China’s Sichuan Province is the historic home of several styles of excellent Jasmine tea, based on the fine green teas that are native to the province. While in other parts of China the base tea for Jasmine scented tea is partially-oxidized, in Sichuan there is a tradition of using green tea just as it is manufactured. The resulting scented tea, though more apt to vary from batch to batch and season to season, is popular among green tea drinkers, as a change of pace from the unscented tea.
This is our most-highly-scented Jasmine tea. It is also the most tea-flavorful Jasmine tea, so it is not appropriate for those of you who like a subtle scenting! Jasmine Gan Lu is one of the few unusual Jasmine teas that is scented and manufactured in the spring of the year, during the busiest time for tea makers.
Just as ‘pearled’ tea is excellent for scenting, so is the open ‘snail’ shape of Gan Lu. Unlike Bi Lo Chun (the ‘other’, closed-snail shape of tea manufacture, which is too delicate a tea for scenting) Gan Lu scents readily and, most importantly, for some unknown reason can withstand the high heat generated during the piling. It is something about the botanical structure and the maturity of the leaf used that it doesn’t ‘burn’ during the scenting.
The highest quality Jasmine teas, such as those sold by Tea Trekker, are made using fresh jasmine flower-buds. Normally those bloom from late August through September, although there are minor harvests throughout western China that bloom in the spring. Jasmine teas are, therefore, seasonal teas and are ready for sale some time either after October of the year in which they are made or in the late Spring, depending on the timing of that earlier Jasmine harvest. After the scenting process has been completed, the scented leaf is carefully dried for storage and shipped to us. Then the consumption period is generally 12-18 months following whichever release date applies.
About Jasmine tea:
Traditional Eastern China Jasmine tea (Jasmine tea that is scented using fresh flowers and not artificial perfumes) is made from fresh tea leaf that is picked and semi-processed in the spring, and then put into storage until the jasmine flowers bloom over the summer beginning in early July. Tea Trekker tends to prefer the varieties of jasmine that bloom a little later in the season, as they have a purity of scent and are rich and smooth. When the fresh flower buds arrive in the tea factory, the semi-processed tea is taken out of storage and ‘married’ together with the fresh still-closed buds. As the blossoms open in the evening the scenting process begins.
Depending on the quality (and selling price) of the jasmine tea being made, the scenting process can take 24 hours or up to several weeks, during which time the same batch of leaf is repeatedly introduced to fresh batches of jasmine flowers. The semi-processed leaf for Jasmine tea is a unique tea base made for the production of Jasmine tea. It must be perfect in style and level of minimal oxidation.
Because jasmine tea production exposes the leaf to some heat during the processing, the leaf used for it is most traditionally neither green, white, nor oolong tea, but a partially-finished leaf that is unique to jasmine tea processing, known as zao pei.
Want to know more?