If you visit the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, there is a Tea House. You can spend an afternoon gazing at the koi ponds, the cherry blossoms, and the landscape of the Garden while sipping Jasmine Green Tea. Surprise to me, not all jasmine tea is green tea. As in everything, there is variation.
I purchased some Jasmine Silver Needle tea, from Silk Road Teas. This is a white tea, harvested in Fujian Province of China, in the early spring. The buds are marginally oxidized to better absorb the delicate jasmine scent. Both dry and wet, the leaves are pungent with the smell of delicate flowers. As a perfume, jasmine is sickeningly sticky sweet, and should not be worn by anyone older than eleven, but as a tea, it is subtle and soothing. This is another one of those Emperor’s Teas, those which were not available to the common man until the world of the Emperor was gone. Now, anyone can drink any of the teas, as there is no one to tell them that they cannot. I have a new understanding of the Boston Tea Party.
I was interested to taste the difference between Jasmine White Tea, and Jasmine Green Tea, so I purchased Jasmine Pearls, also from Silk Road. Pearls are created by rolling the tea leaves into small balls, or pearls. While steeping, the pearls uncurl, leaving a fresh scent and a pleasant taste. While the green leaves are picked earlier, the jasmine scenting doesn’t happen until later in the summer. Flower petals are introduced into the tea, then removed. This is a hand process that can happen up to seven times: introduction of jasmine, removal of jasmine. I wonder if that works with kids and spinach.
Silk Road Teas has a wonderful selection, and you can purchase much of it at the Perennial Tea Room, on Post Alley, up the street from the Pike Place Market.
Both the Perennial Tea Room and Silk Road Teas will be represented at the NW Tea Festival, Oct 4th & 5th, at Fischer Pavilion, at the Seattle Center. You can make your own discovery.