Jasmine, rose, lotus, orchid, and citrus blossom, romantic and beautiful flowers known for their wonderful aromas. Because of their fragrance, these flowers are used to create scented teas. Distinctly floral, yet subtle and delicate, scented teas are unique and delicious.
Scented teas are created by placing fresh flowers among tea leaves during the drying process. The tea leaves are infused with the flowers 3-6 times. The leaves absorb the essence of the flowers and the resulting tea is fragrant and exotic. A few buds are typically left within the tea, but higher quality teas usually contain fewer buds as bitterness can result. A good quality scented tea will have a distinct aroma when dry and will infuse up to 3 times without losing its fragrance.
Scented teas were invented in China during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Flowers were originally added to tea to mask the taste of a lower quality product. However, the subtle taste and lovely aroma of scented tea caught on and hundreds of years later it is popular throughout Asia and the western world. Jasmine infused into green or white tea is the most common scented tea. Today, these teas can range from low quality tea bags to very high quality, rare and expensive loose-leaf teas. With the advent of essential oils, it is not always easy to find a traditional scented tea. It is, however, worthwhile to search for a high quality, traditional scented tea. There is nothing quite like the fragrant steam rising from a cup of tea with centuries of tradition and history behind it.
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The first time I tried chai was in the kitchen of my parent’s house, and served by my younger sister. “You have to taste this—” she insisted, pushing a mug across the countertop to me. She refused to elaborate on its contents. The flavors, she said, would speak for themselves.
The quality of water affects the taste of your tea; this is beyond dispute. The relative quantities of mineral salts, oxygen and trace elements determine the relative "liveliness" or "flatness" of a particular cup. To that simple substance we add the basic flavor of the leaf itself or an herbal substitute.