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A Day for Roses

February 14, 2009

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On a day that many people are thinking about roses, so am I, but in the form of a very pleasant tisane. Infusions of young Chinese rose buds (Mei Gui Hua 玫瑰花) are a traditional tea used in Chinese medicine. Every Chinese apothecary I’ve been in carries it, and so do many Chinese tea shops, but the prices and freshness vary tremendously. I nearly always see it offered in two types, red and pink.

The dry buds are quite lovely and smell completely unlike that cloying scent of your grandmother’s perfume. It’s very easy to brew consistently: pour boiling water over it and let steep for a while, perhaps somewhere between 3-12 minutes. I don’t think it’s possible to over steep it. I was able to get 4 infusions out of it before the buds began to fall apart and lose their color.

It’s quite a pleasant beverage for times when you want to drink something without caffeine. It also has the added benefit of looking quite pretty in the pot. Naturally I recommend a glass brewing vessel for maximum effect.

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