Bi Tan Piao Xue (Snow Drop Jasmine)
Scented Tea 2020
An early spring green tea made from a rich-flavored Sichuan tea cultivar. Scented multiple times with fresh jasmine buds for a rich long floral finish that lasts through many infusions. Produces beautiful visuals, with jasmine petals resembling snowflakes on a green pond.
- Tea Origin
- Ya'an City, Sichuan Province, China
- Tea Bush
- Dabai (Big White), Mingshan #131
- Tea Master
- Luo Ping
- Harvest Time
- Late March (tea), June (jasmine)
- Picking Standard
- One bud, two leaves
Origin of the Name
The full name of this famous Chinese tea is “Bi Tan Piao Xue” or “Snow Drop in Emerald Pond.” When this jasmine green tea is brewed, the tea buds fall to the bottom while the white jasmine petals float on the surface of the glowing green water. This vision resembles snowflakes falling into an emerald pool. Snow Drop jasmine was invented by an anonymous tea master who traveled to a famous scenic location, Jiu Zhai Gou. There are incredibly picturesque landscapes in this area with clear flowing rivers. When the tea maker traveled there, it was the middle of winter. The scene of big snow flakes dropping on top of the ponds and flowing rivers gave him an idea. He decided to recreate this scene with white jasmine flowers floating above a delicate green tea that would color the water a pure and transparent green, just like the ponds he saw.
Jasmine tea is very popular in north and southwest China. If you go to Sichuan Province or Beijing, every tea house will have jasmine tea for service. Jasmine tea masters always try to make their own unique style of jasmine tea. This tea is produced from high-quality, early spring tea buds and the highest-quality, most delicate jasmine flower buds to create a fresh flavor and lingering aroma over several infusions. The quality of this tea allows you to use less tea and short infusion times to fully appreciate the flavor and aroma, however the high quality also limits the amount of production available per picking season.
The “Tiger’s Palm” Stage of Jasmine Flowers
For this tea, we’ve used tea leaves from the famous Sichuan tea region, specifically, Meng Ding Mountain. This region is believed to be one of the first places humans began to cultivate tea. There are also a great number of tribute teas from this region. The high end green tea is finished at the end of March with a picking standard of one bud to one leaf. The green tea is stored in coolers until jasmine flowers bloom, normally around May. The jasmine flowers used for scenting are neither completely opened nor are they small buds. The buds must be chosen just as they are about to open. This stage is what the Chinese refer to as “tigers palm.” It is during this stage that the jasmine flower will have the richest aroma and the scent will last the longest, about 9-12 hours after picking.
For the scenting of this high-end tea, the tea masters will use a ratio of 60 percent tea leaves to 40 percent jasmine flowers. Lower grades will use less flowers and more tea. The jasmine flowers are picked in the morning and brought back to the factory immediately. Tea makers will place approximately 5 cm of tea leaves below a layer of jasmine, followed by 5 cm layer of tea and another layer of jasmine. They continue this stacked layering until the pile is about ½ a foot tall. After about 5 hours, they mix the tea and jasmine together.
Fresh jasmine flowers create heat as they oxidize, and in order to evenly disperse the heat and distribute their scent of the jasmine flowers, the leaves and flowers must be stirred. The mixture will sit for another 5-6 hours, depending on the humidity that day. After a sufficient amount of time, tea makers use a special machine to sort out all of the jasmine flowers from the tea.
The tea quickly gets re-roasted to remove any water it has absorbed from the flowers during the scenting process. The tea is then set aside for 2-3 days to absorb the jasmine aroma. After a few days pass, they will repeat the scenting process, but pile the leaves and flowers thicker. This process is repeated 5 times to finish the tea, taking about 2-3 weeks in total. At the end of the 5th piling process, the tea makers must roast the tea one final time to make it stable for shelving by reducing their water content to about 5 percent.
High end jasmine teas must be completely separated from the jasmine flowers after each scenting process. For the flowers that are included in the final tea, tea makers use jasmine flower petals that have been dried quickly to prevent them from yellowing. For our Snow Drop Jasmine, the delicate, white jasmine petals are only used for decoration, they are not involved in the scenting process.
No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.
Bi Tan Piao Xue (Snow Drop Jasmine) brewing guidelines
Teaware: 12 oz. glass or porcelain pot
Amount: 1 Tbs of tea leaves
Water: 190°F filtered water
Infusion: First infusion at least 2 minutes. The leaves are good for 6 infusions. Add a little more time for each subsequent infusion.