What Is Scented Tea?
Scented teas use the leaves of the tea plant as a base. Tea crafters infuse those leaves with flowers, spices, or herbs after processing. These additions can highlight or mask the natural flavors of the tea leaf. Our current selection in this category includes many teas inspired by worldwide traditions. But the most common type of scented tea in China uses fresh jasmine flowers. The fragrant flowers impart a delicate floral aroma to green or white teas.
How Is Scented Tea Made?
Scented teas start with a base tea, crafted like any other. Tea leaves are plucked and withered. Then bruising and roasting the leaves achieves the desired level of oxidation. Many different types of tea are used to craft scented teas, but green and black teas are the most common. For our best jasmine teas, we prefer a white tea base. The unique leaves lend a rich texture and delicate sweetness to the brew. Without grassiness or bitterness, these leaves do not compete with the jasmine aroma.
No matter what the base leaf, once in finished form it is blended or scented using fresh flowers, spices, or herbs. Traditional jasmine teas absorb their captivating aroma through a labor intensive process. The dried leaves are laid in a flat layer, and topped with a batch of fresh jasmine flowers. As the jasmine flowers dry, the tea leaves below absorb their fragrant oils. After each day, the jasmine flowers are removed and replaced with a new batch. Each extra day of the scenting process intensifies the fragrance in the leaves.
Signs Of Quality
This is one category of tea in which quality depends on aroma. The aromatic added ingredients usually overpower the subtleties of the base tea leaves. These flowers, herbs, or spices create the dominant flavor in the brewed tea. But the quality of the base leaves will determine the mouth feel and levels of bitterness in the tea.
For jasmine teas, we prefer to use premium harvests of white tea leaves. The young, down-covered buds lack the compounds to produce bitterness. They add sweetness to the delicate flavors and lend a rich texture to the brew. In jasmine teas specifically, the dried flowers actually lend bitterness to the finished tea. Thus, they are removed altogether after the scenting process. Any visible flowers are only added for aesthetics.