Posted by: dan | February 21, 2009

pearl’s court

Dan: Up first from the Jing Sampler pack is the Jasmine Pearls tea, described as a rich, round and deeply jasmine infused flavour from Fujian, China. As it had been a few days since my last cup of loose-leaf tea, and Ben had decided our tea, I decided to champ at the bit and try it first.

The instructions on the packet were to brew 1-2 tsp/cup or small teapot for 3 mins in 80 degree water. So that’s what I did,except lightening the dose to 1.5 tsp/pot. This was mostly because if I’d used much more, most of the packet would have been used. I boiled the water, and then let it cool, as I don’t have a way of telling the temperature of the water in the kettle. I filled the teapot about halfway, and was amazed at the sudden expansion of the tea. They filled the water in the infuser centre of the pot from top to bottom in a matter of seconds. It was absolutely packed with the unravelled balls, small green leaves pressed against this sides, fighting for room. Perhaps I had put too much in, even after reducing the recommended amount?

Too many pearls!

Too many pearls!

The smell certainly seemed to suggest so. An intensely deep, rich aroma practically roared off the water’s surface. The pearls had a strong scent even in the packet, but this was almost an assault on my nostrils, and I don’t have the greatest sense of smell in the world, thanks to suffering from hayfever most of the year. It’s a very flowery smell, like a wild field in spring, full of tall grass and hidden flowers, which is not surprising considering the source. If the taste was as good as this, surely it would be like drinking a bouquet of flowers? After the 3 minutes had passed, I poured the languid yellow liquid from the pot into my glass mug, and the Jasmine perfume whipped around again. And it’s not surprising, as it tastes pretty much the same as it smells. Smooth, but strong and a little sweet. Lingering in your mouth, it feels like you’re sucking on a petal, but in a good way. It’s not a tea to be drunk regularly, as it’s very special and best used for special occasions. Overall, it’s very tasty, with a lot to recommend it, particularly to flower lovers, but it’s almost too much for me, just that little too floral.

Ben: I LOVE brewing this tea in front of an audience, showing people these little unassuming, fragrant balls of tightly-wound green tea leaves then marvelling at them as they unfurl in the pot. If you’re the sort of person who likes to challenge other people’s perceptions, this is a great way to show people how different tea can be from a bag of heavily granulated dust.

Adding the slightly-under-boiling water to the pearls in the pot releases a very intense jasmine smell. If anything, that odour is somewhat overwhelming – it’s not subtle at all but a full frontal assault. You know those hippy-dippy incense and tie-dye dress shops hidden in city backstreets with names like Sunflower, and the smell they exude? That’s the smell that comes across here. It’s not necessarily an unpleasant smell, just amazingly full-on.

The Jasmine Pearls slowly open into loose leaves.

The Jasmine Pearls slowly open into loose leaves.

Despite the very pale nature of the brew, that fragrance is also hugely present in the taste. For me the taste was a little too dry – the palate seems to shrivel when the tea’s being sipped and the jasmine’s effect on the tongue is just on the wrong side of bitterness. I couldn’t detect any creamy notes to it but perhaps I’d brewed it a slightly too strong on this occasion.

For those flaws it does feel very calming, the sort of tea that’s ideal to drink a few hours before bed. It’s not the sort of tea you want to quaff back in great quantities – it’s something to be sipped slowly and savoured. I don’t know whether I’d go back to it again and again as chamomile tea does the same job admirably for me. It’s such an interesting and unusual tea that it’s impossible not to have a fondness for it, even if that fragrance feels too intense.

Ben and Dan were drinking Jing’s Jasmine Pearls tea, available for ¬£6.00 for 50g, or as a part of their Tea Explorers Sample set.

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Responses

  1. That looks fantastic!

    Where are you getting these teas from again?

  2. The links are at the bottom of each review. That particular one is from Jing – http://www.jingtea.com. If you think that’s good, we’ve got another amazing one to review soon.

  3. Ah cheers Ben. I should have looked. I’m going to start getting the teas you’re reviewing from time to time. My site’s got a new direction, that’ll be unveiled by the end of the week. I’ve got most of the groundwork sorted. It’s not about tea, don’t worry. But diet comes into it a little. I’m conducting a 12 month experiment on myself.

  4. Hooray! We like converts. It’s well worth going onto any looseleaf tea site and buying a set of samples, just to see what grabs you.

    A twelve month experiment? Does it involve McDonalds?

  5. No no no… it involves Jean Baptise Lamarck, a point system, and the ever present threat of nervous breakdown due to said point system.

    Ben, by 2010, I will have evolved. I’ve put down on my list of aims to be physically taller, maybe with the tail of a monkey (see how I attempt to achieve these), mentally to invent a new consumer product, spritually to gain enlightenment/telekenetic abilites, socially to achieve popularity though impressions of people in pubs, and on a more serious note to get a job and move out. But it should be quite intense. There’ll be a full run down of the point system, my medical status, aims, and achievements (all being documented by myself and my friend Mark as I attempt things like very long bike rides, taming animals, and extreme sports) on the site by the end of the week. As will, hopefully, the first introductory episode of the podcast.

    I’m quite serious. I’ve drawn a new header image and everything.

  6. A redesigned header means business. Have you heard Bill Hicks’ ‘time to evolve ideas’ routine?

    Incidentally, if you email or PM me your postal address, I’ll send you some of these jasmine pearls to try if you like.

  7. I’ve not heard that bit of Hicks, I’ll look for it online.

    I really appreciate the offer.. so… yeah, I will. Cheers!

    Newe image all done, and I’ve had to record a jingle with my uke/accordion/and percussion kit for the podcast. All because I couldn’t just nick someone else’s music because of all that copyright legislation. Darn.


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