What makes jasmine tea so special is its blend of tea leaves with jasmine petals. The jasmine petals impart a delicate yet very aromatic fragrance to the tea. The jasmine petals impart a slightly sweet, delicate flavour to the tea.
In this article:
- Jasmine green tea
- Other green teas
- Brewing jasmine tea
- Choosing jasmine tea
- Jasmine tea: our recommendations
Jasmine has been produced in China for at least 700 years. Production of the highest quality jasmine tea still follows the production methods of those times. This includes plucking the jasmine blossoms just as they are beginning to bloom and adding them to the tea leaves at night to ensure the best infusion of the aroma and fragrance. In most cases, the tea is scented twice – using two different sets of jasmine blossoms to ensure that the tea is properly infused.
The freshly plucked jasmine leaves are stored in a cool place until nightfall when the blossoms began to release their fragrance. Then the jasmine petals are added to dry heaps of tea leaves, to allow the dry tea leaves to absorb the fragrance. Ordinary grades are scented two or three times; the special grades even more.
The best jasmine tea is said to come from the Fujian province in China. This is because this area of China produces the largest and heaviest scented jasmine leaves and some of the loosest tea leaves, which can absorb the jasmine fragrance better.
Like with most other teas, the first pluckings in the spring produce the very best jasmine tea because the tea leaves are so tender. In fact, jasmine tea produced from the first pluckings of the tea leaves is sometimes referred to as “Spring Breeze” jasmine tea.
Jasmine green tea
Jasmine tea is most often made using green tea. Jasmine green tea is one of the healthiest teas you can drink. Green tea has been shown to have more health benefits than black tea because of the way that it’s processed. Unlike black tea, it does not go through the fermentation process that converts the natural anti-oxidants to other compounds. So, while black tea is a healthy beverage, it contains fewer antioxidants than green tea and it is these antioxidants that are believed to be responsible for some of the health benefits associated with green tea.
If you like the idea of adding green tea to your diet, then jasmine green tea may be a great way to enjoy a wonderful fragrance and flavour and protect your health at the same time. Jasmine green tea has a very natural and light flavour, with the vegetal, plant taste of green tea complemented by the sweet and fragrant jasmine blossoms.
Other jasmine teas
If, however, you’re not a green tea drinker, you can find jasmine tea in other forms. Oolong jasmine tea is also a very popular blend. Oolong teas are also processed differently to black teas. Oolong teas are semi-fermented, meaning that they are fermented, but for a much shorter period of time than black teas. To produce a good oolong tea, fermentation must be stopped when the leaves are 30% black and 70% green.
It is the ability to stop the fermentation at precisely the right time that gives oolong teas their distinct flavour. Most are also dried using charcoal, giving it another distinct dimension. Oolong jasmine tea has the typically smooth and fruity taste usually found in oolong teas combined with the fragrant sweetness of jasmine.
Jasmine tea can be made from white tea, too. In fact, today, white jasmine tea is becoming very popular. Sweet and light white tea combined with the subtle scent of jasmine makes for a very delicate and refreshing beverage. It’s one of the mildest jasmine teas you’ll find. And, drinking white jasmine tea will provide all the health benefits of drinking green jasmine tea.
Finally, there are also a few black jasmine teas. Because black tea has a bolder flavour, you’ll find black jasmine teas to have a more subtle jasmine flavour, as the jasmine scent and taste does not stand out as much when combined with black tea as it does when combined with lighter green and oolong teas.
As you can see, jasmine is a favorite for blending with tea, making jasmine tea one of the easiest tea blends to find. Because jasmine tea is so common, however, it’s important to ensure that you’re choosing only the best quality tea when you purchase your jasmine tea.
The best jasmine tea is made using real jasmine petals combined with the highest quality loose leaf teas. In jasmine green tea, you’ll often find that some of the best and most flavorful jasmine teas use tightly rolled green tea pearls mixed with jasmine petals.
Whatever form of jasmine tea you choose, you’re sure to love it. Jasmine tea, whether in green, oolong or black form is one of the most traditional of all Chinese teas and certainly one of the most fragrant and enjoyable.
It’s likely that your favorite jasmine tea will be the one that’s combined with your favorite tea to drink plain. But, you should experiment with other forms of jasmine tea. You may find that other teas that don’t really appeal to you in their plainest form are very appealing when combined with jasmine. I’m not actually the hugest fan of ordinary green tea, preferring black and oolong, but I absolutely love jasmine green tea.
As mentioned above, green jasmine teas have a balance of the slightly bitter flavour of the green tea with the slight sweetness of the jasmine petals to balance it out.
Oolong jasmine teas are smooth with the fruity taste that is common in oolong tea. However, the jasmine also makes the tea fragrant and sweet.
The combination of light and sweet white tea with fragrant jasmine makes for a very delicate flavour. As white tea gains popularity in the Western world, it’s likely that white jasmine tea will become easier to find. Because white tea, like green tea, is unfermented, you’ll gain the same health benefits from drinking white tea that green tea provides.
While black tea is the most common variety of tea consumed in the Western world, it is the tea least commonly combined with jasmine. Black tea is bolder and stronger than green and white teas, so the jasmine is not as prominent in the flavour.
In addition to teas mixed only with jasmine, you’ll also find jasmine teas mixed with other flavours as well. Because jasmine imparts mostly fragrance and only a subtle flavour to the tea, it mixes easily with other flavours.
