Spring is such an amazing time of year and in our area, the Fraser Valley, the air is exceptionally pungent as the farmers are fertilizing the fields for the coming growing season. Now I admit I like the smell of the country but a more elegant smell in my garden comes from my Winter Jasmine. Even though my plant is small the scent is intoxicating!
Jasmine flowers have been used to flavour tea for centuries, it was first created in China during the Ming Dynasty about 1500 A.D. when flowers figured prominently in Chinese culture. Like all teas there are different grades of jasmine depending on the tea used and the method of infusing the scent with the leaves. The end result should be a tea that is fragrant to smell and sweet to taste where the scent enhances the tea rather than over powering it. The jasmine and the tea should compliment each other giving the tea drinker a very special experience.
To create a good quality jasmine tea the fresh picked blossoms are layered over the tea leaves alternatively when the flowers are at their most fragrant. Once the leaves have absorbed the jasmine scent the blossoms are removed and the tea is carefully dried. In a lower grade tea the jasmine is left in the blend this is done to save costs. Unfortunatley the with this processing method the jasmine does over power the tea resulting in a taste that is abrasively sweet, like drinking perfume.
Jasmine tea can be so luxurious in that the tea leaves are actually brought to the jasmine plants rather than the petals being picked brought to the tea leaves! The highest grade is Pearl Jasmine with Yin Hao considered excellent too.
What a nice way to spend a fresh spring morning than enjoying a pot of Jasmine tea as the scent of the blossoms fill the air!