A Guide To Flowering Tea

A Guide to Flowering Tea

Our flowering tea bulbs consist of young, green tea buds hand-tied around a selection of celebrated Chinese flowers and shaped into small chestnut sized balls. The real magic occurs when you place them in boiling water and watch as the entire bulb unfurls. Revealing a beautiful arrangement of brightly coloured flowers, floating among a blossom of stunning tea buds, this is a delectable display of craftsmanship.

THE ORIGIN OF FLOWERING TEA

The process for creating this style of tea originates from two of the most reputable provinces for tea in China; Fujian and Yunnan.

We source our four hand-crafted, flowering teas from Fujian province as the large buds of the Fuding Da Bai cultivar are perfectly suited to hand tying. Renowned as the modern home of white tea and the birth place of both oolong and black tea, Fujian province continues to lead the way with its creative styles of tea processing.

HOW ARE THEY MADE?

Flowering teas are commonly made using the long, thick spring buds of the tea plant, which are processed as either white, green or black tea and then cold-stored for freshness until the summer. Our flowering teas are made using a green tea for its sappy and refreshing qualities, with added depth of flavour.

Once the summer arrives and the flowers begin to come into season, artisans can begin their work of hand-crafting the tea bulbs. Firstly, the spring tea is taken out of storage, collected in small handfuls and tied together into tidy bundles, forming the exterior of the arrangement. Then, each high quality flower is specifically chosen and carefully woven into the centre of the tied tea buds, with great skill and patience. Once everything has been securely tied together, the precious collection of buds and flowers are placed into a small cotton bag and moulded, by hand, into the tight bulb shape, ready for the final drying stage. This whole process is extremely laborious and can take an entire days’ work of many skilled artisans to masterfully tie and create a limited amount of each individual flowering bulb.

WHAT FLOWERS ARE USED?

Just as with the tea, great consideration also goes into the specific flowers that are used for these arrangements. Often you will see jasmine, lily, osmanthus and sometimes even roses used, each of which have a different significance and cultural meaning. For example, osmanthus flowers have been cultivated in China for over 2,500 years and are connected with China’s mid-Autumn festival, due to a fairy tale about a man named Wu Gang. Wu is ordered to cut down a mythical osmanthus tree on the moon every night, but the tree never falls down. He is only ever allowed to take a break during the autumn festival and this is when the tree sprouts its fragrant flowers.

JING FLOWERING TEAS 

Each of our flowering teas has a distinguished floral aroma for you to explore, complemented by the refreshing and sappy flavour of the single origin green tea. For a mesmerising and unforgettable infusion, we find that these teas are best appreciated in a large, glass tea infuser, such as our Two Cup Tea-iere or Two Cup Teapot. Simply place one bulb in your chosen teaware, add boiling water and watch it unfurl majestically. Once fully opened, you can decant the tea and enjoy the delicious infusion.

A Guide to Jasmine Tea

Jasmine Tea Guide

Jasmine tea is one of the most popular Chinese teas, served in restaurants, hotels and homes throughout the world. We've created our Jasmine Tea Guide to help answer any questions you might have about this delicate tea category.

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.

Jasmine Tea Guide

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.

Jasmine Tea Health Benefits

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.

Enjoying tea in the One Cup Teapot Set
Jasmine Silver Needle Loose Tea

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. 

 

 

Picking the Right Jasmine Tea for You

Jasmine Silver Needle Loose Tea

Jasmine Silver Needle

WHITE TEA

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.

Flowering Jasmine & Lily

FLOWERING TEA

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.

Jasmine Pearls Loose Tea

Jasmine Pearls

GREEN TEA

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.

A Flowering Tea Master And Her Mastery Of Flowering Tea

Although she doesn't have the look of a wizened old sage, she really is a flowering tea master.   With her beautiful, delicate and skilled hands, she makes some of the finest flowering teas in China and also teaches all the flowering tea artists in the production house.

First, tea buds are picked from fields around Fuan from Da Bai tea trees.

