Review: Canton Tea Co. Jasmine Pearl Tea

Canton Tea Co., Jasmine Tea, White Tea Add comments
Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This time the delicate sweetness of the tea came through much stronger, coating the inside of my mouth like honey."
Lynn’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Melanie gave it 9.5/10, Sophie gave it 9.5/10, Nicole gave it 9.5/10, Jamie gave it 8.5/10, Katie gave it 8.6/10, Kyle gave it 9.2/10
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cantonteajasminepearlsCanton Tea Co. founder Jennifer Wood says on the company website: “We concentrate on a few brilliant teas that will turn anyone on to the real thing. . .Our teas have an astonishing range of flavours - yet are completely natural, produced in the same way today ?they were 2,000 years ago. These teas have history. . . Our two buying partners who live at the centre of the tea trade in Guangzhou (formerly Canton). He is French, she is Chinese and they are passionate, experienced and utterly uncompromising on quality. Their mentor is a fifth generation Cantonese Tea Master whose family has been in the tea trade since the Qing Dynasty.”

I love jasmine pearl tea for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the thought of human hands patiently rolling all those leaf clusters into those tight little balls. It adds a direct human dimension to the tea itself, and the experience of drinking it. Someone in China, someone I’ll never meet, touched this tea and patiently prepared it for a stranger to drink.

Canton Tea Company's Jasmine Pearl is made with white tea and listed as a Grade AA, spring of 2009 harvest, hand picked and rolled. (There’s that connection!) As I examined my sample of the award-winning tea I saw that the soft white fuzz on the Yin Zhen (Silver Needle) tea was abundant, giving the tightly rolled little beads lots of white and a bit of a luster. They reminded me of pussy willows. The scent of jasmine was strong, but fresh and natural. Canton uses no artificial ingredients, just real jasmine flowers mixed in with the tea for days to scent it.

I was a bit skeptical about the claim that only twelve pearls were needed per cup of water. Nonetheless, I counted out a dozen of them, put them in a one-cup teapot, then added 175F water and let it stand the suggested four minutes. To be honest, I didn’t expect much and was already wondering how much tea I was going to add for a second infusion as I poured the first infusion into a tall glass. It was a brilliantly clear, silver color, hallmark of a good white. The jasmine fragrance blossomed up from the glass as if there were real flowers floating in it. I took a sip, still expecting a pallid taste, but once again the tea exceeded my expectations. The liquor was smooth, sweet, and tingled just the slightest bit on the tongue. It was light and delicate rather than weak, and the fragrance enhanced the flavor nicely, and lingered in the mouth and nose between sips.

Multiple infusions were recommended, and the second one is said to be the best. I examined the leaves. There were so few of them! But each one had unfurled into a two- or three-leaf cluster and were still very fragrant. I poured the water on and let them steep five minutes, then tasted. Wow. This time the delicate sweetness of the tea came through much stronger, coating the inside of my mouth like honey. It was slightly astringent and much of the flavor and sensation was concentrated at the back of my tongue. The third infusion, steeped for a little over six minutes, was less fragrant, and the flavor had changed to something silvery and very slight, but a definite presence on the tongue. By the fourth steeping, however, the drama is fading, leaving scented water in my glass. That's all right; the first two were more than enough to impress me.

This is a great, and quite frankly, very economical tea. Even at $10.50 per 1.5 oz order, at a dozen pearls per three servings, it should take quite a while to drink your way through it. Highly recommended.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Jasmine Pearl Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Lynn Lynn
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