Identifying Whether Your Scented Tea is the Real Thing or Not
The most popular scented teas are those scented with jasmine (although we also carry a tea scented with orchid flowers). Teas can be scented through a natural means where the tea is scented for an extended period of time over multiple scentings or they can be scented with chemicals. The easiest way to detect this difference is to brew the tea. If the scent remains over multiple infusions, it is far more likely that it was naturally scented. If chemicals were used, typically the fragrance is gone after a single infusion. This is because the chemicals used for this process are usually water soluble.
Brewing Snow Drop Jasmine
In this video, Zhuping and Andrea brew Snow Drop Jasmine, Jasmine Pearls, and a display tea known as Love at First Sight. Snow Drop Jasmine comes from Sichuan province, and is a high end green tea which has been scented with jasmine at least 6 times. More specifically, the green tea Sweet Dew is used for its base, and as Zhuping notes, the jasmine has cooling properties that are considered beneficial for vision as well as the respiratory system. When you brew this tea, it is most comfortable in a glass container and can be brewed at a lower temperature due its delicate quality around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Brew the first infusion at 1 minute.
Brewing Jasmine Pearls
Jasmine Pearls have a highly distinctive look as Zhuping points out in the video and their name is partially derived from their shape. The tea is hand-twisted into shape and resemble pearls upon completion. Jasmine Pearls can be infused in hotter water and as Zhuping demonstrates, it is fine to brew them in porcelain (In the video, Zhuping uses a porcelain gaiwan). Jasmine Pearls are not as delicate as Snow Drop Jasmine and the temperature can range comfortably for this tea between 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The first infusion should be at least two minutes. Jasmine Pearls have a more delicate cousin with a similar shape called Silver Dragon Jasmine Pearls that would also brew best at lower temperatures and in glass.
Although we no longer carry display teas, display teas have recently gained popularity not just for imbibing but as actual displays as centerpieces for events.