Then, after withering they are taken to the hand-tying house to be individually selected and tied together in neat little stacks

Then flowers are tied onto the tea stack

Various flowers can be used including lily, red amaranth and jasmine flowers.  These are grown in Anhui, Tibet and Yunnan provinces

Finally the stack of flowers and tea buds is carefully shaped into a ball and wrapped in muslin to keep the shape while it's dried over gentle heat.  (Sorry, I forgot to get a photo of this and all the old ones I have look rubbish - we will put a video up soon though.)And this is what you are left with.  Serving tip: watch your tea open and enjoy the light, sweet aromtic flavours, whilst thinking of the skilled tea master and imagining yourself  in the mystic scene in the background to this photo.

 

Teas ‘Touched’ By Flowers

The Story Behind our Floral Mother's Day Gifts

The tradition of giving flowers on Mother's Day in the UK dates far back in history. In the sixteenth century, young domestic workers living away from home were given this day off to spend time with their families and on the way home, they would pick up wild flowers to give as a gift. It is believed that springtime and flowers are more generally connected with mothers by their shared representation of life and fertility.

 

Mother’s Day in the UK falls during the first days of spring, typically when daffodils and the first blooms begin to bring light and colour to the season. As the ritual of giving flowers on Mother’s Day continues to thrive today, we have curated a selection of our teas that have been 'touched' by flowers to create their unique flavour and aroma for a beautiful Mother’s Day gift set.

Earl Grey

S I N G L E  O R I G I N   B L A C K   T E A

Invigorating Ceylon from Ruhuna, Sri Lanka, lifted by fresh and exuberant citrus. 

Our Earl Grey is masterfully blended to ensure the perfect balance of flavour. Designed to complement and not overwhelm, a touch of natural bergamot extract tempers the inherent richness of the tea for supreme texture and flavour. Bergamot is a citrus fruit, native to South East Asia and now most prominently grown in Calabria, Southern Italy. When blended with black tea, high quality bergamot oil delivers a refreshing, citrus lift to the infusion.

Whilst the bergamot plant produces a beautiful spring blossom, it is not these flowers that connect this tea to our floral selection. Instead, the connection is with the delicate blue cornflower petals that are scattered among the black tea leaves. Although these don't impart flavour, they engage the eyes and remind us of the history of this traditional English tea. It is believed that when Earl Grey was first sold in the London tea auctions, tea merchants used a sprinkling of cornflower petals to highlight the highest quality Earl Grey teas.

Jasmine Silver Needle

S I N G L E  G A R D E N   W H I T E   T E A

Serene with honeyed apple and intense jasmine scents from Yinpan Garden, Yunnan, China.

The jasmine flower needs no introduction. An iconic summer scent, both emotive and uplifting, this flower naturally imparts its delicate flavour to our hand-picked white tea buds to create our Jasmine Silver Needle tea.

In the spring, the tea buds are picked in Yunnan and processed into white tea. In July, when the jasmine blossoms in the neighbouring province of Guangxi, the white tea buds are gently laid on bamboo trays and covered with a layer of fresh jasmine buds. As dusk falls and the temperature drops, the jasmine buds slowly open and release their natural scent overnight. In the morning, the spent flowers are very carefully removed and the tea buds are left to air dry, having naturally absorbed the jasmine oil. This process is repeated for five consecutive nights until the tea buds are fully infused with the jasmine oil.

This is a pure and natural ancient method for scenting tea with jasmine and we have been working with the same tea master, Mr. Guo Ronglong, for ten seasons as he manages this intricate process and consistently achieves outstanding results.

Flowering Jasmine & Lily

F L O W E R I N G   T E A

Sappy, spring-fresh green tea from Fujian, China, with sweet jasmine blossoms and soft lily petal musk.

To make Flowering Jasmine & Lily, we select the best single origin green tea from the spring crop and keep it in cold-store until the summer. The tea leaves are then hand-tied with natural flowers by skilled artisans.

A traditional way to present tea in both Yunnan and Fujian, flowering teas captivate drinkers as they unfurl and dance around the tea pot into an enchanting display of vibrantly coloured flowers. We recommend infusing flowering teas in our glass tea-ieres to fully enjoy this mesmerising experience.

