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Tea for the Royalty
Posted on Jul 12, 2016
Lightly scented with fresh jasmine flowers, Jasmine tea is usually made with green or white tea and is one of the most popular of teas to emerge from Ancient China. Today it is usually served as the standard tea in Chinese restaurants worldwide so it is probably the most well known of Chinese teas. Yet it is also one of China’s finest tea enjoyed by Chinese royalty.
Jasmine tea first appears in records in the Song Dynasty which ended in the 13th Century and at this time is was mostly drunk by royalty. It is thought that Jasmine tea originated in Persia (Iran),and was exported along the ancient Silk Road together with Buddhism. The Hengduan mountains in Sichuan, one of the last mountain ranges of the Himalaya’s, on the border with the rich lowlands of China are very lush and are some of the richest tea producing mountains in the world. The tea growers in this area produced mainly green and Jasmine tea which were traded along the ancient Tea Horse routes to Tibet in exchange for horses and silver.
Today Jasmine tea production is widespread, but the tea made with Da Bai (big white) leaves from Fujian is generally considered to be of the highest quality. And it is from this region that Abbey Tea have sourced their Jasmine Dragon Pearls and Jasmine Silver Needle tea.
Jasmine Dragon Pearls are made from green tea where two tea buds and one leaf are rolled into pea-sized balls. Hand rolling the pearls is a tradition that began over 1300 years ago when a Chinese Emperor wanted to give an original gift of love. Silver Needle is made from the buds of white tea. The resulting tea has a tight fat needle shape, full of silver hair.
All the various types and shapes, need to be scented with fresh jasmine flowers before becoming Jasmine tea. The spring buds and leaves are picked in the spring, sun dried and then layered with fresh jasmine flowers for several nights to absorb the fragrance of jasmine.
The resulting tea tastes sweet and soft with a fresh and pleasing jasmine aroma, delicate, light and ethereal.
And because it is lightly processed it comes with amazing health benefits.
Green and white tea contain very high levels of polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants attack the free radicals which can tamper with DNA and alter cells contributing to ageing, heart disease and cancer. So drinking Jasmine tea regularly can provide a natural defence to help to prevent such diseases. Drinking white and green tea can boost the immune system and may help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure thus decreasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Chinese medical practitioners claim that the tea is good for the teeth, hair and skin. And in fact, in ancient times Jasmine tea was served in China after a meal to cleanse the mouth and palate. Jasmine tea has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a relaxant, sedative and even as an aphrodisiac.
Today, one does not have to be royalty to enjoy this charming tea. With its exotic scent, drinking Jasmine tea can have an almost tranquillising effect that can calm the nerves, soothe the spirit and reduce stress, the perfect antidote to modern life.