Jasmine Green Tea from Pipers Loose Leaf Tea

jasminepipersTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Piper’s Loose Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

A delicate tea, our unique JASMINE blend is made with the finest Japanese Sencha (pan fired green tea), whole jasmine flower blossoms and enhanced with pure jasmine oil.  Take a moment out of your day to savor its sweet aroma and classical floral tastes.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I just received the most lovely package from Piper’s Loose Leaf Tea.  When I contacted them, they asked me which teas I’d be most interested in and I noticed they had a jasmine green so I told them that I usually enjoy jasmine.

piper presentationSo I want to start by telling you about the packaging of Piper’s Loose Leaf Tea, because I’m a sucker for awesome packaging.  The teas arrive in a large muslin pouch like the one on the right.  They even took the time to write a note card to me.  I appreciate little gestures like that.  It means a lot when a tea company takes the time to do something as simple as writing a few words onto a thank you card.  It’s a simple thing to do but it means a lot and it’s something that a lot of tea companies overlook.

Note:  the muslin pouch can be reused as pu-erh storage.

jasminecardInside the pouch is a bag of tea, in this case, Jasmine tea.  There’s also a business-card sized card that tells you which tea it is, the description of the tea and suggested brewing parameters.

Then I read the card.

I wish I would have read the description of the tea before I told them that I like jasmine tea because this description is scaring me just a little bit.  First of all, Japanese Sencha?  Traditionally, a jasmine tea is made with Chinese green tea.  So, I find myself puzzled by this choice.  But, hey, it could still work.

But then I read this:

enhanced with pure jasmine oil

Here’s the thing.  I have said (often) that the best jasmine teas are the ones that have been layered with the jasmine blossoms while they’re in the freshly harvested stage.  Before they’re shipped out to us here in the states.  While they’re still there in China, those tender leaves are processed with jasmine blossoms.  They are scented with the essence of jasmine.  They aren’t flavored with jasmine oil.

I love flavored tea.  I’ve enjoyed many a flavored tea and I’m working to take over a tea company that specializes in making a brand new flavored tea every week, so you know I’m not one to turn my nose up on a flavored tea.

But there are some oils that should never be used on teas.  One of them is jasmine oil.  This is an essential oil that is used for perfumes and similar uses.  Not for tea.  Never for tea.  Using jasmine oil on a tea turns a perfectly good tea into something that tastes of perfume.

On the other hand, a scented jasmine tea (that is, the tea that’s been layered with the jasmine blossoms) doesn’t taste of perfume.  It tastes lightly, delicately, beautifully of jasmine.  It’s a sweet and exotic taste but not soapy or perfume-ish.

So I sit here, before I’ve even brewed the tea, in turmoil and worry.  Fearful that I’m about to brew a cup of perfume.  But it’s not like it’s going to kill me.  I might as well give it a try.

To brew this tea, I used my Breville One-Touch.  I added 2 bamboo scoops of tea to the basket and 500ml of water to the jug.  Then I set the parameters:  since I could see that this was indeed a Japanese Sencha, I set the temperature to 170°F and the timer for 1 minute.

I also thought that by setting the timer for just 1 minute, that maybe I wouldn’t get too much of the jasmine ‘oil’ (aka perfume) taste and maybe just get some of the jasmine essence that I want from a Jasmine tea.

And I was right.  I got just enough of the Sencha flavor from the 1 minute steep and not too much of the jasmine oil.  I get a light, jasmine-y flavor without a perfume-y taste.

The Sencha is light and buttery.  Smooth and not overly astringent.  It isn’t bitter or too grassy.

Given all my misgivings and uncertainty about this blend, this is actually pretty good when prepared according to the above parameters.  It made me a little curious about if I had steeped it for the suggested 2 minutes.

In the meantime, I’m happy enough with this cup of tea that I thought I’d try a second infusion of the leaves, adding 30 seconds onto the steep time.  With the second infusion, I started to pick up on more jasmine oil.  It didn’t taste perfume-y, exactly, but it tasted like maybe someone put a drop of jasmine oil in my Japanese Sencha and I didn’t really enjoy it.  I much prefer a scented jasmine.

Overall, this is alright.  It’s drinkable, but it’s not something I’d recommend.

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