Jasmine tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from a special blend of green tea leaves and jasmine flowers. This special floral mix is created by scenting the leaves of the tea plant with fragrant jasmine flowers, using techniques that have been perfected over generations.
History of Jasmine Tea
The use of jasmine flowers to scent tea leaves dates back to around 1000 years ago. Jasmine flowers originate from Persia (now called Iran). It is thought that they were first imported to China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Jasmine tea was one of the earliest flavored teas to be exported to the west in the 1800s, and its fine flavor has been much sought after since then.
Chinese tea growers are only able to create this prized tea during the summer months when the jasmine fields are in bloom. The leaves of the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, are harvested in the early spring. They are then stored until the summer when the jasmine is ready to be harvested. The jasmine buds are hand picked during the day when they are closed. At night, the flowers open and the tea leaves are scented. This creates the unique flavor and distinctive aroma of this tea.back to menu ↑
How to Choose Best Jasmine Tea
How has it been scented?
The standard of jasmine tea depends greatly on how it has been scented. The traditional and most complex method yields the finest tasting teas. This method involves placing the tea and flowers in alternating layers, where they are left for up to four hours. The tea leaves soak up the natural oils of the blossoms and take on their perfumed flavor. Repeating this process several times enhances the quality of the tea.
Top grades of jasmine tea such as Yin Hao and Dragon Pearl can be infused up to nine times in total, and this labor-intensive and sophisticated scenting process will create teas with the most refined of flavors.
Has it been made with fresh jasmine blossoms?
The highest grades of jasmine tea always consist of fine quality tea leaves scented with fresh jasmine blossoms. You will find that cheaper teas are often perfumed with jasmine oil or jasmine extract.
The lowest quality commercial jasmine teas use artificial flavorings, and these simply will not give you the true taste and aroma of the jasmine blossom. If you want the best tasting jasmine tea, ensure that you select one that has been scented with real jasmine flowers.
Was the tea produced in China?
If you are looking for the most authentic and high quality jasmine tea, it is worthwhile choosing one that has been created in China. This is the homeland of jasmine tea, where the technique of producing it has been practiced for centuries. The tea producers here have perfected their skills and refined their product to a high degree.
If you are new to jasmine tea you can begin with a Chinese variety. Look out for tea produced in Fujian province in particular. This is a well rated tea growing area that has a long standing tradition of producing highly esteemed jasmine teas.
What additional information can you find about the tea?
You can become better informed about the qualities of the tea you are buying by gathering information from the seller. It is always a good idea to find out if the tea was made in a traditional tea-producing country. If you are able to discover what kind of method produced the tea and how recently the tea was harvested, you will have a better chance of purchasing the finest and freshest tea. As you get to know the different brands and varieties, make your own comparisons and take a note of those you enjoy most.
What form does the tea come in?
When you are looking to purchase jasmine tea, it is worth knowing that it is sold in various forms. This includes tea bags, loose leaf teas, powder and jasmine pearls. Jasmine pearls are hand-rolled balls or ‘pearls’ of tea leaves that unfurl slowly when infused in water. In general, jasmine pearls and loose leaf teas (also called needle teas) offer you the most authentic and finest tasting teas.
The leftover pieces of tea leaves are often used in many of the cheaper tea bags, and this is one of the main reasons that tea bags tend to be of lower quality. Whole leaves almost always impart a better flavor than the broken up leaves and dust. Tea bags and powders are a good option if you want the convenience that they offer, but it is worth seeking out brands with a good reputation to ensure that the tea leaves are of a high quality.back to menu ↑
How to Buy Jasmine Tea
There are many options for buying jasmine tea, both online and in person. Large online retailers have many types of jasmine tea available for sale. On these sites you can read through buyer reviews to get a better sense of the quality of what you are purchasing. Other online marketplaces give you the possibility of buying directly from sellers in China. If you find a variety you particularly like, buying in bulk is a great option to ensure you have a steady supply of your favorite jasmine tea.
There are also a good range of online shops that specialize in importing teas, and these have a wide selection of teas for you to explore. For example, the companies Cup & Leaf and Tea Forte offer jasmine tea from the Fujian province. The Full Leaf Tea Co. offers certified organic jasmine tea, while The London Tea Merchant sells a jasmine tea that is both organic and fair trade.
If you enjoy shopping locally and being able to look at what you are buying, you can try searching online for ‘tea shops near me’. Then you can pay a visit to your local tea shop. Specialist tea shops should be able to offer you advice on the different types of jasmine tea they have available. Some tea shops allow you to smell the different fragrances of the teas they have for sale, and others even offer tasting options.
What are the best jasmine tea brands?
Also produced in Fuding City, Fujian Province, this tea is an award winner, gaining 2 stars at the 2017 Great Taste Awards. The judges comment on this tea was as follows:
“Lovely quality of leaf. A peachy-pink infusion with beautiful clarity. There is delicate, bright jasmine here, with a very pleasant sweetness.”
The scenting process is repeated with fresh flowers a total of six times. This is an excellent and well balanced jasmine tea that is perfect for every day use. Take your time to read about the story of the farmer who produces this tea, and take in the interesting details given about the place in which the tea is produced.
This is another award winning jasmine tea from Teavivre. These high-grade Superfine Downy pearls are made from tender materials, resulting in a delicious taste and fragrance. The flavor overall is is bold and sweet, with a strong aroma of brisk jasmine fragrance. This tea won 2nd place in Canada’s 2016 Gold Medal Tea Competition.
