With the festive season here, I have been checking out what tea folks have been making. Because festivals—and Diwali in particular—are a time when they showcase their creative best. My limited research shows rose teas are trending, with marigold coming close.
Of course, blending rose with tea is not a new concept but it seems to me that this year, rose teas have become more sophisticated and much more interesting. Rose adds an unmistakable perfume to the tea, which, if not overpowering, can be quite soothing. But it also does more—it adds a touch of pink while imparting a slight sweetness to the tea.
What’s interesting to see is the variety in both the choice of tea (from black and white to green and oolong) and in rose (as petals, buds and wild roses). And here’s a bit of tea trivia from a planter friend—both tea and rose belong to the genus Camellia, so perhaps it’s only fitting that they both pair to make our favourite drink. Here’s a list of festive florals for this season, some to indulge in, some to gift.
Most tea brands will have a Diwali special—novel tea blends in exquisite packaging. The Diwali Artisanal Gift Box from Celesté comes with two teas, the Diwali Bloom, a rose and black tea blend with lavender, and Golden Glow, a marigold and green tea blend with chamomile and rosemary ( ₹1,200 for the box of two teas, each 35g ). Vahdam Teas’ Blooming Rose, part of their Private Reserve Collection, is an indulgent rose and black tea blend with saffron and cardamom ( ₹850, 50g).
Producer brands have also joined in, with a range of single-estate teas with rose to choose from. Darjeeling’s white teas are in the spotlight here. Rosebuds and silver needles are an uber-refined and sublime combination. Mayukh Tea has a rose and chamomile blend with Darjeeling silver needles ( ₹599, 50g). If it’s only the scent you seek, Gopaldhara has a rose-scented silver needle, made by drying the white tea with rose buds, a tea to reach for a quiet celebration ( ₹500, 25g).
Black tea and rose is another winning combination, darker than white tea, more intense and fragrant. Choices include Makaibari’s Evoke from their Festive Collection, a black tea and rose blend with saffron and spices ( ₹799, 100g), and Wah Tea’s Kangra black tea and rose ( ₹220, 50g). Chai and rose pair in Teacupsfull’s Delhi Red Fort’s Zaffrani chai, blended with saffron and cardamom ( ₹450, 100g).
For green tea drinkers, Dorje Teas has a green tea and rose blend ( ₹399, 100g), while Nuxalbari Tea’s La Vie En Rose, rose blended with green and white tea, is quickly running out of stock ( ₹610, 100g). Teacupsfull has Paan Rose Green, a green tea and rose blend with cardamom, clove, peppermint and fennel, refreshing and light as an end-of-feast tea, inspired as it is by the meetha paan ( ₹320, 50g). No.3 Clive Road has a limited-edition Diwali blend of Kangra green tea and marigold with tulsi, in a sunny yet refreshing blend ( ₹850, 100g).The only oolong on this list is from Dharmsala Tea Company, blended with marigold ( ₹350, 25g).
Tea Nanny is a fortnightly series steeped in the world of tea. Aravinda Anantharaman is a Bengaluru-based tea blogger and writer who reports on the tea industry. She posts @AravindaAnanth1 on Twitter.