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An obvious sign of a really good vanilla ice cream is the use of real vanilla beans. A lot of times you can even see the specs of black in the ice cream itself. If you have ever tasted a real version of vanilla ice cream you know it blows the cafeteria stuff out of the water! Real vanilla has a rich and buttery flavor that vanilla extract cannot replicate.

Jasmine tea is the same way. Most people have only ever experienced the cheap artificially flavored tea that you find at Chinese takeout joints. But Jasmine tea has so much more to offer.

A prime example of this is Jasmine Pearls. Much like fresh vanilla, a good Jasmine Pearl should have a distinctively natural flavor that is superior to any artificial Jasmine tea.


It starts with just two leaves and a bud

In the Fujian Province of China, the Jasmine Pearl tea farmers pluck the tips of the tea leaves in early spring capturing the prized “two leaves and a bud.” The early plucking gives the tea extra flavors that have been stored all winter long and are condensed in the tip of the tea.

The tea is then prepared as a traditional green tea and stored until June when Jasmine flowers are at their peak.


Jasmine flowers are picked at their peak in June

Once the flowers are picked, they are rushed to the factory where the green tea is stored. It is here that hundreds of people manually start the process of scenting the tea.


First the tea is hand rolled into tiny balls

Each tea plucking is first gently placed into a humidifier, which makes them soft to the touch. Then, Experts hand roll them into tiny balls that give Jasmine Pearls their famous name.

The tea is placed in a giant oven with the flowers

The tea is then placed into a giant oven where it is layered with Jasmine flowers. The exact methods are kept as family secrets, but the general method is to keep the teas and flowers layered for a few days. Every day a new batch of flowers is placed into the ovens to give the tea its fresh, floral taste.

The taste is sublime

The resulting tea looks like tiny marbles with intertwining streaks of Jade green and Pearl white. The scent of the teas should be of nothing but fresh Jasmine flowers. The taste should be much more mellow, with a smooth Jasmine flavor combining with a slight honey glaze.

Summary

If you don’t think you like Jasmine tea, you need to experience Jasmine Pearls. The natural flavors of Jasmine flowers combined with notes of honey are quite delectable. Much like a naturally made vanilla ice cream, the flavor cannot be compared to its artificial counterpart.

Photo: www.flickr.com/photos/selva/10613710/

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