The Exotic Teapot Blog
Dashing Pearls: Jasmine Tea
Jasmine pearls are like no other tea. Hand-rolled, they are magnificent gifts that wait patiently in their tin until you steep them, then release the heady, late-summer night perfume of sweet jasmine, hitting your nose first and then dancing off your tongue. This sweetness rises through the slightly astringent and grassy smack of green tea.
A tea for special occasions, or a healthy treat; akin to ordering yourself flowers that waft in on a summer breeze and come with a side dip of nectar.
What is scented tea?
I guess that is an obvious question, but it is important to note that not all scented teas are made the same. Cheaper, inferior jasmine teas will use artificial oils to scent the tea. High-grade jasmine tea is scented with night-blooming jasmine flowers which are laid out, covering the tea in something almost funereal and symbolic. About 3kg of flowers are used for each kg of tea.
The fascinating life of a jasmine pearl
The amount of work that goes into jasmine pearls is quite astounding, and when you buy them, a whole history stretches back over many months, with many stages of labour. That is the strange wonder of economics, plus time, plus traditional handmade skills & knowledge: ending in your humble cup of tea, enjoyed all over the world.
The first obstacle is that the green tea base is plucked in spring and yet jasmine doesn’t flower until late July; so the tea waits faithfully for its future partner for months. Since these capricious flowers are night-blooming, scenting must take place overnight by intermingling the tea and the blossoms. With premium grade jasmine tea, this scenting is repeated five times or more to powerfully dress the tea with fragrance.
Finally, the tea leaves are shaped by hand. The correct size strands of tea are picked up and then rolled together deftly in one motion. It can take one person up to a whole day to roll one pound of tea this way. This eye-catching form also has advantages for the tea, helping to preserve the oils naturally present in the leaf.
A very special white jasmine tea, and our luxurious pearls
We have two specially-sourced jasmine teas that are fragrant-firecrackers:
We source our jasmine pearls from the Fujian province, the area most famous for jasmine teas and one of the few regions in China where both the tea and jasmine can be grown in proximity. Bask in fields of flowers with this thirst-quenching, honeyed bouquet of light, green tea. It is a revered for a reason.
Imperial Jasmine Silver Needle
A unique blend of refreshing white tea, packed full of antioxidants, combined with a graceful aroma & sweet bursts of jasmine. Fit for emperors this incredibly smooth and delicate white tea is the perfect reason to put some time aside and treat yourself to a quiet moment of lingering calmness.
How to brew delicate teas
White and green teas are more delicate than black teas or oolong. So you should avoid making them in a cast iron teapot. Water temperature should be less than boiling (although white tea is more forgiving). The target for green tea is 71 to 85℃ --you can use a thermometer or just let the kettle stand for a minute or two once boiled.
Use one teaspoon of tea for 250ml water. You can also use the pinch method to get some tactile contact with your tea --simply grab enough tea to hold between your thumb and index finger (use your eyes to judge if it’s about a teaspoon).
Green tea should be steeped for 1.5 to 3 minutes (experiment to find what works best for your tastebuds).
White tea should be steeped for slightly longer, about 4-6 minutes.