Zhi Xiang Ganlu (Gardenia Sweet Dew)

Scented Tea 2023

Gardenia Sweet Dew makes a thick and buttery infusion with bright green florals, the result of multiple scentings with genuine gardenia flowers. Full and soft flavor that coats the tongue and palate and a sweet finish.


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Tea Origin
Qianwei County, Sichuan Province, China

Tea Bush
Chuan Xiaozhong (Sichuan Small Leaf Heirloom Tea Bush), Chuancha #9 (Sichuan Tea Bush #9)

Tea Maker
Chen Xiaoshuang

Harvest Time
Late March (tea), May (gardenia)

Plucking Standard
One bud, one leaf

A field of blooming gardenia bushes covered in white flowers, with forest in the background. One person in the garden is plucking a flower.
Blooming gardenia gardens in May.

Made with a very early harvest of heirloom Sichuan tea bushes, this traditionally scented tea has been infused with the full, heady fragrance of genuine gardenia flowers. Much like our jasmine scented green teas, the tea is processed and dried to stability when it is harvested in March, and then kept in storage until the gardenias bloom in mid-May.

The style and quality of the underlying green tea is made to rival that of the outstanding Mengding Ganlu (Sweet Dew), although this tea comes from south of the Mengding mountain region, in Sichuan’s Qianwei County.

Using real flowers in scenting tea is a tricky prospect without using pesticides. That’s why, after the fresh gardenia flowers are harvested in May, they’re merely soaked in a very mild 1% salt solution for 10-15 minutes. This removes any insects from the petals while leaving intact the active aromatic compounds that create that floral aroma. Once rinsed and dried, they can be used to scent the tea by the old-fashioned traditional method. This technique uses only batches of fresh flowers, without any of the scented oils that are typically sprayed on commodity teas.

Making Scented Green Tea the Traditional Way

Scenting Zhi Xiang Ganlu (Gardenia Sweet Dew) Sichuan green tea with fresh gardenia flowers.
Scenting spring green tea with fresh gardenia flowers.

Unlike traditional Jasmine processes, the tea leaves for gardenia scented tea are gently heated before the process begins, maximizing their absorption of the fresh fragrance.

To absorb the gardenia character into the tea leaves, the producer will pile large batches of fresh gardenia flowers and dried tea together to rest for a whole day. Every 8 hours or so, they have to mix the tons of tea and flowers to distribute the aroma evenly and release the heat generated as the fresh flowers naturally wilt and oxidize. As the flowers oxidize, they also lose moisture, some of which is absorbed into the tea leaves. High moisture content is bad for the shelf stability of tea. So once the 24 hours are up, the flowers are winnowed out and separated from the leaves, and the tea is sent for another mild drying roast to remove that added moisture.

Scenting a large batch of gardenia green tea in a brightly lit warehouse.
Scenting a large batch of green tea with gardenia flowers in the processing warehouse. The machine in the back gently sorts out the flowers from the tea leaves between batches.

This whole scenting process is repeated 3-4 times with fresh batches of gardenias to fully imbue the tea with a rich fragrance that will persist even through multiple steeps. The result possesses both truly breathtaking aromatics as well as the rich fullness and nutrition of a high-quality Sichuan spring green tea.

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.

Zhi Xiang Ganlu (Gardenia Sweet Dew) brewing guidelines

5 grams (1 Tb) tea

12 oz 85°C (185ºF) water

2 min. first infusion

At least 4 infusions: 3, 3, 5, 8 minutes