A Guide to Scented Tea

Guide to Scented Tea

With good single origin teas, the flavour profile is often so complex and satisfying that there is no need to blend or add fragrances. Despite this though, if the pairing is just right, scented teas can be wonderful and bring a whole new element to the sensory enjoyment of tea.

In China, teas have long been scented with flowers such as whole rosebuds, jasmine and chrysanthemum. And sometimes, it is so that even though scented teas are deliberately made, it has long been thought that the biodiversity of some tea gardens means that the tea plants pick up notes of nearby flowering gardens.

Loose Blue Cornflowers for Earl Grey Loose Tea

What is scented tea?

Scented teas are those that have been fragranced with the scent of flowers, fruits or herbs to impart a complementary flavour or quality, such as the ability to soothe, or provide an added sensory flare to the experience of preparing and enjoying tea.

Some scented, or flavoured teas as they are also known, will have been fragranced by artificial means but the very best are the ones that have absorbed the scent naturally and slowly - as an example, our Jasmine teas take five days to scent fully with whole Jasmine flowers; it's a real labour of love. This is better not only for the taste and experience, but for the benefit of your body and health. Jasmine especially comes with highly regarded properties.

Scented Tea Health Benefits

The most important health aspect of enjoying tea is that it is as uplifting as it is hydrating. There is much research around the health benefits of teas, although many aren't truly conclusive. So it is that we only say two things: one is that the tea (or teas) that you enjoy the most are the ones that are best for you, and two, is that flowers, fruit and herbs are full of varying kinds antioxidants that we know are good for fighting free radicals in the body, thus having a positive impact of the health of the individual.

Other uses for Scented Tea

Scented tea is not only a delicious hot beverage, but can also be enjoyed in a number of different ways. Firstly, they make excellent cold infusions in the summer to drink by the glassful or as palate cleansers between meals. In the number of Michelin-starred restaurants and hotels that we work with, scented teas are often used to give structure or added complexity to cocktails. Earl Grey and Jasmine Teas also make excellent additions to baked foods - infused with icing or pastry, or ground into a fine powder. If you're keen to protect the integrity of these teas though, simply serve them as a pairing with another delicious thing.

Blood Orange Earl Grey and Cardamom Bun
Blood Orange, Earl Grey & Cardamom Bun. Photography and recipe credit to: Aimee Twigger @twiggstudios
Jasmine Silver Needle Loose Tea

Scented Tea and Caffeine

Within our range, we scent: black, white and green teas. This means we cannot determine the levels of caffeine in scented tea on the whole. When consumed though, tea has a lot less caffeine than coffee. Tea also has an  amino acid - ‘L-theanine’ - that binds with caffeine to uplift and relax the body. It is also said that the antioxidants in tea slow the absorption of caffeine, rewarding you with a more sustained feeling of alertness without the sudden crash that comes with coffee.

If you're concerned about caffeine in tea, be sure to read our tea and caffeine research and guide.

Scented Tea Tips

What's the best way to make scented tea? Well, there are some golden rules to follow, but we'd advise taking a few minutes of calm focus to really enjoy the uplifting appearance taste and fragrance of these beautiful teas.

Tip One

The quality of the water is as important as the quality of the tea. If your water is hard and treated with chemicals, invest in a water filter. They will go a long way in improving your tea. Softer water has a lower mineral content, allowing the flavours of the tea to come through.

Tip Two

Getting the water temperature right is key when making any tea. Black teas ought to be made with boiling water to fully draw out their complex flavours, while white and green teas are more delicate and should be treated with water between 70- 80-degrees to prevent scalding the leaf.

Tip Three

Getting the ratio of water to tea right is crucial, as is the steeping time. Each tea variety is unique, so make sure to read the instructions for each. As a general rule though, 3-minutes renders a balanced infusion.

Tip Four

We want the full flavour of our tea to reach your cup, which is why we put so much care into its packaging. Our tea bags and tea caddies are designed to ensure that the tea stays fresh and flavourful – they’re airtight, sealed, and opaque to block out sunlight. Store your tea in a cool and dry area as well.

Picking the right scented tea for you

Earl Grey Loose Tea

Earl Grey

SCENTED BLACK TEA

 A traditional tea, we've scented our Earl Grey with a beautiful and natural bergamot oil. A scattering of blue cornflowers adds visual flare. Consistently rated 5* by our customers, it is regarded for its fresh and zesty flavour, with the added depth of black tea.

