Jasmine tea (Chinese: 茉莉花茶; pinyin: mòlìhuā chá) is tea scented with aroma from jasmine blossoms to make a scented tea. Typically, jasmine tea has green tea as the tea base; however, white tea and black tea are also used. The resulting flavour of jasmine tea is subtly sweet and highly fragrant. It is the most famous scented tea in China.
Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl tea
The jasmine plant is believed to have been introduced into China from eastern South Asia via India during the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), and was being used to scent tea around the fifth century. However, jasmine tea did not become widespread until the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912) when tea started to be exported in large quantities to the West. Nowadays, it's still a common drink served in tea shops around the world.
The jasmine plant is grown at high elevations in the mountains. Jasmine tea produced in the Chinese province of Fujian has the best reputation. Jasmine tea is also produced in Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Zhejiang provinces. Vietnam and Japan are also known for the production of jasmine tea.
Modern biological studies have shown that drinking Jasmine tea can have health and immunity benefits. Jasmine tea contains several different kinds of antioxidants that provide protection to the membranes of red blood cells. This added protection helps fend off free radical-induced oxydation of the red blood cells.
Tea leaves are harvested in the early spring and stored until the late summer when fresh jasmine flowers are in bloom. Jasmine flowers are picked early in the day when the small petals are tightly closed. The flowers are kept cool until nightfall. During the night, jasmine flowers open, releasing their fragrance. This is when the tea scenting takes place. There are two main methods used to scent the tea with the jasmine. In one method the tea and flowers are placed in alternating layers; in the other, the tea is blended with jasmine flowers and stored overnight. It takes over four hours for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the jasmine blossoms. The scenting process may be repeated as many as six or seven times for top grades such as Yin Hao. The tea absorbs moisture from the fresh Jasmine flowers so it must be dried again to prevent spoilage.
In northern China it is customary to serve Jasmine tea as a welcoming gesture to guests. Jasmine tea is the local tea beverage of Fuzhou, while jasmine flowers are the municipal flower of that city.
Jasmine species commonly used as an ingredients for Jasmine tea:
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- Lindsey Goodwin. "What is Jasmine Tea?". about.com.
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