Jasmine Pearls - Spring 2011
Harvest: Spring, 2011
Harvest Region: Simao County, Pu-Erh Prefecture, Yunnan
Hand Crafted Spring Green Tea
Naturally scented with fresh Jasmine Flowers
Our Jasmine Pearls Green Tea is comprised of Spring harvest, 2011 Simao County green tea that has been hand formed into their distinctive pearl shape and naturally scented with fresh Simao area jasmine flowers.
Jasmine pearls are processed like a typical Chinese style green tea. Freshly harvested leaf and bud complexes are allowed to wither or wilt slightly to make them less brittle after plucking. Then they are briefly fired in a relatively low temperature wok to kill the oxidizing enzymes that would turn the leaves brown if left unchecked. At this point, the leaves were formed by hand into these distinctive pearl shapes before the drying and scenting process.
Our Jasmine Pearls are scented naturally with fresh jasmine flowers, without the use of artificial flavorings or oils. Naturally scented Jasmine tea is labor intensive and relatively expensive to produce, and the way one producer put it to me was: “you really have to want to produce natural Jasmine tea.” What he was getting at was the fact that it is much less time and labor intensive to just toss green tea with scented oils and chemicals to produce a “jasmine flavored” tea instead of a jasmine scented tea.
The scenting process involves multiple drying and scenting steps to produce the finished product. First, the tea leaves are placed into a low temperature oven to reduce their residual moisture content. Then, fresh jasmine flowers are packed in with the dry tea leaves. Since dry tea readily absorbs both moisture and aroma from its environment, the tea leaves absorb the fragrant “juice” from the flowers, scenting the tea leaves with the distinctive aroma of the jasmine flowers. The drying and scenting process is repeated as many as eight to ten times until the desired level of jasmine aroma is accumulated in the tea leaves.
The end result of all this work to process and scent these jasmine green tea pearls is really lovely. When steeped, the tea pearls unfurl into near perfect whole leaf and bud sets interspersed with the occasional dry jasmine flower. The liquor is a crystal clear honey color with a distinctive but not overpowering aroma of jasmine. The jasmine scenting is not overpowering at all.
In response to many customer requests for good, naturally scented jasmine teas, I spent a lot of time tasting jasmine teas this Spring, and most were truly not pleasant to my taste at all. To my palate, this particular one had the best balance between the flavor of the tea and the jasmine aroma, and I hope our jasmine tea aficionados agree.