There’s a buzz around the office at the moment. Not just because it’s reopening and we’re delighted to see each other, but because we’re launching a brand new type of product.
Ed has told you a bit about where the idea for Jasmine Pearls Sparkling Tea came from. I just want to show you how we made it – and perhaps explain why it’s taken so many rounds of testing to get here.
Where did the recipe come from?
Every summer we’ve been cold infusing our teas. Not only does this give us a cool alternative for the warmer months, but it’s a great way to get the most aromatic flavours from tea leaves without any bitterness.
In 2016 I found a supreme grade of Jasmine Pearls with incredible aroma and body. I tried cold infusing it, and it made a big show of the jasmine aromas, while the green tea base brought texture and body. It tasted so good, I never really forgot about it.
The following year I was working on a tea pairing with Club Gascon, a Michelin-starred restaurant in London. Head sommelier at the time, Julien, had fallen for Jasmine Pearls Supreme too and before I went along to meet Julien, I also acquired a soda splash…
Back in 2015 chef Ivan Brehm – another man with Michelin credentials – spent a summer in our office and we played around with food pairings, recipe testing and a nitrogen charger that he started using to add fizz to our teas. His thinking was that this would help bring the aroma to the nose (the aroma of cold infused tea doesn’t always diffuse in the same way as hot tea), while adding interest in the mouth.
With Julien we used CO2 instead of nitrogen to carbonate the Jasmine Pearls and found that the bubbles did indeed help open up the flavour by bringing more aroma to the nose. We served our first sparkling Jasmine Pearls at a pairing dinner and it was a big success.
Then we just had to make it in large enough quantities…
All the experiments I’ve mentioned so far above took place on a very small scale in the office tasting room. As well as my soda splash, I set myself up with a bench-top pasteuriser acquired from a home-brew cider business and a filtration unit from a lab company.
At this point we were getting more and more requests for cold bottled tea. But getting from small 500ml batches made in the office to producing much bigger quantities with consistent quality was another leap.
My next stop was Japan, where the best bottled tea in the world has traditionally been made, and where I knew people who shared our purist approach of just tea and water. After an inspiring few weeks there, the journey took me to Scotland, when I realised the Scottish water made the cold infused Jasmine Pearls taste even better. And finally to Italy, where I found a tartaric acid, which is extracted from grapes as a byproduct of wine production. Tartaric acid is a natural way to maintain acidity in the drink – and so keep the tea naturally fresh in the bottle.
Tea, water, acidity - the last element is the bubbles themselves. Given the purity of the cold infused Jasmine Pearls, we went for small bubbles to give the drink light smooth effervescence. They look beautiful, and they won’t overwhelm your nose when you raise your glass. Instead these delicate bubbles will refresh and deliver the right amount of flavour and aroma.
The final result
What makes me love this Sparkling Jasmine Pearls, it that it has retained the natural and recognisable flavour of the tea – unlike the many bottled teas and other drinks which contain tea which I’ve tried during this development. We’ve made something without sugars or flavourings - which are simpler ways to make a delicious drink – and still it manages to be exquisite in flavour without these additions.
…And the best way to drink it
We experimented and found a champagne flute is the best showcase for enjoying this sparkling tea. A flute retains the bubbles and keeps a cool temperature. You’ll get the jasmine aroma, but also the light, complex flavours that reveal themselves slowly the more you drink. It makes for a refreshing and dry, adult character with moreish qualities.
Jasmine Pearls Sparkling Tea
Showcasing the power of people and nature working in harmony, this deliciously intriguing drink will take you on a sophisticated and moreish taste journey. The purity of single garden tea slowly infused and made sparkling enables you to celebrate the moment with something truly special that is non-alcoholic and natural