Jasmine Organic Green Tea ($4.75/oz)
Highly perfumed, rare organic jasmine flowers blended with delicious green tea make for an exquisitely abundant, exotically flavored cup of tea.
GROWING COUNTRY: China
REGION: Jiangxi Province
This tea is a particularly good jasmine - hence the moniker Gold Dragon (gold signifying wealth and prosperity and dragon symbolizing long life and strength). The jasmine tree comes into bloom only during May and June. The blossom lasts for about 12 hours and only comes out at night. Halfway through the night the fragrance is at its peak and it is at this time the blossoms need to be picked and layered into the tea. By the morning the fragrance has disappeared from the blossom, but if the tea maker has done the job right, the scent has been transferred to the tea in time. The process is carried out on 5 successive nights to impart the flavor of selected tea and jasmine flowers.
In China during the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1127) tea drinking rose to an art form. The harvesting of tea became closely regulated. Drum and cymbal signals were used to awaken the tea pluckers during the chilly, pre-dawn hours. The tea pickers (always young virgins) received special training and even wore identification labels on their clothing so that tea thieves could be identified if they entered the estates. The girls were required to keep finger nails at a precise length, since nails, never the finger, were used to pluck the highest quality tea leaves. The freshly picked leaves were graded into classes and processed. The choice grade was delivered as tribute for the Emperor, while the rest was traded and sold by the regional government. A handful of tea of the choicest grade could be worth as much as 3 ounces of gold.