The scenting process is repeated seven times with fresh flowers for each scenting. The tea takes over a month to make, and one pound of dragon pearl tea will take about four pounds of jasmine flowers during this lengthy process. It is produced in Fuding City, Fujian Province, China.
Yin Hao translates as ‘silver tip’, and this is a deeply perfumed green tea from the Fujian province of China. It has a multi-layered and lingering floral aroma. The flavor is soft, full-bodied and sweet, with a slight dryness in the final moments. This tea has been scented with jasmine blossoms many times over to create a truly rich and perfumed tea. Jasmine Yin Hao is considered to be among the highest grades of jasmine teas, and is a fine choice if you are looking for a tea for special occasions.
Jasmine Phoenix Pearls are hand-rolled pearls from Fuding in the Fujian province, China. When added to hot water, Jasmine Phoenix Pearls unfurl beautifully, releasing their scent and flavor. The tones of this tea are sweet, soft and light. The delicate quality of the flavor is due in part to the leaves used to produce this tea – just two tender, tiny new leaves and one plump unopened leaf bud. Younger leaves give the tea a gentler taste.
Adagio teas are imported directly from the farmers, which makes their teas fresher than those offered by the companies who use middlemen, and this also makes their prices lower than elsewhere. You can enjoy browsing the stories of the tea producers on their website.
This is a rare Chung Hao tea, scented with real jasmine flowers. Certified as being both kosher and organic, this loose leaf tea is produced in the renowned Fujian province. Soft yet intoxicating floral notes from the jasmine blossoms balance well with the fresh Fujian green tea leaves. The aroma of this tea is intensely floral, and the color is golden yellow to green. Highly rated among regular jasmine tea drinkers, and sold at a very modest price.
This is a certified organic jasmine tea that is sustainably produced in the mountains of the Yunnan Province in China. This tea is hand picked and arrives in an attractive, biodegradable container made from recycled paper. It is popular and well reviewed, and the pretty jasmine blossoms remain in the tea where their fragrance and appearance can be savored.
Both the tea leaves and the jasmine flowers used to make this blend area certified to USDA organic standards, so you can be sure you are getting a pure and healthy tea made from entirely natural ingredients. The tea leaves are scented three times with the jasmine blossoms. This a smooth and lightly sweet tea that is perfect for drinking on a daily basis.
Taylors of Harrogate are an English tea company who have been in business for more than 130 years, and have an excellent reputation. If you are used to using tea bags and find them convenient and portable, Taylors jasmine tea is a good choice and it comes at a very reasonable price.
For those who are concerned with the precise details of what they are buying, or for people who are on a strict diet, the Numi brand is a good bet. Full leaf green tea is picked and scented three times with organic jasmine flowers to craft this deliciously floral and delicately flavored premium jasmine green tea. Their jasmine green tea is sourced from one of the first Fair Trade tea cooperatives in China.
This tea boasts every imaginable certification – USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Fair Labor Verified ingredients, Halal and Kosher. The packaging is made from post-consumer recyclables and is entirely biodegradable, as are the tea bags themselves. The tea is guaranteed carbon-free, vegan and gluten-free.back to menu ↑
The Benefits of Jasmine Tea
Jasmine tea is considered to be a very healthy drink. One notable feature of this tea is that it contains high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants work within the body to find and destroy free radicals that can cause diseases. Recent studies have confirmed that jasmine green tea strengthens the immune system through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Adding jasmine tea to your daily routine can also improve the health of your stomach and contribute to good digestion. Scientific surveys confirm that green tea is rich in catechins, which have positive effects on the gastrointestinal system.back to menu ↑
What does Jasmine Tea Taste Like?
Jasmine tea is a delicious, fragrant tea that is light and refreshing. It has a subtle hint of sweetness to it. The jasmine flowers give this drink a perfumed, floral tone when compared to plain green tea.
White tea tends to be milder and more mellow in flavor than jasmine tea. In contrast, pu-erh tea has a much stronger, earthier taste than jasmine tea. Oolong teas are semi–oxidized, which puts them somewhere between green and black teas. Oolong teas have a stronger body and greater complexity of taste than jasmine tea.back to menu ↑
Is Jasmine Tea Caffeine Free?
Jasmine tea is only mildly caffeinated, with a significantly lower amount of caffeine than a traditional cup of black tea. Jasmine flowers themselves do not contain any caffeine – only the green tea leaves have caffeine in them.
Although there can be some variety between different types of green tea leaves, a single 8oz cup of jasmine tea contains roughly 25mg of caffeine. This is a very low amount of caffeine compared to other caffeinated drinks. The same amount of black tea contains 42mg of caffeine, while a single shot of espresso will have around 77mg caffeine.back to menu ↑
How to Brew Jasmine Tea Correctly
Jasmine tea has a base of green tea leaves, and these shouldn’t be brewed with boiling water like black tea. The ideal temperature of the water is around 80°C/176°F. If you want to ensure the very finest taste, use filtered water for making your tea.
Although it depends on your personal taste, you want to brew your tea for between 1 – 3 minutes. Longer than this and it may become bitter. Green tea can be infused several times, and you can allow it steep for an extra 30 – 60 seconds each time.