Hot pink tea anyone?
When I spotted this glass jar brimming with cute purple buds at the Chinese market the other day I just had to give it a try. Globe amaranth tea, also known as “Thousand Days Red,” grows readily in the tropical regions of Central America. This blossom thrives year round in warm temperatures, and can come in glorious shades of purple, red, lilac, pink, and even orange. These little flowers commonly surprise tea drinkers as the center bud of “blooming teas,” or balls of teas that expand and unravel like beautiful blooming flowers as they steep in hot water.
If these flowers look familiar to you, it might be because they are threaded together into long strands for making Hawaiian leis. When dried, the globe amaranth are able to keep their color and structure extremely well. I also use these little beauties to decorate cakes and cupcakes, especially when fresh edible blooms are not available.
Globe amaranth tea is an herbal (caffeine-free) tisane known for containing many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This tea may offer several health benefits including reducing fatigue, improving skin, lowering blood pressure, even preventing gray hairs! I’ll be patient to see if globe amaranth lives up to these claims, but if expectations fall short at least I’ll have some gorgeous leis to wear during my next trip to Hawaii.
BREWING TIPS: 5-7 minutes @ 212 degrees F. The blossoms of the globe amaranth are slow in getting saturated with water, so this tea benefits from some stirring and agitation during brewing process.
THE LEAF: Dark, deep purple blossoms–sturdy and multi-petaled–with short stems attached.
THE SCENT: Dried flowers without any perfume-like fragrance.
THE STEEP: Hot pink! Distinctly vegetal with spinach undertones, herbaceous like chrysanthemum tea and mildly sweet. This tea is caffeine-free.
GET IT: I bought this tea at 99 Ranch Market in California, but another brand of globe amaranth is available online at Amazon.com.