Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Persimmon Tree, Jasmine Pearls Green Tea

Jasmine Pearls!
The Persimmon Tree Description:
Our exquisite Jasmine Pearls green tea comprises young, green tea leaves infused with fragrant jasmine blossoms and hand-rolled into beautiful pearls. As they steep the leaves unfurl to give you a smooth, delicately sweet infusion with the most divine aroma.

Sample provided by The Persimmon Tree

My Review:
The Persimmon Tree packs all their teas in these round tins. When I received this month's package, the postal service had wreaked havoc upon it. This tin was slightly smashed on the backside. I should have documented this with pictures but at the time my only thought was to check on the tea inside. It was fine. A little reshaping of the tin and everything seems to be sealed.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again, I used to hate jasmine tea back in my tea bag days. The problem, apparently, was because what I had tried was jasmine flavored (probably not even natural flavor) rather than jasmine scented. With better quality tea, jasmine petals are added to the leaf for a period of time and then removed. Tea naturally absorbs odors, good or bad. In this case it is a beautiful thing when done correctly.

Dry Pearls
After reshaping the tin, I removed a scoop for examination.  These are about a 1/4" in diameter. They appear fairly even in size and tightly rolled. It would benefit us to take a moment to appreciate the artistry involved in growing and processing the tea we drink. For instance,with this one each individual pearl is formed by hand-rolling the leaf. Good tea is more than just a drink.

The pearls have a light jasmine scent that is vaguely grape like to my senses. I added the scoop of pearls to water heated to 175 F and steeped it in my press for 4 minutes per instructions.

The resulting liquor is slightly cloudy when very hot but clears as it cools a little. It is a brassy sort of dark golden in color. The scent is pleasant and is not overpowering, perfume, or soapy.

I have a mountain of leaf in the bottom of my press. Yeah, I might have used a little too many pearls. The expanded leaf reveals mostly intact leaf. I see some that are two leaves and a bud joined to the stem. This is a little pricier than many of The Persimmon Tree's offerings and I think this is reflected in the leaf.

The taste is like the scent. It is lightly floral and yet it reminds me of Grape Nehi soda. I know that is crazy and I almost never hear anyone else compare jasmine to grape, much less Grape Nehi, but I call 'em like I taste 'em. Most reviews I've read mention honeysuckle. Well, sort of, but I live in the country surrounded by wild honeysuckle and tea never really brings this image to my mind.

I am noticing the tea leaf really comes through in the aftertaste.

After tasting, I added sweetener (don't shoot!). Of course jasmine is fairly sweet on its own so give it a try sans additions first. Jasmine will take sweetening well if you have a really sweet tooth.

Abundant Wet Leaf
This is a little drying and has just a touch of bitterness. I suspect this may be due to my using a few too many pearls, or possibly the length of the steep.

I find neither the dryness nor bitterness in the first cup to be strong or detracting. I mention it only for those who are super sensitive.

Now, purely for the purposes of research (a-hem), I steeped the second cup with the same leaf for two minutes. The liquor is much more yellow in color.

In this cup I am not noticing any bitterness or dryness. I also find the flavor to be much less, well, intense. Personally, I like the taste of the longer steep. If reducing the number of pearls doesn't result in a perfect cup for you, a good compromise might be to hold the first steep to 2 1/2 minutes and the second at around 3 minutes or more. Always be willing to adjust the brewing parameters to your own tastes.

This is a solid Jasmine Pearls offering. Its naturally scented, and is flavorful without being overwhelming.

You can find Jasmine Pearls Green Tea here.

10% of The Persimmon Tree's profits will be donated to the Project HOPE School Foundation.

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