Well-rounded. No bitterness, no perfume. Robust enough to stand hot water.
Scented tea » Jasmine » Traditional, ★★★★★
I love this tea. Organic China Jasmine reminds me of when my Mum came to visit in Beijing (that’s the last time I drank it).
This morning, I compared two jasmine teas: Jasmine Pearls (Buddha’s Tears) and Organic China Jasmine. Both were brewed in identical shot-glasses for exactly two minutes.
I think Organic China Jasmine tastes much better. The taste is softer and sweeter than that of Jasmine Pearls (Buddha’s Tears), probably because the leaves are much smaller, and it’s prepared from zaobei leaves instead of green tea leaves.
Small, tender tea leaves tend to have more flavour. They are also more nutritious and more expensive than big ones (think how baby corn is sweeter and more nutritious than full-size corn—and more expensive, too.) The small leaves in Organic China Jasmine are more tender and delicate than those of Jasmine Pearls (Buddha’s Tears), so I’m surprised that it sells for about half the price. Even though leaves of the latter are hand-rolled into beautiful ball shapes, the former is larger volumetrically when packed, which, I’m told, makes it the more presentable option as a gift. Organic China Jasmine wins all round.
True jasmine teas (such as this Organic China Jasmine) are made from zaobei, a specially-prepared leaf distinctly different from the other six types of tea (white, yellow, green, oolong, black and dark teas). Zaobei leaf is designed not only to absorb a lot of jasmine flavour, but also to withstand the high water temperatures required to release that jasmine flavour without creating bitterness in the tea. Zaobei is sometimes referred to as the ‘seventh type of tea’ for its uniqueness (see my Tea Types 2012 diagram for a graphic representation). Artificial (modern) jasmine teas, on the other hand, can sometimes taste of perfume—this one doesn’t.
I’m very pleased with this tea. It sells for $14 per 100g in Melbourne (460 RMB per 500g) and is totally worth it—for yourself or as a gift. ★★★★★
See also my review of Jasmine Pearls (Buddha’s Tears) on jameskennedybeijing.