What is Jasmine Tea?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Jasmine tea is a highly aromatic variety of tea which is flavored with jasmine flowers. In addition to providing a rich floral scent, the flowers add a subtle note to the tea which many people find quite enjoyable. Jasmine tea is readily available in Chinese markets, and it can often be obtained from big grocery stores or specialty tea shops as well. Many people may be familiar with jasmine tea because it is a frequent offering at Chinese restaurants.

A cup of jasmine tea.
A cup of jasmine tea.

Depending on the varietal, jasmine tea may be made with green tea or oolong tea. Oolong jasmine is very common, with a rich, mild flavor which also tends to settle the stomach. Many restaurants offer oolong jasmine tea for this very reason. More rarely, black tea is used as a base. The flavor of the black tea tends to overwhelm the jasmine, however, as black tea tends to be very tannic. The tea is often mild enough to consume plain, although some people add small amounts of sugar out of a preference for sweetened teas.

Jasmine is often added to tea for its scent.
Jasmine is often added to tea for its scent.

To make jasmine tea, jasmine flowers are harvested at the peak of their blooming and then they are cured with finished teas in conditions with carefully controlled humidity and temperature. As the jasmine flowers dry out, they infuse the tea with their flavor; sometimes multiple passes of curing are used to make an extremely strong jasmine tea. After the curing process is over, the tea is fired again to remove the moisture exuded by the jasmine, and then it can be packaged for sale.

Jasmine tea is flavored with jasmine flowers for a distinctive taste and scent.
Jasmine tea is flavored with jasmine flowers for a distinctive taste and scent.

In some cases, jasmine flowers are left in the tea. This function is purely ornamental, as the flowers are essentially odorless and flavorless after the curing process is over. However, they can look quite pretty as they rehydrate in the tea water and unfold. The practice of leaving dried flowers in tea is actually fairly widespread, and many novelty teas and tisanes include dried flowers or flower assortments to liven things up during the brewing process.

Like many aromatic teas, jasmine tea is best when brewed using loose leaves.
Like many aromatic teas, jasmine tea is best when brewed using loose leaves.

The best jasmine tea is looseleaf, since it includes whole leaves, and no offcuttings or stems. Ideally it should be brewed loose in a teapot and strained for service, although many people prefer to use tea balls for their brewing since they are more convenient. Both oolong and green teas should be only briefly steeped, as they can turn bitter with long steeping, and the water should be just below the boiling point for the best flavor and scent.

The health benefits of jasmine in tea have not be verified.
The health benefits of jasmine in tea have not be verified.
Jasmine tea, an extremely popular drink in China and Japan, is typically made using star or Arabian jasmine.
Jasmine tea, an extremely popular drink in China and Japan, is typically made using star or Arabian jasmine.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon123206

You can get high quality jasmine tea including blooming and also dragon phoenix pearls online. it is not that expensive. also, you can get blooms for a good price. I mean they are expensive compared to just jasmine tea but loose leaves, chinese is the best for it.

anon110875

The best jasmine tea available at the supermarket is the whole leaf loose tea. This also includes Chinese supermarkets. However, there are grades much superior, albeit much more expensive, that are hand rolled whole leaves with jasmine petals.

The petals are strictly ornamental but the pearl jasmine from a good source is finest, most delicate, and most aromatic available. It also costs between $60 and $150 per pound and is only available in specialty shops.

If you do search out this gem, be forewarned. Supermarket jasmine will no longer meet your standards once you become accustomed to jasmine pearls.

Joel S. Calgary, Canada

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: