Chinese Jasmine Tea
Historically it is said that China introduced the Jasmine plant from South Asia during the Han Dynasty - somewhere between 206 BC and 220 AD - but didn't start cultivating Jasmine tea until almost three centuries later, only growing in popularity when tea export to the West grew exponentially as the years passed.
Some of Jasmine tea regions of China include Yunnan, Zhejiang and Jiangxi, but it is Fujian that has long held the honour of being the most traditional place for production. Tradition isn't always everything though, and beautiful examples of Jasmine tea can be rendered by dedicated and skilled masters elsewhere. You just have to know where to look and what you're looking for, which is why we're lucky to be on the ground for so much of the year.
What is jasmine tea?
Jasmine tea is any tea that has been scented or fragranced with the smell of Jasmine flowers. You can find examples of jasmine tea from white to black, but white and green teas are mostly commonly associated with this process. There many ways in which the tea can be married with jasmine and it can be done artificially, which is common, or more authentically through a natural process. The former renders an inconsistent and 'fake' taste which is nowhere near as pleasing as the latter.
JING jasmine teas are fragranced naturally by only using whole, fresh jasmine flowers. The process is laborious but well worth the effort. Our teas are picked in early spring and, if they are to be scented, packed and kept airtight in a cool environment. When jasmine comes into full bloom in the summer in the neighbouring province of Guangxi, the flowers are picked early in the day. When night comes the flower opens fully and they are laid to layer with the tea leaves where the intense and wonderful scent can be imparted and bound with the leaf. By morning, the process must be started all over again and this will happen for up to five consecutive nights as the jasmine flower only lasts for 24-hrs once picked. It's a labour of love well worth it for the results.
What is jasmine green tea good for
As with any tea, it is difficult to be absolute when it comes to health benefits more specific than the fact that it is excellent for hydrating and uplifting the drinker. We always maintain that the best tea for you is the one that you enjoy the most and that this can be enhanced by taking a quiet moment of relaxed focus to yourself to prepare and drink your tea. Jasmine tea itself has long been associated with health, used traditionally in Chinese medicine for conditions related to the heart and to soothe inflammation of the muscles and joints. Tea is full of antioxidants, namely catechins, and these are highly regarded for their benefit to the health, especially around metabolism.
If you enjoy Jasmine tea, we can say for certain that this pleasure is by far the best health benefit, though.
Jasmine Tea and Caffeine
It is quite difficult to determine the exact amount of caffeine in any tea type on the whole without testing every single batch that is produced, as there are so many variables that will ultimately have implications for the result, such as the time at which it was picked, what the weather has been like during growth and how it was processed. The amount of caffeine in a Jasmine tea will vary also between whether it is a white, green or black tea. Needless to say, however, that the caffeine in tea as a beverage is far lower than that of a cup of coffee. What's more, an amino acid in tea - theanine - helps to slow the absorption of caffeine in the blood and so uplifts you gently, rather than give you the spike associated with coffee.
If you're concerned about tea and caffeine, be sure to read our blog on the subject.
How to make the perfect cup
Preparing jasmine tea is very straightforward. Every JING tea – including our Jasmine Silver Needle and Jasmine Pearls – comes with tailored instructions for infusing the perfect cup. If you have the right teaware, there are only three elements to think about: tea, water and time.
You rarely require boiling water: for both of our jasmine teas, the optimum temperature is 80ºC. There are a couple of easy ways you can achieve that temperature. You could use a temperature-controlled kettle or you can pour cold water straight onto the leaves in your teapot, before topping up with boiling water. For 80ºC the cold water should be around 20% of the total water volume.
Because water makes up the majority of the infusion, it’s important to use the best quality water you can. We recommend filtered or softened water. That’s because hard water (and limescale) can change the taste of tea as a result of its higher concentration of minerals.
For the tea, quality is also key. The best teas tend to be loose leaf teas – look for ones in which both the jasmine and the white or green tea leaves have been freshly picked and stored well. In terms of amounts, for our Jasmine Silver Needle we have found the optimum measure is 4g (or 3 tsp) per 250ml cup. For Jasmine Pearls it’s 5g (or 2 tsp).
The third and final element is time. To make things as simple as possible, our fresh jasmine tea recipes are standardised for a three-minute infusion. Which means there’s just one thing left to mention: the teaware. If you are making loose leaf tea – as we recommend you do wherever possible – the volume of the teapot you use should match the total volume of the cups. For example, if you’re making 250ml cups for two people, the teapot should be around 500ml – ideally with a bit of extra space for the leaves to absorb some of the water. Doing this will ensure a balanced infusion – and that the leaves won’t be left in water, so you can reinfuse them.
Picking the Right Jasmine Tea for You
A long-standing favourite, Jasmine Silver Needle combines the best Silver Needle tea buds with the fragrance of fresh jasmine flavours. It is grown in Yunnan, China in early spring and scented in the summer with jasmine. The sweet vanilla notes of the white tea are perfectly balanced with the fresh, fragrant flavours of the jasmine.
Sappy, spring fresh green tea from Fujian is picked and reserved in cold-store until the summer months. The tea leaves are then masterfully hand-tied with an arch of sweet and enchanting jasmine blossoms by skilled artisans. Upon infusion, the bulbs unfurl into an enchanting display of vibrantly coloured flowers.
Each pearl is hand-made by nimbly rolling spring fresh green tea into pearls which are then naturally fragranced by the scent of whole summer jasmine flowers. Loved also for their visual quality, they slowly unfurl into their infusion, rendering a soft, sweet and uplifting cup of tea.
This set is the perfect gift for someone who is new to exploring the world of single garden loose tea. It includes two of our bestsellers – a recyclable caddy of Jasmine Silver Needle white tea (30g) and our One Cup Tea-iere.