Jasmine Tea, also known as Xiang Pian or Mo Li Hua Cha, is tea scented with aroma from jasmine blossoms thereby making a scented tea. Typically, jasmine tea has green tea as the tea base although white tea and black tea may also be used. The resulting flavour of jasmine tea is subtly sweet and highly fragrant. It is one of the most arduous and lengthiest teas to be made.
Tea leaves are harvested in the early spring and stored until the late summer when fresh jasmine flowers are in bloom. The farmer relies on exactly the right weather Ã¢â‚¬â€œ good tea needs great flowers, so if the farmer has a run of bad luck with rainy days and poor quality Jasmine, he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the tea.
Jasmine flowers are picked early in the day when the small petals are tightly closed. The flowers are kept cool until nightfall. During the evening (around 7pm-8pm) jasmine flowers open, and release their fragrance, and this is when the tea scenting takes place. There are two main methods used to scent the tea with the jasmine. In one method the tea and flowers are placed in alternating layers; in the other, the tea is blended with jasmine flowers and stored overnight. It takes over four hours for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the jasmine blossoms. Since the tea absorbs moisture from the fresh Jasmine flowers, it must be dried again to prevent spoilage. However the drying process kills the Jasmine fragrance, therefore, the infusing process needs to be repeated up to 9 times to ensure a deep and long-lasting Jasmine taste. To make 1kg top grades teas, 6kg-7kg Jasmine flowers would be used and it might take up to 2 months to make just a single batch. Since Jasmine flowers lose their fragrance during the drying process, most of the petals would be removed later although a few may be left for added colour.
Jasmine tea offers many health benefits, including a reduced risk of cancer, calms nerves, lowers heart rate, blood pressure, reducing the risk of strokes and aiding in reducing high cholesterol levels.