A Guide To Jasmine Tea
Jasmine tea is a popular tea usually made with a green tea base and the flowers of the jasmine blossom plant.
It can also be made with white tea and black tea but green is considered the best base tea.
The jasmine blossom offers a delicate sweet fragrance to the tea making it a good accompaniment to most meals.
The preparation of jasmine tea demands a great deal of skill, understanding, dedication and experience. It is a practice which is often passed down through generations.
Jasmine season is very short as the flowers tend to blossom in June so it’s all hands to the deck for a short period of time.
Jasmine tea is incredibly popular all over the world due to its smooth, delicate flavour and beautiful fragrance. It also offers a uniquely appealing appearance thanks to the colourful petals and silvery leaf buds making it a fantastic gift option for any tea lover.
Production of Jasmine TEa
Jasmine tea takes a great deal of skill, knowledge and dedication to prepare at its optimum.
The traditional methods of production depend heavily on the tea master having an incredible understanding of weather patterns, harvesting and crops both of the green tea plants and the jasmine blossom plants. This is why the tea master’s role is so often passed down through generations within the same families.
As jasmine tea is now so popular, it is produced in many regions of China, each with different climates and temperatures.
It therefore requires adapted methods of production in each region. Some more humid or temperate regions demand the jasmine plant to be grown in pots so it can be moved indoors as and when required. The best region for harvesting is considered to be the Fuijan region.
Jasmine tea is usually made from a green tea base (although white tea and black tea is sometimes used) thanks to its light taste enabling the jasmine fragrance and flavour to flourish.
For production, the green tea leaves have to be plucked and then dried earlier in the year. The best green tea leaves are chosen and stored until June when the jasmine flowers can be picked. The flowers are usually picked in the early spring evenings when the buds are still quite tight and left until later in the evening when the flowers open up. This releases the essential oils and the characteristic fragrance. The flowers are then packed tightly into a gauze where they can infuse with the green tea leaves and the flavour and scent of the essential oil is ultimately absorbed by the green tea leaves. This process can be repeated from between three to ten times, each time with fresh flowers, depending on the desired intensity. The more times it is repeated, the higher the quality of the final product. The mix is then dried and immediately ready for consumption.
The dried jasmine petals are often mixed in with the green tea leaves for a more beautiful and appealing appearance but this is not necessary.
The quality and price of the final product depends on the quality of the green tea leaves and the jasmine blossom as well as how often it is mixed and flavoured. Jasmine tea production depends heavily on optimum weather conditions, a good harvest and skilled tea master’s best methods.
History of JasminE Tea
Jasmine tea is thought to have been produced in China for thousands of years starting in the South-Song Dynasty (approximately 1240) and further developed during the Ming Dynasty.
It is believed that the jasmine plant was originally brought to China along the silk road from Iran (then called Persia) in around 300AD for decorative purposes only. It wasn’t until much later that the sweet scent of the jasmine flower was recognised for its qualities in tea.
The production of jasmine tea was perfected over hundreds of years and really reached a height of popularity in the 1900s when it started to be traded overseas in large proportions, particularly to Taiwan where they eventually invested in the plant seeds and started growing the plant itself.
Although jasmine continues to be produced in Taiwan to this day, Chinese Jasmine tea is regarded much more highly for its quality and the skills of the craftsmanship which have been passed down through generations.
The production methods used for jasmine tea needed reassessing in the 1900s when its popularity grew and production spread to all parts of China. The plants had to be grown indoors in pots in some regions because of the differing temperatures and climates. These changes inevitably led to raised production costs.
Later in 1980 the Guangxi Province became the most highly regarded province to develop the best jasmine flowers after a government drive and lots of investment. It remains so to this day.
The popularity of Jasmine tea shows no signs of waning.
We stock an extensive selection, including our award-winning Ronnefeldt Jasmine Xian Yu.This won a Two Star Gold medal at the 2010 Great Taste Awards, thanks to a sweet and flowery flavour that gently cleanses the palate.
There is unfortunately not one rule for brewing methods. This depends on the base tea whether that be green, white or black tea.
Jasmine tea is usually made with green tea so we will start there.
So now we have the base tea, we are one step closer but there are still factors to consider which will influence the brewing methods. You now need to check if the tea leaves are large or small and also consider the shape. Small flat open leaves will inevitably need less time to infuse because there is a greater surface area whereas the larger rolled leaves need time to expand in the water and therefore take longer to release their flavours.
It is always best to give the leaves plenty of room to infuse in the water. Try to use a strainer rather than a small compact infuser.
Firstly, you need to know your own preferred taste; know your own and your guests palettes. This has a huge influence on the desired results.
You need to use fresh cold water, preferably spring water. Try to avoid warm water and hard water and definitely avoid water that has been boiled before.
Bring the water to the boil and immediately add the tea leaves. Letting the water boil too long will affect the final taste and takes away control. If the water is too hot, it can release too many tannins and make a bitter tea. You ideally want the perfect balance between sweet and bitter. The sweetness comes from the amino acids that are present. Some say that you can wet the leaves before infusing them to reduce the release of tannins leaving you with a much smoother, more fragrant tea but again this is down to preference.
Small leaf tea usually needs about 1-2 minutes of infusion and the rolled tea leaves can need up to 3 minutes.
The tea should have a light golden colour. Serve immediately with either spicy or sweet food and enjoy the experience!
The same is true of our Ronnefeldt Jasmine Pearls, which combines the purest of Chinese green teas with delicate jasmine flowers for a smooth flavour that's perfect with spicy cuisine.
One of the nicest features of Jamsine tea is its beautiful appearance. A good example is Jasmine with Petals with its delicate Jasmine flower petals, which tastes every bit as good as it looks.
To find a Jasmine tea of your choice, browse our full range online