The dry tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) have the ability to absorb different types of odour. So we use this ability to manipulate flower scented tea (熏製茶).
Eighty-Eight Tea House’s introduction to producing scented tea has six steps (see photo 1).
Step one, begin by roasting the semi-made tea leaves to remove unnecessary smell then set aside for 3-7 days to reduce smoke odour.
Step two, harvest the flower when they are in bloom. Farmers only select the best flowers without stems, leaves and sepal.
Step three, spread one layer of flowers over one layer of tea leaves and to provide a the 8 hour’ oxidation process. This allows plenty of time for the tea leaves to absorb the flower fragrance.
Step Four, in general, we don’t drink tea with real flowers, because some flowers will make the tea bitter after boiling. Therefore, these flower need to be picked out only certain kinds of flowers that arise sweet taste, such as osmanthus.
Step Five, put these tea aside for a few days then roast again to reduce the flower odour.
Step Six, Leave the tea leaves to settle for 7 to 30 days only then is the tea ready to drink.
After my visit to Eight-eight Tea I bought two different scented teas; the Tuberose Scented Oolong tea and Gardenia Oolong. Tuberose comes from Nantou from central Taiwan; the Gardenia originates from Changhua County a Western Taiwanese province. Both oolong tea varieties are harvested from a four season variety from Nantou.
The Tuberose Oolong has strong flower fragrance even after the fifth brew. The teapot and cup infuse with Tuberose fragrance and this reminds me of a hot summer night stood beneath Tuberose tree. Quite a treat for anyone looking to experience these oriental pleasures.. The Gardenia preserves the balance between flower fragrance and oolong tea flavours and can be brewed 3-4 times. The Gardenia has a good match with four season oolong whilst the light Gardenia fragrance compliments oolong. The Eight-Eight also make osmanthus, magnolia and other interesting varieties. TeaWon will explore more great scented tea in Taiwan for you soon.
Scented teas made from real flower and fruits and does not contain not artificial flavouring. A good scented tea has 30 percent of flower and 70 percent of original tea leaf flavours.