Jasmine Pearls are a firm favourite here at JING. These hand-rolled leaves offer the perfect balance of silver-tipped green tea for a refreshing, grassy taste, that have been scented with real jasmine flowers (over five whole nights) for an abundant floral fragrance. If you’ve tried this tea before, you’ll know this combination of taste and aroma can create a moment of calm clarity which makes it one that I’m always happy to have in my cupboard – especially since I’ve been spending more time at home, with more time to savour a cup of tea.
Although world events continue to keep us grounded, we’ve been able to virtually visit gardens and catch up with farmers as they prepare for spring 2021 via colleagues in China. Our team in Shanghai recently took a short trip to meet tea maker Liu Guonqing in Fujian where they took a walk in Houping garden and toured the tea processing factory toward the end of the busy spring harvest.
As well as sharing their trip highlights in this deep dive, I’ll also be including my top tasting notes for this tea and the simple recipe I like to use for getting the best taste.
Origin: Houping Garden, Fujian, China
Cultivar: Fuding Da Bai Hao
Name: Named for the shape of the pearl-like, rolled tea leaves which have been scented with real jasmine flowers
Style: Jasmine scented green tea
Terroir: This tea comes from the north of Fujian province, where seasonal temperate weather and lush, green mountains have created an ideal environment for centuries of tea production among the small towns and rural villages.
Picking Season: Spring 2021
Leaf: Tightly rolled pearls of silver-tipped green tea.
Infusion: A beautiful, golden fawn infusion.
How did we source this batch of Jasmine Pearls and who made it?
In the north of China’s largest tea producing province, among the mountainous landscape, lies Houping tea garden, home to tea producer Liu Quoqing. We’ve been sourcing the green tea for our Jasmine Pearls from Liu for a few years. When our team visited a few weeks ago, another busy spring season was drawing to a close. In China, Spring is the most important time of year for tea production. Around early March to late April is when the first flush of tender buds and flavourful young leaves begin to appear on the tea bushes. These are perfect for crafting into a grassy and sweet green tea.
“The numbers of plants, animals and insects in the garden are growing. There are spiders, butterflies, and ladybugs in the garden, and more birds are coming as well.”
Tea is not the only thing springing back to life in the garden. A decline in the use of pesticides in the area and Liu’s own efforts to continue his organic growing practises have meant that the environment and wildlife around his tea bushes has improved. However, as Liu explains, these methods do influence the hard work of maintaining the garden.
“It’s more and more difficult to find the manpower, especially for the picking season. In July and August, it’s almost impossible to find the right manpower to weed manually without the use of pesticides.”
But Liu knows that his efforts of more than 20 years of tea making will continue pay off. He’s up and ready each day of the spring harvest at 6am, a favourite time of the day due to the cooler weather. He gathers his tools for tea picking and heads to the garden to meet the team, which can be up to 300 strong in the peak season. They work solidly until the daily lunch break around 11am, when everyone will eat their meal in the garden (which is prepared by the tea factory). Of course, everyone gets through the long days by drinking plenty of tea and Liu pre-prepares a big batch of white tea to drink when he’s thirsty.
“Drinking tea has been a habit of our life, every family grows some tea for themselves. Before that, tea was not only a drink but also a kind of herbal medicine.”
Even with all this hard work, Liu admits that this year has been particularly difficult for the garden. Not only because of wider world events but shifting weather conditions. This has meant that the bushes have had to ride out long periods of drought. The prized silvery buds on his tea bushes are much smaller than usual and the yields have been decreasing considerably too. Though these smaller, precious buds are still full of refreshing flavour and can be even sweeter with a slight melon fruitiness. With great experience, Liu seems to take it all in his stride.
“Each tea plantation still has its own way of making tea, but more importantly, years of accumulated experience will play a key role. Every single step matters. You can never be too careful.”
What is this batch of Jasmine Pearls like to drink?
Our Jasmine scented teas are known for their clear and sweet floral fragrance, but with the addition of green tea in our Jasmine Pearls, you also get a high quality green tea that captures the essence of spring fresh flavour.
The aroma of jasmine is apparent from simply opening the bag of tea, with a slight citrus fruitiness coming through from the green tea. Once infused, the aroma is much deeper and thicker with the floral notes becoming slightly more meadowy-fresh which I always find to be calming. What I love about the taste is that it’s really accessible, the jasmine confidently comes through and lifts the refreshing grassiness of the green tea with an added sweet finish and no bitterness at all. It’s also velvety smooth to drink, which I think adds to the calming and focused sensation of this tea.
Where and when is this tea for?
In the words of tea maker Liu, this is a tea for ‘Anytime, anywhere’, and I couldn’t agree more. I think these Jasmine Pearls would be a great way to kick off the morning. It’s an enlivening cup of green tea, just with added fragrance. It would also work well as an afternoon or after dinner cup of tea as the sweetness would certainly help to cleanse the palate. Almost indulgent, this infusion will see you through to the end of day with a sense of calm from the floral aroma. This is definitely one to try as a cold infusion too, bringing out even more sweetness that you can sip slowly throughout the day to stay refreshed. Check out our recipe below.
What is it like to make and how easy is it to get a good taste?
This is a really easy tea to get right, the floral aroma and meadowy fresh green tea flavours are accessible by using 80˚C water for the infusion – the lower temperature water will help to bring out the floral top notes and sweetness. Doing this ensures a smooth texture with no chance of bitterness or drying astringency. Here’s how I made mine:
4g per 250ml; 80˚C water; 3 min infusion – Pour out all the liquid once infused. Re-infuse at 90˚C.
If you prefer something more cooling and super refreshing then try out our cold infusion recipe for an even sweeter, floral experience. Simply pour cold, filtered water over the leaves and leave in the fridge to infuse for a few hours. Then you can decant it over ice for the perfect summer drink:
8g per 250ml; cold water; up to 4 hours – decant all the liquid once infused.
Who is this tea for?
This is a tea that everyone can enjoy. If you’re a fan of green tea, then the addition of a soothing jasmine aroma will add to your regular green tea experience. Those who are new to green tea will find this an easy way in as the sweet fragrance and thick texture are sure to grab your attention with a flavour that’s easy to love.
Young spring picked buds of green tea, naturally scented with fresh jasmine flowers over five whole nights. The result is a soft, vivid infusion with the sublimely enchanting aroma of sweet, fragrant jasmine.
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