|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (March 2013)|
Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl tea
Jasmine tea (Chinese: 茉莉花茶; pinyin: mòlìhuā chá) is a type of scented tea which absorbs aroma from jasmine blossoms. Scented tea was known during the time of the Song Dynasty (960–1279); however it was reserved for the Imperial Court. Typically, jasmine tea employs green tea as the tea base; however, white tea and even black tea are also now used. The resulting flavor of jasmine tea is subtly sweet and highly fragrant. It is the most famous scented tea in China.
Scented tea was known in China since the Song Dynasty. Cai Xiang wrote in the classic work The Record of Tea: "Tea has natural fragrance, entered as an imperial tribute item; to which a tiny amount of borneo camphor is added; in order to change its fragrance." This proves that during the Song Dynasty tea was scented with musk and borneo camphor, although it was only available to royalty at the time. The Jasmine plant is believed to have been introduced into China from Persia via India during the Han Dynasty, along with the introduction of Buddhism into China. However, Jasmine tea did not become widespread until the Qing Dynasty when tea started to be exported in large quantities to the West.
The jasmine plant is grown at high elevations in the mountains. Jasmine tea produced in the Chinese province of Fujian enjoys the best reputation. Jasmine tea is also produced in Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Zhejiang provinces. Vietnam is also known for the production of jasmine tea.
Tea leaves are harvested in the early spring and stored until the late summer when fresh Jasmine flowers are in bloom. Jasmine flowers are picked in the late afternoon when the small petals are tightly closed. The flowers are kept cool until nightfall. In the early evening, when the flowers begin to open, the tea is blended with Jasmine flowers and stored overnight. During the night Jasmine flowers open, bloom and release their fragrance into the tea. It takes over four hours for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavor of the jasmine blossoms. This scenting process may be repeated for as many as six or seven times. The tea absorbs moisture from the fresh Jasmine flowers so it must be dried again to prevent spoilage.
In northern China it is customary to serve Jasmine tea as a welcoming gesture to guests. Jasmine tea is the local tea beverage of Fuzhou, while Jasmine flowers are the municipal flower of that city.
Jasmine species commonly used as an ingredients for Jasmine tea:
- Gong, Wen. Lifestyle in China. 五洲传播出版社, 2007. Retrieved Oct. 23, 2010, from