Jasmine Dragon Pearls are a classic: green tea leaves scented with jasmine flowers and rolled into small balls the size of pearls. At many of our farmers markets, I often over hear people confuse this beauty with the tea that unrolls into a flower. At that point I admit to ease dropping and take the opportunity to explain that what they are talking about are display teas and not Jasmine Dragon Pearls. While it’s true that these go through a similar process during steeping often referred to as the “agony of the leaf” (where the leaves slowly unfurl in water) display teas are often a lessor grade green tea where leaves are sown together with a flower that seems to pop-up or grow as it steeps. Jasmine Dragon Pearls are actually individually rolled leaves that open gently during steeping.
Leaves are harvested in the early spring and stored until summer; waiting for fresh jasmine flowers to come to full bloom sometime around late July. These Jasmine flowers are gently gathered very early in the day when the petals are closed and kept in a cool place until evening when hot summer days wane. That’s when the magic happens. After the jasmine buds relax, they gently open to release their distinct aroma which the tea leaves absorb. This is often done in 1 of 2 ways: alternating the flowers with the tea leaves (like a lasagna), the other is to just blend the flowers in with the tea leaves. It takes many hours for the tea leaves to absorb the fragrance from the blossoms and is usually repeated many times (as much as 6 or 7 in higher grades.) The tea leaves are then dried again to remove any moisture it took on during the scenting process.
The next step is truly amazing.
Each one of those scented leaves are then hand-rolled into a little “pearl.” Each and every individual leaf. And… there’s a person (an actual human being) who sits all day long at a table and rolls each tea leaf into a that little round ball. The first time I saw how this was done I was humbled and it’s why I am so diligent not to waste ANY tea leaf, but especially a Jasmine Dragon Pearl. Someone spends their entire day sitting at a table rolling 1 leaf at a time, so that we can enjoy a gorgeous cup of green tea. Something to remember as we reach for a cup of tea to sooth our less then perfect day: it’s because someone else made it possible. Watch this video made by our friends at QTrade to see the hand rolling of the leaf. In the meantime, here are some notes on this blend:
• Overview: A classic, jasmine scented Chinese green tea from Fujian Province.
• Dry Leaf: Plump round balls
• Liquor (liquid): Brownish yellow-green
• Aroma: Floral and green
• Flavor notes: Immediate jasmine floral notes. Green tea is almost secondary at first and then marries on the palate. Faint hint of smoke at the end. If steeped too long, this tea can become astringent and bitter.
• Brewing recommendation: 175° Fº / 2 minutes. (Steep multiple times)
• Caffeine: Yes
If you are interested in giving this classic a try, please visit the Pearl Fine Teas tea shop today and use code: 25TEAS9 at checkout to get 25% of Jasmine Dragon Pearls – today only!
-The Chief Leaf
All of a sudden, I’m fascinated with honey. Honey producing, honey bees, honeycombs, worker bees, honey facts. All of it. I had no idea honey was so complex and magical. I’m in awe of those little honey bees that work so hard for us to enjoy some sweetness in a simple cup of tea. We must thank the honey bee – especially the worker bees (who are female, only live 6-8 weeks and do all of the work) for gifting us with such sweetness. Read on if you want to learn more…
10 Fun Facts about Honey
- In order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited.
- A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
- An average worker bee (female) makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
- It would take approximately 1 ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
- Honey contains vitamins and antioxidants, but is fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free!
- Honey is less than 20% water.
- Honey speeds the healing of open wounds and also combats infection.
- Beeswax is edible. If you’ve eaten a Gummy Bear, you’ve eaten beeswax.
- Honey is the only produce with NO EXPIRATION DATE.
- Tea and Honey are a perfect match! Both are known to contain antioxidants which help prevent damage to cells and tissues
23 Honey Varieties (Did you know there were so many? I didn’t)
- ACACIA – made from nectar collected from Acacia tree blossoms which produce a honey that is remarkably clear and pure. Popular and sweet with a mild, delicate floral taste.
- ALFALFA – light in color and mildly scented floral aroma. Its delicate nature doesn’t overpower other flavors making it a perfect with tea. Not as sweet as most honey.
- AVOCADO – tastes nothing like the fruit, avocado. Dark, fairly rich and buttery in flavor.
