Here at HuffPost Taste HQ, we tend to be pretty like-minded. We all have a special place in our hearts for cheese, we know the majesty of a well-made and well-timed cocktail, and we can usually count on one another to like the sound of many of the same recipes. That's why when there is an infrequent yet formidable chasm between what one of us thinks is delicious and one of us thinks is disgusting, we feel like we have to investigate.
Our Senior Editor, Kristen Aiken and I work in close enough proximity to each other that we have now begun to anticipate each other's subtle idiosyncrasies -- I know when she'll hate or love the smell of something, and she knows when my wide-eyed facial expression across the desk is because of something amazing, hilarious or horrifying. The other day, we were both thrown for a loop when she let out the disgruntled sigh reserved for smelling something terrible and offered up a photo of flowering tea as the culprit.
I think flowering tea is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Made by tying bundles of tea leaves and flowers together in a meticulous pattern and then left to dry, the hot water you use to steep the tea rehydrates it causing it to unfurl like a blooming flower. Or, as Kristen said, "a spider giving birth to a character from 'Fraggle Rock.'" We decided to do a little experiment, to look at a few pictures of blooming flowering tea and describe it, from the dueling perspectives of someone who thinks it's revolting and someone who thinks it's amazing.
What do you think of flowering tea? Let us know in the comments!
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Rebecca: This is what flowering tea looks like when it's dry. Pretty, but it would never lead you to suspect that it was going to open up like some kind of lovely sea monster.
Kristen: These look like tumbleweeds that would come out of the ocean, if those were a thing that existed. Rule of thumb: If you don't want to put your mouth directly on something, don't eat or drink food that's made with it.
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Rebecca: This flowering tea ball is like, "Hey. Are you paying attention? I just want to make sure you're paying attention. Because I'm about to BLOW YOUR MIND."
Kristen: This is a baby squid with one giant, pink eye, right? Also, this just made my body release histamines, and now my skin is crawling and I need some Benadryl.
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Rebecca: See, Kristen, flowering teas don't always have to be all crazy and scary. Sometimes they just look like pretty little cacti that make your hot water taste better.
Kristen: A slightly more elegant, yet no less gross, version of a fetal ANYTHING from high school biology class.
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Rebecca: LOOK AT HOW MUCH SUNSHINE IS IN THIS CUP.
Kristen: You know when someone gives you flowers, and you put them in a vase? And you leave the vase too long without changing the water? And then it smells like swamp scum? This is that.
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Rebecca: Maybe it's my desert-dwelling past, but there's something really aesthetically pleasing to me about the ones that look like cactus flowers. Also, no matter how long I've let one of these guys sit in hot water, the tea somehow never gets bitter. Bet your tea bag can't do that.
Kristen: This is a baby octopus-shaped alien floating in its holding chamber before being released upon Earth to eat all of our brains.
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Rebecca: How is there so much going on in here?? Thinking about the precision, patience and practice that must go into tying 15 flowers into a bundle that will expand perfectly makes this taste like the best tea ever.
Kristen: You just ruined a perfectly beautiful tea pot.
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Rebecca: This tea ball is like, "Can you even STAND how gorgeous I am? Oh, you can? What if I peek out of your cup at you??"
Kristen: HOW DO YOU DRINK AROUND THAT WITHOUT IT TOUCHING YOUR MOUTH?
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Rebecca: There is basically no other reason for a glass this shape to exist.