Jasmine Pearls Loose Tea

Jasmine Pearls

SCENTED GREEN TEA

 Our Jasmine Pearls are nimbly rolled by hand after the tea has been left to mingle with fresh jasmine flowers over five consecutive nights. It's a lot of work, but worth it for the rounded and delicate scent absorbed by the leaves.

Ceylon and Rose Loose Tea

 Ceylon & Rose

SCENTED BLACK TEA

 A rich and rousing Ceylon from Sri Lanka is packed with whole rosebuds, leaving the two to marry slowly until infusion when the delicate scent and flavour of rose comes to life, adding to the uplifting experience of black tea.

Discover the scented tea range now

Extra reading

Chai Tea Pairing

Chai Tea with Apple, Fig & Pecan Scones

A RECIPE

Looking for a traditional afternoon treat with an Indian twist? Follow this easy recipe from Hannah at D0mestic Gothess blog for decadent scones paired with our scented chai black tea.

Chinese Egg Cakes and Tea Pairing

Jasmine Tea and Chinese Egg Cakes

A PAIRING & RECIPE

 Our friend Carole Poirot - food stylist and photographer - shares her simple recipe for Chinese egg cakes. The perfect accompaniment to our delicate Jasmine Silver Needle white tea.

Cold infused tea with elderflower

Silver Needle White Tea & Elderflower

A COLD INFUSION SUGGESTION

Why not try your own hand at creating a scented tea? Summer is a great time to pick flowers and cold infuse them with tea, so we did just that with June elderflower and silver needle white tea.

Top Five Tea Gifts for Father’s Day

Tea Gifts for Father's Day

Buying a thoughtful tea gift can take time and thought. If you know you’re looking for a tea gift, you’re half way there: we’ve made a quick list of the top five things to consider, and provided some recommendations for our most popular loose leaf teas.

Black Tea Taster Box

Black Tea Explorer

A great solution if you’re not sure what your loved one will like, our tea explorers have small samples of different teas to discover and enjoy. The Black Tea explorer showcases teas from China, India and Sri Lanka and comes packed in our signature gold gift box, with out without glass teaware.

JING Tea-iere with Infusion

Glass Tea-iere

Want to explore loose leaf tea with a minimum of fuss and a lot of style? Unlike cafetieres, our tea-iere does not have a plunger. Instead, the filter is built into the lid giving your tea leaves space to fully open, and infuse your tea with flavour and colour.

Tea Caddy Set

Tea Caddy and Timer

This set includes our glass tea timer for perfectly infused tea and your choice of accompanying tea caddy. Choose from Assam Breakfast (100g), Earl Grey (100g), Dragon Well (50g) or Jasmine Silver Needle (30g).

Traditional Chinese Tea Set

Glass Gong Fu Gift Set

Chinese in essence but modern in form, our Gong Fu Tea Set equips you with all you need to share and enjoy loose leaf tea. The making and enjoyment of perfect tea is at the heart of this elegant set.

Modern Matcha Set with Aerolatte, Matcha set and Twin Wall Tea Glass

Matcha Set

Our modern take on the traditional Japanese tea ceremony makes fantastically vibrant Matcha in a matter of minutes. Our authentic Japaense Matcha is full of spring grass freshness, delicate sweetness and a lingering creamy finish.

Tea Recommendations

Best Breakfast Tea

'Quite simply the best breakfast tea'

Quite simply the best breakfast tea I have ever come across. I use about 4 grams per cup, infused for 4-5 mins and drunk with milk. Makes getting up on a Monday morning much less arduous!

Will, Web Customer

Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Dong Ding Oolong

'Brings to mind the light of a late summer's evening. Just what we all need at any time of year. It's one of my favourites.'

Christopher, Web Customer

Red Dragon Loose Tea

 Red Dragon Black Tea

A JING HQ favourite, we love this tea for its rich and fruity flavour with notes of caramel, chocolate, plum and ripe cherries.

