second infusion of the flowers after enjoying a first. When I poured out the steeped tisane, it was so potently bitter as to be undrinkable. So please, do not experiment with this lovely tisane outside the recommended 1-2 minute range! The smell of the dried flowers is extremely curious. They are smokey, dry and vaguely sweet. I have never smelled anything like it.

I infused the first batch for 1 minute. The tisane pours out almost the color of water. It's so slightly tinged with gold that it seems as though the hue is your imagination. As the tisane cools a bit, the color seems to develop to a faint green gold. It's beautiful.

The scent of this tea is hard for me to explain in words. It's smokey somehow, yet also not smokey. There's a tremendous honey scent involved in the smokiness and I would expect that honey as a sweetener would be a very natural pairing, if you were inclined to sweeten this tisane. But it's not really necessary. It's refreshing and just beckons at flavors. Contrary to the impossible faintness of color in it, there are actually many flavors at play. Hints of smoke, honey and sweetness all play in the mouth.

This is pretty delicious. It was hard for me to tell if it was a trick of the eye or not, but this tisane really does seem to darken slightly as it sits in the cup. The palest green color either enhances slightly or begins to glow even after a minute or two in the cup.

I love the smokey honey sweetness that is so perfectly balanced. I can't really imagine this tisane sweetened after all. By the end of the first cup, the gentle honey character natural to the flavor is so evident that it would seem unnecessary to add anything more.

This is a really interesting cup. It's surprising, unique. Light and balanced as well, there is plenty in the flavor profile to savor over the full cup and then nuances to look for next time you prepare it. I think this would be wonderful chilled down and served on a hot day, as well.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Wild Purple Chrysanthemum Flowers, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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