- BASSWOOD – one of the few varieties that that is light color but has a strong biting distinctive lingering flavor. Very good with teas like Earl Grey.
- BLUEBERRY – made from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush. Light amber in color, has a pleasant flavor, a slight tang, and a blueberry aftertaste.
- BUCKWHEAT – hard to find. The darkest of honeys with a full-bodied flavor. Rich in iron. Popular with honey lovers. Has been found to contain more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honeys.
- CLOVER – a classic honey with a mild sweet taste. One of the most available and popular varieties.
- EUCALYPTUS – a special herbal flavor which carries a hint of menthol. Traditionally used as a protection against colds and headaches. Try it in your morning or afternoon tea.
- FIREWEED – One of the most popular honeys. Very smooth, delicate, and buttery in taste.
- HEATHER – thick, amber in color. Strong, fragrant and floral with a very lingering aftertaste that is almost bitter. High in protein content.
- LEATHERWOOD – a native eucalyptus found in the south-west of Tasmania, Australia and is the source for 70% of the country’s honey. Excellent on wheat toast. Adds a fantastic aroma to tea.
- LINDEN – light yellow color and a delicate, fresh, woody scent. Known to have sedative and antiseptic qualities. Used in the treatment of colds, cough and bronchitis.
- MANUKA – found only in New Zealand’s coastal areas, and comes from the flower of the Tea Tree bush. Said to be antibacterial and helpful for healing of sore throats, colds, indigestion, stomach ulcer, acne and pimples.
- ORANGE BLOSSOM – light in color, mild in flavor with a fresh fruity scent with a fragrant citrus taste.
- PUMPKIN BLOSSOM – harvested once a year in the early fall. Dark amber-colored liquid with a light floral fragrance. Tastes nothing like Pumpkin Pie. A seasonal honey – limited as the bloom is short and does not produce much nectar.
- RED GUM – found in Australia. A darker honey with a thicker consistency, bold taste and higher level of antioxidants compared to others.
- REWAREWA – found in New Zealand. Full bodied and malty. A classic dark red premium honey with a caramel, slightly burnt flavor. Quite unusual.
- PINE TREE – from Greece. Less sweet, a little bitter, with a strong aroma. Rich in minerals and proteins. Resistent to crystallization.
- SOURWOOD – light-colored, delicate, with a caramel or buttery flavor, and a pleasant, lingering aftertaste.
- SAGE – produced in California. Light in color, heavy bodied and has a mild but delightful flavor. Slow to granulate, making it a favorite variety among honey packers.
- TAWARI – from New Zealand’s Tawari trees. Golden in color with a creamy butterscotch flavor.
- TUPELO – a premium honey produced in northwest Florida. Heavy bodied but with a mild, distinctive taste. One of the sweetest honey varieties.
- WILDFLOWER – also known as “multifloral” or “mixed floral” honey. Its color can vary from very light to dark. Flavor range from light and fruity to tangy and rich.
5 Recommendation for Pairing Tea and Honey
- English Breakfast or Earl Grey Tea: Blueberry honey
- Lemon or Mint Tea: Clover honey
- Jasmine Tea: Alfalfa or Sage honey
- Irish Breakfast or Assam Tea: Eucalyptus honey
- Ceylon or Darjeeling: Orange blossom honey
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, or rather honeycomb. Honey seems to be an uber-super-duper food that just happens to have a natural affinity with tea. Lucky us!
Today, December 12, 2008, you can read a cool article at Mail Online UK by Jenny Hope on tea and womans health: “Women who drink three cups of tea a day may be protecting themselves against heart attacks and strokes.”
Newsmax.coms article on June 20, 2008: “The clearest consistent evidence points to an association between tea consumption, in excess of three cups per day, and a reduced risk of myocardial infarction or a heart attack.Dr. Ruxton found that drinking up to eight cups a day would deliver optimum benefits from polyphenols without affecting sleep quality.”
I hover around 8 – 10 cups a day so I should have the heart of a infant. Or, I should be glowing…or levitating… or something like that. Here’s an 11th fun fact about honey: When adding honey into tea, wait till it’s not too hot to avoid destroying its natural goodness.
* If you liked what you read, please recycle. Send to someone who might be interested!