Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea From Lumbini Tea Valley

Today, I will be reviewing a jasmine scented green tea from Sri Lanka. This is the Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea from Giri, one of the brands produced by Lumbini Tea Valley.

Check out my company spotlight post on Lumbini Tea Valley, which has been updated with more information on the details of the estate, cultivars grown there, as well as some beautiful photos. The photos made me appreciate these products even more.

My six year old son is with me at my office, and this boy loves jasmine green tea, although usually the type sold at his favorite Thai restaurant that is served in a can and has sugar. But, he can enjoy it without sugar, if the mood catches him. That was my inspiration for opening this sample packet today. Once I started checking the leaves out, observing the jasmine blossoms, and feeling the aroma, I decided to give it a little extra attention. This has a very high quality look and aroma to it.

This style of green tea is said to be grown in the higher altitude regions of Sri Lanka. If this is true, then I believe these tea leaves were not necessarily grown at a Lumbini Tea Valley estates, but brought in from perhaps the Nuwara Eliya area, or somewhere near there.

Let’s get to the review…

20180329_100435
Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry tea leaves have a almost uniform color, with some slight variation in the pale forest green tone. The jasmine flowers have a pale yellow-white color, and are whole flowers, not just petal fragments. Some of the tea leaves do show oxidation spots, as is common with this style of green tea from Sri Lanka. The leaves are quite large, again common, and there are no bare stems or buds in the mix. The leaves are loosely rolled, and quite fluffy. These Sri Lankan green teas can unfurl into some of the largest tea leaves one will ever find in their pot. Although larger leaves are considered of lower quality than fresh, young, smaller leaves, nonetheless they are interesting to observe. The aroma is obviously dominated by potent scents of fresh jasmine flowers, but there are also scents of mineral and a touch of wood smoke from the green tea leaves that are not difficult to feel. The jasmine scent is very clean and natural. I do not get the feeling that it is too perfumey, exaggerated, or fake. This is a very pleasant scent of jasmine.

Seven grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 mL) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 175°F (80°C) water for 2:00 minutes.

20180329_101342
Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea – Liquid

The tea liquid has a clean, pale, light yellow color, clear and transparent, with no oily residues or other signs of additives. The aroma is dominated beautifully with scents of fresh, pure jasmine flowers, and a touch of wet stones and minerals. The body is medium, with a silky, light texture, and a crisp, refreshing energy. There is no bitterness of astringency. The taste is also dominated by notes of fresh, pure jasmine flowers, and notes of wet stones and minerals. The aftertaste carries the fresh, sweet jasmine character, which pleasantly and lightly lingers on the breath.

20180329_125243
Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves are mostly a uniform dark forest green color, with some reddish spots of oxidation. Some of the leaves also show signs of the pan firing process, having some small holes and light char marks. The jasmine flowers are a pale, yellow-white color, and all are whole flowers. The tea leaves are mostly large fragments, some unbroken leaves, and all are individually plucked. There are no buds or bare stems. The leaves are fairly mature, and some are very large. The leaves have a thin, wet leathery feel. The aroma carries the scents of fresh jasmine flowers and minerals.

20180329_125354
Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea – Large Leaf

In fact, as you can see in the photo above, I found exactly what I mentioned above of what can happen with these Sri Lankan green teas, the largest leaf I have ever found in my teapot, and it is not even complete and unbroken. This fragment, which is about 85% of the whole leaf, measured over 4 inches (100 mm) long, and 2.5 inches (62 mm) wide. The whole leaf would have measured around the 5 inch range. This leaf got paraded around the office. For some reason, no one else seemed to share my excitement for this treasure.

No exaggeration on this statement, this Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea is in my top two jasmine scented tea products. It may even be in the number one spot. The jasmine aroma and taste are so clean, so pure, and so fresh, that I really could not get enough of it, and neither could my six year old son. So many other jasmine scented products smell and taste so fake, it honestly makes me not feel well. This tea, on the other hand, was simply a pleasure to experience. Just a perfect blend of sweet jasmine and mineral notes to make a unique, refreshing, uplifting tea. Of course, the visual observation of the tea leaves and flowers was also an excellent part of this review. Quality theories aside, observing these huge, mature leaves is fun for me. This is a top-notch jasmine scented tea, in my opinion.

Many thanks to the management at Lumbini Tea Valley for providing this sample of Jasmine Ceylon Leafy Green Tea! Cheers!

Advertisements

Comparing Three Jasmine Green Teas

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…

Jasmine Green Tea Dry Leaf Comparison
Jasmine Green Tea Dry Leaf Comparison
Jasmine Dragon Pearl # 1 Dry Leaves
Jasmine Dragon Pearl # 1 Dry Leaves
Jasmine Pearl # 2 Dry Leaves
Jasmine Pearl # 2 Dry Leaves
Jasmine Huo Qing Dry Leaves
Jasmine Huo Qing Dry Leaves

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.

 

Jasmine Green Tea 1st Infusion Comparison
Jasmine Green Tea 1st Infusion Comparison
Jasmine Dragon Pearl # 1 - 1st Infusion
Jasmine Dragon Pearl # 1 – 1st Infusion
Jasmine Pearl # 2 - 1st Infusion
Jasmine Pearl # 2 – 1st Infusion
Jasmine Huo Qing 1st Infusion
Jasmine Huo Qing 1st Infusion

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.

Jasmine Green Tea Infused Leaf Comparison
Jasmine Green Tea Infused Leaf Comparison
Jasmine Dragon Pearl # 1 Infused Leaves
Jasmine Dragon Pearl # 1 Infused Leaves
Jasmine Pearl # 2 Infused Leaves
Jasmine Pearl # 2 Infused Leaves
Jasmine Huo Qing Infused Leaves
Jasmine Huo Qing Infused Leaves

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!