Whenever you're trying a new tea for the first time, you want to ensure that you get the very best quality in the tea. Vanilla jasmine tea is becoming a favorite of many tea drinkers because of its sweet, comforting and fragrant flavor. And, the flavors of vanilla and jasmine blend so well with any flavor, this tea can be made from green, white, black or oolong teas.
This makes it even more complicated to understand which teas are the best quality. One thing that can affect the quality of a tea is the time during the growing season when the tea is plucked. Following is some information to help you determine how to pick a quality vanilla jasmine tea by examining how the plucking time of the tea variety affects its quality.
Green tea -Green vanilla jasmine tea will have a very natural and mild flavor, and will be sweeter than a black vanilla jasmine tea. Green tea harvesters often pluck green tea multiple times during the growing season. However, the first pluckings, or the “first flush" green teas will always be the best. This is because this first flush is picked in the spring, before the weather gets too hot. Tea that is plucked later in the growing season has baked in the heat and sun before harvest, which compromises the tea's flavor.
White tea- All white tea is first flush tea. White tea is, by definition, picked only in the spring, when the tea plant blooms for the first time of the growing season. The tea is harvested before the buds are fully opened and while they're still covered with a fine white hair, which is why it's called white tea. One of the reasons that white tea is the rarest of all teas is because it can be harvested just once during the growing season. Vanilla jasmine white teas are the mildest and sweetest of all jasmine teas with a wonderful jasmine scent that is even more fragrant because of the mildness of the white tea.
Black Tea - Most vanilla jasmine teas are made from black teas, which are also best at the first flush, for the same reason that was mentioned about green tea. Later flushes of black tea have been exposed to more heat and sun, and their flavor may have been compromised. The exception to this rule is Assam black teas, grown in the Assam region of India. The second flush of Assam black teas are said to be the best of the season. So, if you find an Assam vanilla jasmine tea, look for second flush of the season.
Oolong Tea -Oolong teas are semi-fermented, meaning that they go through a fermentation process like black teas, but for a much shorter period of time. Most oolong teas are fermented to about 30%, unless they are pouchong oolong teas from Taiwan, which are only about 15% fermented. As with green and black teas, oolong teas are best from the first flush, when the weather is milder and the tea has had more rain. Oolong teas have a fruity flavor and a very smooth finish that pairs beautifully with jasmine and vanilla.
Some of the best tea gardens only sell first flush black, green and oolong teas. These tea gardens are known for their high quality teas, which are typically grabbed up by the best tea merchants. Tea gardens that do harvest their tea all throughout the growing season should label their tea according to the harvest from which it was plucked, so there is no confusion about which teas are the best of the year. First flush teas, as you might imagine, will be priced higher than teas harvested later in the season.
It can seem like a lot of information, but there are several components that go into a quality vanilla jasmine tea. In short, these include:
- The grade of the tea - this indicates the quality of the leaf itself.
- The tea plucking - this is a good measure of the tea's flavor, as earlier pluckings are more flavorful.
- The quality of the flavorings - You should always choose teas flavored with all natural ingredients over those that use artificial flavorings.
By considering all of these elements, you'll be able to choose a delicious, high quality tea, whether it's green, black or oolong. The best tea merchants do the work for you by selling only the best teas. Therefore, if you know your tea shop, you know you're getting the best vanilla jasmine tea on the market, without having to spend a lot of time evaluating all the elements that affect the tea's flavor. After all, you want to enjoy your tea, not spend hours evaluating it!
You're sure to find vanilla jasmine tea to be one of your very favorites. Whether its made from black, green, white or oolong tea, vanilla jasmine is one of the most comforting and flavorful you can drink. Choose the best quality vanilla jasmine tea you can find, and get ready to enjoy one of the best cups of tea you've ever tasted.
Jon M. Stout is Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. Golden Moon Tea recently placed first and second in the best tea competition at the prestigious World Tea Expo in Atlanta Georgia. For more information about tea , wholesale tea and black tea go to goldenmoontea.com