Tea Gifts for Her

valentines-gift-inspiration_lifestyle_blog

Christmas Gifts for Her

When looking for something beyond her favourite perfume or luxury hand cream, speciality tea presents a world of opportunity for considered Christmas gifts.  Loose leaf tea offers more than excellent taste… a window to a ceremony refined over millennia, and the opportunity to connect with nature in moments of relaxed focus.

Today’s busy world pulls us in a thousand directions, especially at Christmas. Give the gift of clarity and space, with authentic teas made and served in a simple, uplifting ceremony.

Loose tea doesn’t need to be complicated.  A tea ceremony, whether for one or to share can take many forms.  Here are our suggestions for gifts that introduce and expand this world of tea for her.

For loose tea simplicity at home or at work

A perfect cup of loose tea may seem too complicated as she balances a busy schedule – not so with the JING Infuser Mug Set. Our Glass Infuser Mug is designed for effortless loose tea preparation, paired in this set with some of our favourite loose leaf teas in signature gold tins: Organic Dragon Well, Earl Grey Supreme and Jasmine Pearls.

For the health explorer

As she gears up for detox January and a resolution to start yoga lessons, give a gift that perfectly complements her healthy lifestyle. Green teas are famed for their health benefits and refreshing character. The JING Green Tea Explorer provides her with the perfect insight into the range of authentic green teas currently being produced across Asia.

For tea shared

Tea is often best enjoyed in the comfort of her own home, and shared with a good friend.  Let her share her favourite tea tea with the Glass Two Cup Teapot Set,  made from the highest quality borosilicate glass which is renowned for its durability and crystal clarity.

 

For the green tea connoisseur

Green tea is so often misunderstood as bitter and harsh.  When quality green tea leaves are made with 70 degree water, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Only the youngest spring leaves & buds are picked in the organic gardens of Botang Long, Zhejiang, China to make JING Anji Green. It boasts vivacious and exuberant flavours combining spring floral scents, sweet sappiness, and a lush texture.

For the visually inspired

A thing of true beauty JING flowering teas are made with green tea buds and beautiful aromatic flowers; refreshing, delicious and a truly inspiring display.

For the white tea fanatic

For those already exploring the world of tea, a definitive example of the most famous white tea in the world makes a perfect gift. Silver Needle comprises the first spring buds of the Da-Bai tea plant. Sweet and mellow - perfect for her to enjoy over long, lingering afternoons.

For the love of Jasmine

Introduce her to the enduringly popular JING Jasmine Pearls. JING Jasmine Pearls are composed of the most perfectly balanced spring green tea, repeatedly hand scented with fresh jasmine flowers (and nothing else!). Poetic in form and fragrance, these stunning pearls produce the most memorable jasmine tea she will ever taste.

White Tea Buying Trip

Where does white tea come from?

Tea-Gardens_White-Tea_Fuding_China

I made my regular trip to Fujian Province in South Eastern China in April of 2006 to buy our white teas; Silver Needle, White Peony and the teas which would form the base of our Jasmine Pearls and Hand Tied, Flowering Teas.

In a remote town in Fujian Province, South East China, tea has been produced for more than one thousand years. The local scenery is beautiful, set around a lake with mountains steeply reaching up into the sky with cascading waterfalls and vibrant green tea fields. The airis so fresh and pure, that when you breath it in, it seems to make sense that white tea is so associated with health. The local food is typically fish and seafood and an unusual but delicious sweet white tarot.

The special variety of tea tree, called Fuding Big White (Fuding Da Bai), flourishes in the cool, misty mountains. This type of tea has particularly large white buds (hence the name) which are picked to make sweet and delicate Silver Needle. The bud and two lower leaves are picked to make White Peony. You can see the silvery bud in the photo opposite. I am picking this tea (only a little) to make White Peony.

We got up around 6am to drive up to the tea fields which lay at almost 1000 meters and were completely bathed in moisture from clouds. The tea looked so young and vibrant.

Tea-Garden-White-Tea-Withering_China

After picking, the tea was laid out on bamboo trays to dry. As it was raining, the tea had to be dried indoors. There is not much more to making white tea than this. Pick, wither and dry. So simple, and such a clean fresh taste that expresses the purity and clarity of the mountains in which it grows.