Behind The Leaf: Scented Teas

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We’ve been enjoying a particular type of tea these days. A tea that melts the snow and warms our hearts. These special teas are scented teas. Have you tried Jasmine tea before? If so, you’ve had a scented tea. These are teas that have flowers added to the pure leaves, and are allowed to absorb the heavenly floral aroma. These steeped teas impart a gorgeous floral aroma to the air while they brew. Scented teas are only flowers and tea- not any other added flavors. It can take a few weeks to scent tea naturally with layers of flowers. It is a delicate process that takes patience. They are a bit harder to find but worth the hunt.

 Scented teas are not all created equal. It’s not easy to find just the right balance of flowers to tea. You don’t want to overpower the tea, just enhance it. Finding that balance takes a tea master. Scented green teas are most common but you can also find scented black and oolong teas. A few of our favorites are:

Jasmine: it’s easy to find Jasmine tea, but finding a tea scented just with jasmine blossoms is a bit more challenging. Make sure you’re not getting a tea scented with added aromas or oils. Jasmine tea was invented in China during the Song dynasty. Quite a long time ago.

 Rose- if you love roses as much as we do, why not try it as a tea? The soft, soothing rose flavor is immensely pleasing. Perfect for a quiet afternoon with a few French macarons on the side. Quite a sophisticated cup!

 Chrysanthemum- this delicately sweet tea is subtle and delicious. The flavor is reminiscent of honey and also has a mild herbaceous note. This tea is supposed to have quite a few medicinal benefits as well, but we like to drink it just for the taste and for how relaxed we feel afterwards. This is a tea you can typically find at Chinese restaurants, along with Jasmine tea.

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I love floral teas all year round and especially love them in the wintertime. That gentle floral flavor brings the hope of spring, even on the coldest, most blustery day.

 Other scented teas will contain flowers such as chamomile, and hibiscus. These can also be found as herbal blends, and not necessarily scented teas. But the possibilities are endless, and finding new and interesting scented teas is such fun!

 You should brew your scented teas just like you would the pure tea it comes with (ex: the temperature for green tea, if your base is green). We love using small glass teapots for scented teas, as you can see the beautiful flower petals dancing along with the leaves. It makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Watching those vibrant petals just brings the warm spring sunshine indoors.

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New Year’s Eve Tea Cocktails!

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Dearies, what are your New Years Eve plans? Whether you have a quiet night at home or a big soiree with all of your friends, you can still create special celebratory moments that feel personal and meaningful. Kat’s going to have a small group of friends over, and she’s planning on serving a few select tea cocktails along with some decadent nibbles.

On New Years Eve, it’s important to bring out the bubbly! Use champagne, sparkling wine, or sparkling cider to add your bubbles. With a bit of sparkly fizz, you’ll create a classic convivial spirit to your evening.

For a bright, jasmine scented drink, add a bit of jasmine tea to your bubbly cocktail. A great way to add strong tea flavor to your drink is to infuse vodka with tea. Vodka is a very neutral flavor on its own, and works very well as a base for your tea.

To make jasmine tea infused vodka:

Use a clean bottle with a stopper at the top. A bottle that holds most of a 750ml bottle of vodka will work perfectly.

Add about 6 teabags to the bottle, shake gently and let it infuse for a few hours, or even overnight. Try not to let it sit more than 12 hours, the brew can get a bit bitter.

Once your jasmine vodka is ready, add about 2 tablespoons to a champagne flute or coupe, and top off with your bubbly of choice. A dash of elderflower liquor would make a lovely nuanced addition, but isn’t necessary.

If Jasmine tea isn’t to your liking, you can use any kind of tea you wish. The options are endless.

Adding a bit of Darjeeling, the ‘champagne of teas’ to your drink will create a cocktail fit for royalty. Kat is eager to try this Darjeeling gimlet for an old-fashioned twist to her New Year’s Eve. It’ll give a classic ‘Great Gatsby’ air to your soiree. It’s especially fun if you have a 1920s theme to your party.

Or for another classic cocktail with a tea twist, how about a matcha gimlet? Your matcha-loving friends are going to adore it!

Whatever your drink choice, I hope you all have a fun, festive New Year’s Eve! What drinks are you planning on serving?

Behind The Brew: Jasmine Tea

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Dearies, I’m sure many of you have heard of jasmine tea, but do you know the story behind it? It is the world’s first known scented tea, and continues to be extremely popular. The flowers were first brought to China from Persia during the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220AD) and were soon added to tea for the wonderful flavor. However, it started to become popular in the Qing Dinasty (1644 to 1912) when the tea was exported to the West.

Jasmine tea is typically made with green or white tea. It tea can be found as traditional leaves, or wrapped into little ‘pearls’. The irresistible floral aroma is a perfect complement to these vegetal, nutty teas. Traditionally, to create a jasmine scented tea the blooms are picked during the day, and layered over the processed tea leaves in the evening. Jasmine flowers are extremely fragrant, and bloom at night (isn’t that romantic?). The fresh blooms scent the tea they’ve been incorporated with. Freshly processed tea leaves are very absorbent, and soak up the beautiful scent. The flowers are left with the tea for many hours to develop a complex floral flavor. The tea is then fired to dry it out after absorbing the moisture from the fresh flowers. Jasmine oils may also be used to flavor the tea.

Kat first tried Jasmine tea at a Chinese restaurant as a child. Now that she has a home of her own, she keeps a box of this Fresh & Easy Jasmine Green Tea in the house at all times. She was happily surprised to find this tea in her local grocery store, and it has been on her shopping list ever since. It is the perfect lift for a quiet lazy afternoon. It is also wonderful to relax with after a hectic morning. As soon as you open the individually wrapped tea bag, the luscious jasmine aroma hits your nose.  The steeped tea is a perfect combination of mellow, vegetal and sweet. The green tea flavor is clean and simple. Calming and gentle, instantly relaxing. The jasmine flavor is floral, beautiful, but not too strong. The flavors all work in harmony.

Kat enjoys this tea both hot and iced. The floral flavor holds up well to both preparations.  Have you tried jasmine tea? How do you usually prepare it?