Today, I am comparing three different jasmine green tea products. Two are Jasmine pearls, and one is Jasmine Huo Qing. I will not necessarily get as detailed on the aromas and tastes, as I do not want to use the description of jasmine hundreds of times in one post. What I will focus on are the differences in appearance, strength of the aroma and taste, and any other factors that may indicate quality.
Two of the products are from a tea supplier with estates and headquarters located in Hefei, Anhui County, China. The other product is from a Taiwan based company.
Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves of the two pearl products are identical. The pearls are finely hand-tied, with plenty of fuzz-covered silver tips. The Huo Qing has an appearance more similar to the pellets of a gunpowder style of green tea. There are some silver tips, but not nearly as many as the two pearl products. The leaves of the Huo Qing are darker green, and there are jasmine petals in the mix. The aroma of the Huo Qing is the strongest of the three products. The appearance of the pearl products is more attractive than the Huo Qing.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds.
The infusions of the two pearl teas are again identical in color (very light, pale yellow), strength of aroma, body, texture, and strength of taste. The body is light-medium, and the taste is quite fresh, fairly delicate, and not overwhelming on the jasmine strength. The Huo Qing had a darker shade of pale yellow color, with a medium body. The aroma and taste of the Huo Qing are stronger and more robust, both in the natural tea taste and the jasmine taste, than the pearl products. It is easy to determine that the Huo Qing consists of more leaves than the pearl products, which generally have fewer and young leaves, longer stems, and more tips. The more delicate taste of the pearl products reflects this observation.
All three products easily lasted through the three infusions, and could have provided at least two additional infusions with good flavor.
The infused leaves of the two pearl products are identical in color, pluck, size, and aroma. The pluck is two and a bud, with the second leaf being removed, leaving only the fine first leaf and bud on a longer stem. Two separate pluckings were tied together to create each pearl. The Huo Qing consists of a two leaf and small bud pluck, with the second leaf being left on the stem. The stems are not as long as the pearl products. The amount of fuller, more mature leaves in the Huo Qing is substantially more than the pearl products. The Huo Qing has the strongest aroma of jasmine after three infusions.
Upon review of my observations of the two pearl products, and knowing the wholesale price of both, it is quite simple to determine that the Taiwan based company is purchasing the Jasmine Pearl product from a Chinese manufacturer, maybe even the same manufacturer as the Jasmine Dragon Pearl used in this comparison, then reselling it. Both of these pearl products were identical in every single detail. I can honestly say that I would not be able to tell the difference if someone switched the position of the samples on me. The Jasmine Huo Qing was quite different in every way except the obvious jasmine aroma and taste. The liquor was darker, the body was fuller, the aroma and taste were stronger on the natural tea characteristics. The appearance of the dry and infused leaves were much different than the pearl products, as well.
Personally, I would pick the Jasmine Huo Qing due to the stronger tea taste. However, if having to pick a product that I feel would be most acceptable to a casual tea consumer, I would pick the Jasmine Dragon Pearl direct from the Chinese manufacturer in Anhui. The taste is fresh and delicate, without being overpowering. The appearance is also very attractive, with the fresh and fuzzy appearance of the silver tips being tied neatly together. With the significantly lower price, that makes it the easy choice over the comparable Jasmine Pearl product of the Taiwan based company.
Thank you to the two companies that supplied the samples used for this comparison. Cheers!