A Day for Roses

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.


  1. Yes, I was thinking about roses as well, but not drinking them. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could dry and steep the roses my darling husband sent me for Valentine’s Day.

  2. that sounds really good ill have to try that.

  3. That actually sounds quite good, though not a true tea, it looks quite refreshing. Amazing that roses can have such an impact on heated water!

  4. i know this is prolly a stupid question what is that dish u got the rose buds in?

  5. Tyler –

    It’s not a stupid question. That is a Chinese presentation vessel, sometimes called a “tea caddy.” It’s used in Gongfu Cha to display the pre-brewed leaf to the guests and to make it easier to transfer the leaf into the gaiwan or pot with a tea scoop.

  6. ok i was wondering what that was

  7. I’ve just started drinking rosebud tea myself, and really enjoy it. As you note, it is not at all sweet or cloying, and it makes for a soothing evening/bedtime drink.

  8. i finally got the jade oolong i bought its so good

  9. Nice – I really like jade oolong myself.