You’ll find jasmine tea flavoured also with vanilla, rose, orange and other flavours. All of these have the delicate aroma and sweet flavour of jasmine but include a second, complementary flavour to add dimension to the taste of the tea.
Regardless of the variety of tea you choose, it’s likely you’ll find that the addition of jasmine is a true delight. Most tea drinkers find the scent of jasmine tea very soothing, making it a great tea to enjoy in the evening.
Brewing jasmine tea
Regardless of the variety of jasmine tea you choose, you should take the time and effort to brew the tea correctly to ensure the best flavour. First, begin with the best loose tea. The best way to ensure that you get good tea is to purchase it from a reputable tea shop whether in your local area or online. Really good tea may cost a bit more, but its quality is unmistakable.
Brewing good tea requires fresh cold water. Put the water in a clean tea kettle and bring it to a boil on the stove. Meanwhile, put hot tap water in your teapot to warm it up while the water is heating. Once the water boils, remove the tap water from your pot and add your tea leaves.
For white jasmine tea, use about 2 teaspoons of loose tea per cup. For other jasmine teas, you’ll only need about 1 teaspoon per cup. Follow the guidelines below to choose the appropriate water temperature and steeping time for your jasmine tea.
- Black Jasmine: use boiling water and steep for 3-5 minutes
- Oolong Jasmine: use boiling water and steep for 2-3 minutes
- White Jasmine: use cooler water, around 185°F, and steep for 5-8 minutes
- Green Jasmine: cooler water, around 160°F, and steep for 1-2 minutes
Adhering to the appropriate water temperature and steeping time is critical for making good tea. Too much steeping and your tea will be bitter; too little and the tea will be thin and weak. Water that is too hot for delicate teas like green and white will compromise the tea’s light flavour.
Jasmine tea, particularly, green and white jasmine teas, is also wonderful for iced tea. The jasmine fragrance and light sweetness are perfect for a hot day. To make iced tea, brew several servings of tea at once and cool. For white and green teas, allow the tea to cool completely before you add ice. Adding ice to the hot tea may dilute the delicate flavour too much, making it taste weak and flavorless.
Choosing jasmine tea
You’re certain to want to sample many varieties of jasmine tea to determine your favourites. If you love the fragrance and sweetness of jasmine combined with tea as much as I do, you’ll have a favorite jasmine tea from every tea variety available!
To choose a good jasmine tea, begin by determining whether you want a white, green, black or oolong jasmine tea. If you’re new to it, it’s likely best to start off with a Chinese green jasmine tea, as this tea represents the true essence of the jasmine tea. If a tea is simply labelled as “jasmine tea” it is almost certainly based on green tea.
Jasmine tea: our recommendations
Art of Tea‘s Jasmine Pearls: Aromatic organic jasmine blossoms are used for scenting the most tender organic green tea leaves and buds then hand-rolled into small pearls. This restorative tea is exquisite in flavor and aroma and yields a clear, light green hue with a delicate finish.
Teabloom‘s Jasmine Flowering Teas. These exclusive, artisanal blooming tea flowers are beautiful to behold and tantalizing to taste. A delicate floral green tea infusion combines soft jasmine flavors with natural, edible marigold, jasmine and globe amaranth flowers. Each tea flower unfurls with irresistible jasmine flavor and scent, and can be infused two to three times.
At the time of writing (December 2019), Chinese tea specialist TeaVivre has no fewer than thirteen different varieties of jasmine tea on offer. We’re not going to pretend to have tried them all (yet) but you can’t go wrong with their Good Taste Award winning Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearls Green Tea. The award was made in 2017 and the judges’ overall comment was “Lovely quality of leaf. A peachy-pink infusion with beautiful clarity. There is delicate, bright jasmine here, with a very pleasant sweetness.” and we can’t argue with that!
A superior quality white jasmine tea is on offer from The Tea Spot. Their Organic Jasmine Silver Needle combines night-flowering jasmine with the purity of white tea. It has a natural sweetness and an enduring floral aura that embodies the perfect balance between elegant fragrance and a lush finish. To produce this tea, carefully handpicked downy white silver needle tea buds are repeatedly layered with summer jasmine blossoms. This can be enjoyed brewed either hot or cold.
Another of TeaVivre‘s offerings is their fantastic Jasmine Oolong Tea. This sweet, mellow and fresh combination of jasmine petals and quality oolong tea from Anxi, Fujian which is the main producer of oolong tea. It maintains the oolong aroma and flavour but marries it with the floral jasmine notes to result in a tea that is both relaxing and invigorating.
Another oolong jasmine tea is on offer from Candian company DavidsTea. Their Magnolia oolong is flavoured with jasmine and magnolia petals. It has a lively and uplifting aroma that melts away tension. Just sit back, relax and let this buttery tea’s sumptuous floral finish work its magic.
Black jasmine tea is a much rarer offering but TeaVivre delivers again with their Jasmine Dragon Ball Black Tea. This Jasmine Dragon Ball Black Tea is an innovative type of flower tea, combining jasmine blossoms with pure Dian Hong black tea. The dried jasmine is added to the tea during the same process used to create the dragon ball shape, and the fragrance of the jasmine comes out in the first steep; unlike other types of jasmine tea, this one is not scented with the flowers, but only combined. With further steeps, the heavier flavor of the jasmine comes out. A full flavoured yet mellow tea.