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October 15, 2012

Chinese teas tend to be named in  very descriptive ways such as Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) or Hairy Tips (Mao Jian) and Jasmine Dragon Pearl Tea (moli long zhu) is no exception to this.  Jasmine Dragon Pearl leaves are hand tied and rolled into pearl shapes giving it its name.  The dragon element, sometime referred to as Phoenix Pearls, we like to think, comes from the look of the leaves as they unfurl, looking like Chinese dragons or the phoenix wings rising from the ashes.  The best jasmine dragon pearl tea is from the Tai Mu mountains in north east Fujian province in China and uses some of the finest green tea available.  The tea is picked in the spring meaning the tea contains some white tips common in high grade early green tea.  Sometimes companies will sell this tea  a white tea although this is incorrect.

Jasmine Scenting

Scenting happens later in the year and involves a traditional scenting process of layering tea leaves with fresh jasmine blossoms.  The jasmine blossoms naturally open at dusk and the scent is infused into the tea leaves.  This process is repeated over several days so when the tea is brewed it gives a rich sweet jasmine flavour.  Sometimes orchid flowers are used in conjunction with the jasmine blossoms as a "flavour enhancer" to make the jasmine scent even more intense.  Traditionally, the jasmine scenting has happened in Fujian province where the tea is grown however, in recent times, there has been disappointing yields of jasmine flowers in Fujian, so it is now more common for the scenting process to happen in Guangxi province where there are far better yields of jasmine flowers and the tea is shipped there for scenting before being shipped back to Fujian for rolling.  There is a common misconception that jasmine teas should contain jasmine blossoms.  Jasmine blossoms tend to only be found in cheaper lower grade jasmine teas where the scenting process has not been carried out and the jasmine scent comes from the jasmine blossoms blended with the tea or in some cases artificial flavouring.  The high grade naturally scented jasmine teas usually have the blossoms painstakingly removed.

The other teas that we sell that are scented in the same way are Jasmine Yin Hao, Jasmine Silver Needle and Jasmine Oolong.  We also sell Dragon Eye, which is green tea rolled in to eye shapes without the jasmine scenting.




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