Jasmine Jade Tips
This special Jasmine tea comes from Mengding Mountain in Sichuan. In this region Jasmine teas are made differently than they are throughout the rest of China. Here the tea goes through a process called “hot scenting,” in which both flowers and tea are pan fried together in a wok to transfer the jasmine essence to the tea leaves. Normally we only see “cold scenting,” where the flowers are combined with the tea leaves and left together for long periods of time on bamboo mats.
Tea leaves are long known to have the remarkable capacity to absorb and preserve the scent of flowers that would otherwise disappear. However, the process of scenting tea leaves is laborious and long-developed; it began in the Southern Song Dynasty more than 1000 years ago. It requires a careful understanding of the ratio of flower to tea, and several rounds of infusions to achieve a lasting transfer of the flower's otherwise fleeting scent.
Master Bai, who crafted this tea, has perfected his own method of hot scenting. This tea went through 6 rounds of cold scenting, and was then finished with a round of hot scenting. The hot scenting gives a warmer, richer, taste to the tea and gives a deeper experience of jasmine than we are accustomed to.
Summer this year in Sichuan was exceptionally hot, and the jasmine did not blossom until mid August. Master Bai received the last of the jasmine buds, also the most fragrant ones, on August 30 so that he could finally finish scenting this tea. The green tea he used as a base is called “Maofeng,” which refers to a pan-fried green tea consisting of one-bud-two-leaves. Maofeng comes from the peak of Mengding Mountain, at 3200 ft elevation. Maofeng is a stronger tea, and quite porous, thus absorbing the jasmine scent more thoroughly.
The tea Master Bai is very pretty, the white flowers remain speckled throughout the darkened green tea leaves. It smells warm, like sweet cream, and its milky palate is reminiscent of the soft, white flower petals it is a tribute to. The tea and the Jasmine are so integrated, the mouth is pressed to try to taste them apart. It is best to let them be one singular, unusual, and pleasing thing.
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|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||8