One of the things I loved about Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was the way the food and drink in the movie was treated as an important character, as well-dressed and given as much attention as the talking, walking Madame Dubarry. I’ve already mentioned the patisseries from Laduree which the film featured. Today it’s the turn of the tea from the Emperor of China which Marie Antoinette shares with her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II.
The unprepossessing bullets of dry, twisted leaves below are the first stage of Numi flowering tea – the same astonishingly beautiful tea that’s used in the film. It’s available to order online from Numi’s website; I found mine at the food hall at Harvey Nichols, where it’s also served at the 5th Floor Cafe. The leaves are sewn together by hand in China – on the outside of these Dragon Lily tea balls you can see long, grassy leaves of white tea. The flowers open once you pour over hot water, and inside, things start to get really interesting.
Sewn inside the ball of leaves is a red lily flower, and inside that are sprinkled a teaspoon or so of tiny, scented osmanthus flowers that escape from the large flower and float in your cup of tea. If all this loveliness weren’t enough, the tea happens to be extremely delicious as well, with delicate apricot head notes and a lovely grassy finish.
Numi has a range of nearly 20 different flowering teas, white, green and black, so you are sure to find something you love. It’s worth splashing out on a box if you fancy drinking something cinematic with your afternoon macarons.