If you’re a tea drinker, it’s likely that you’ve tried jasmine tea. Jasmine tea is the most popular blend of Chinese tea and has been produced for more than 700 years. It was first produced during the Sung dynasty, by plucking the jasmine leaves as soon as they begin to bloom.
The freshly plucked jasmine leaves were stored in a cool place until nightfall when the blossoms began to release their fragrance. Then the jasmine petals were added to dry heaps of tea leaves, to allow the dry tea leaves to absorb the fragrance. Ordinary grades were scented two or three times; the special grades even more. Today, the process is much the same, though it may not be carried out by hand these days.
The best jasmine tea is said to come from the Fujian province in China. This is because this area of China produces the largest and heaviest scented jasmine leaves and some of the loosest tea leaves, which can absorb the jasmine fragrance better.
Like with most other teas, the first pluckings in the spring produce the very best jasmine tea because the tea leaves are so tender. In fact, jasmine tea produced from the first pluckings of the tea leaves is sometimes referred to as “Spring Breeze” jasmine tea.
Jasmine tea has been the favourite tea of those in northern China for many years but has gained favour all over the world in more recent years. There are some interesting facts and differences about jasmine tea.
•It was believed to have spiritual powers – One of the reasons that jasmine tea became so popular came from the belief that the tea held special spiritual powers. This made it a favourite for tea ceremonies.
•Jasmine tea can be made from green, oolong, white and black tea – You can find jasmine tea in your favourite variety of tea, whether green, black, oolong or white. Most jasmine tea is made with green tea, but it is possible to find other varieties.
So, if you’re in the market for jasmine tea, which should you choose?
Well, of course, it depends on your tastes. It’s likely that your favourite jasmine tea will be the one that’s combined with your favourite tea to drink plain. But, you should experiment with other forms of jasmine tea. You may find that other teas that don’t really appeal to you in their plainest form are very appealing when combined with jasmine. Here are some characteristics of the different varieties of jasmine tea.
Jasmine Green Tea – This is the most common form of Jasmine tea. Jasmine green tea is one of the healthiest ways to drink jasmine tea. Jasmine green tea has a very natural and light flavour, with the plant taste of green tea complemented by the sweet and fragrant jasmine blossoms.
These natural anti-oxidants protect our health by neutralizing the free radicals in our bodies. These free radicals, which are created during our digestive process, can damage our cells and DNA if we don’t keep them in check. A diet rich in anti-oxidants like those found in green and white tea keeps these free radicals under control.
Oolong Jasmine Tea – Oolong jasmine tea is likely the second most common form of green tea. Oolong teas are semi-fermented, meaning that they are fermented for a shorter period of time than black teas. To produce an oolong tea, fermentation must be stopped when the leaves are 30% red and 70% green.
It is the ability to stop the fermentation at precisely the right time that gives oolong teas their distinct flavour. Most oolong teas are dried using charcoal, giving it another distinct dimension. Oolong jasmine teas are smooth with the fruity taste that is common in oolong tea. However, the jasmine also makes the tea fragrant and sweet.
White Jasmine Tea – The combination of light and sweet white tea with fragrant jasmine makes for a very delicate flavour. As white tea gains popularity in the Western world, it’s likely that white jasmine tea will become easier to find. Because white tea, like green tea, is unfermented, you’ll gain the same health benefits from drinking white tea that green tea provides.
Black Jasmine Tea – While black tea is the most common variety of tea consumed in the Western world, it is the tea least commonly combined with jasmine. Black tea is bolder and stronger than green and white teas, so the jasmine is not as prominent in the flavour or aroma.
Regardless of the variety of tea you choose, it’s likely you’ll find that the addition of jasmine is a true delight. Most tea drinkers find the scent of jasmine tea very soothing, making it a great tea to enjoy in the evening.
You’re certain to want to sample many varieties of jasmine tea to determine your favourites. If you love the fragrance and sweetness of jasmine combined with tea as much as I do, you’ll have a favourite jasmine tea from every tea variety available!