Jasmine Tea is tea—in this case green tea (head here for white tea with jasmine)—with added jasmine flowers. It is the most famous scented tea in China. It is made by infusing the tea leaves with the scent of jasmine blossoms, which results in a sweet and smooth taste.
The quality of jasmine tea depends on both the quality of the tea leaves used and on the number of times the scenting process is repeated. Varieties from Fujian province are generally considered the highest quality.
Where To Buy Jasmine Green Tea
This popular tea can be found in just about every tea shop or online vendor. If you are unsure where to begin, you can check out some of my recommendations below.
How To Prepare Jasmine Green Tea
These teas are relatively simple to brew, but can become bitter if steeped too long or if the water is too hot. Like most other green teas, green tea scented with jasmine should be steeped in cooler water than black or oolong teas.
A temperature of 80°C (176°F) is a good starting point. To get this temperature, you can just use a simple stove-top kettle to bring the water to a boil and then let it cool down for about two minutes. It would be better to use a thermometer to more accurately judge the water temperature.
If you plan on trying a lot of varieties of tea and/or coffee it might be worth it to invest in a water boiler/warmer or an electric kettle with a variable temperature setting. Personally, I recommend this Cuisinart kettle, because it has presets for every type of tea, so you always get the perfect temperature:
In the West, many people will brew Jasmine tea in a teapot, while many Chinese will brew it in a plain 8oz glass. In tea shops, however, you will usually be served Jasmine Tea in a traditional lidded cup called a gaiwan.
All three will work just fine—most important is to use a vessel made from glass or porcelain. For these instructions, I will use a gaiwan.
- Fill your gaiwan (or glass) about halfway with hot water to pre-heat it. Tilt the cup a bit so that the water creeps up the side and then rotate it so the inside gets wet all the way around. Then pour the water out.
- Place slightly less than 1 teaspoon of tea leaves in the gaiwan. Use twice this amount if you are brewing your tea in an 8oz glass. If you are using a teapot, use about one teaspoon for every cup of tea (or for every 4oz of water).
- Fill the gaiwan with hot water. It should be about 80-90% full and the temperature should be below boiling; around 80°C (176°F) is ideal.
- Place the lid on the gaiwan and let the tea steep for 1-2 minutes. And that’s it. Enjoy your tea!
- When you get down to about one quarter of the tea remaining, refill the gaiwan with hot water of the same temperature as before and let it steep for 30 seconds to one minute.
- You can get 3-5 infusions out of most varieties. Increase the steeping time 30 seconds to one minute for each infusion. How many infusions you do depends entirely on your taste. Experiment.
Use the amounts given in these instructions as a rough guide. If you find the resulting tea too weak, add more tea leaves; if it is too strong, reduce the amount of leaves used. Similarly, try increasing or decreasing the steeping times.
If the tea is too bitter, reduce the temperature of the water. Basically, you’ll want to keep experimenting until you come up with the perfect brew for your particular taste.
This video shows how to brew Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea. For those of you who have been asking about the pot in the video, I wrote a post titled Best Glass Teapot With Infuser.
The highest quality jasmine green teas are the Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl Teas. The name refers to the fact that the leaves with their white tips are rolled into tight balls resembling pearls.
The next highest grade is the Sliver (or White) Tipped Jasmine Tea, named after the white tips on the leaves. I will give a few of my recommendations for each of these types followed by some recommendations for regular jasmine tea.
Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl Tea
The best value is the Jasmine Pearls by Art of Tea. It’s a high quality tea at a reasonable price.
The Jasmine Dragon Pearl Tea by Teavivre is also a good buy. It is much cheaper, but naturally the quality is also lower. Teavivre actually have 4 or 5 different varieties of Jasmine Pearl that might be worth trying, though they are often sold out.
For those who prefer to shop at Amazon, my recommendation are the Imperial Jasmine Dragon Pearls from Tealyra. The offer the best balance of price and quality.
The 1 lb bag of Numi Tea Jasmine Pearls is also a great choice. The quality is not quite as high as the Tealyra tea, but it costs over $1 less per ounce. It only comes in a 1 pound bag, though. If you’re looking to purchase a smaller amount, you’ll want to go with the Tealyra.
White Tip Jasmine Tea
The Jasmine Snow Bud from Teavivre is the best value in my opinion. The price is excellent and the quality is very good.
The Silver Jasmine from Teavivre is a bit lower in quality, but it also costs slightly less. I’d go with the Snow Bud, if it’s available. Amazon has almost no good Silver Tip selections. The one exception is the Supreme Organic FuJian Jasmine Silver Bud from Goartea.
Regular Jasmine Tea
My favorite regular jasmine is actually one made with Biluochun leaves, as I find the flavors work very well together.
Teavivre has an even higher quality one made with regular green tea leaves called Bi Tan Piao Xue that is also excellent, but I prefer the one using Biluochun and think it’s a better value.
Finally, for those who prefer Amazon, the Organic Green Jasmine from Rishi Tea is my favorite. For people who prefer tea bags, this 100 count box of Jasmine Tea from Stash Tea is also an excellent value.
More Info About Jasmine Green Tea
The flowers used to scent jasmine tea come from either the Common Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) or the Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac). They are actually related to the olive tree and are known for producing sweet smelling flowers with a very strong scent, which is released in the summer.
The Common Jasmine plant probably originated in Persia, but there is a lot of uncertainty. It is native to a number of areas: Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal.
The origin of the Sampaguita plant is better known. It hails from the eastern Himalayas, on the border of India and Bhutan. It grows all over Asia and also in parts of Central America, the Caribbean, Florida and Madagascar.
Basically, the Jasmine plant flowers in similar conditions as some of China’s best-knows tea regions. These are mountainous areas with climates that range from cool to subtropical. The most famous Jasmine producing region in China (and thus the world) is Fujian. Specifically, the capital of Fujian, Fuzhou, is knows as the jasmine capital of China.
Fuzhou lies in a river basin and is surrounded by mountains. The climate is mild with a lot of rainfall. The jasmine plants grow in the lowlands by the rivers, while tea tea plants grow in the mountains at higher elevations. They are then processed together in the city.
Fujian jasmine is relatively high in caffeine. There are also types made with other varieties of green tea that can have a higher or lower caffeine content.
The Processing Of Jasmine Tea
The leaves are generally plucked early in the year. This means late spring. That is when they are the most delicate. After picking, the leaves are either steamed of heated with warm air to stop the oxidation process.
Gentle heating like this ensures the leaves don’t curl up as much, leaving more surface area for the scent of jasmine to cling to. After the tea leaves have been fully processed, they are stored until the hottest part of summer, when the jasmine blossoms are in full bloom and ready to be picked.
Jasmine flowers are picked during the hottest time of the day, because they are closed at that time to protect themselves from the hot sun. After they are picked and left to dry and cool, they open up. That is when they release the strongest fragrance and when they are mixed with the tea leaves.
Because tea leaves are very absorbent, they easily take on the scent of the jasmine flowers. Higher grade teas go through several rounds of scenting, with new blossoms being used each time. They can repeat this process for several weeks. Lower grade varieties might only be scented once for 24 hours.
After the scenting, the tea leaves are fired along with the lat batch of jasmine blossoms used for scenting. This removes any remaining moisture. Often, then blossoms are left mixed into the tea leaves, though this is for appearance only. The scent has already completely transferred from the flowers to the tea leaves.
The best jasmine teas undergo this complete process, but many manufacturers of lower grade teas shortcut the entire process. They use things like jasmine oil to scent their teas during the standard production process. This adds no additional processing time and is thus more economical.