It would be wrong to think that flavoured tea is just a tricky attempt of unscrupulous manufacturers to give their shoddy products at least some flavour by using chemical essences. This surely happens, but not in Moychay collection - where we present best grades of tea flavoured with fresh jasmine flowers.
Tea flavored with flowers has its own history which has "deep roots" as they say in China. In "Tea Notes" ("Cha Pu" - a treatise on tea written by Zhu Quan, the 17th son of Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang, the founder of Ming Dynasty), there is a detailed description of its preparation: "... put blossoming flowers into a a woven basket with paper compartments: tea in the top compartment, and flowers in the bottom. Seal the basket tightly and open only when the time comes to change the old flowers. After a few days the tea will absorb a lovely fragrance ... "
Flowers of rose and osmanthus, chrysanthemum and jasmine would be used to give their flavour to tea. Indeed, the Ming Dynasty epoque brougt about many innovative technologies to the art of tea, including loose tea, known to us today.
While fashion and tastes were changing over time, Moli Hua Cha (tea flavoured with jasmine flowers) has become an inherent part of the tradition. Nowadays there are several classic grades - each having its own zest as well as technological peculiarities. However, in any case they are made on the basis of ready green tea which is then mixed with fresh jasmine flowers.
Before the flavouring process starts, tea leaves undergo additional drying to evaporate the moisture accumulated during the time of storage. Meanwhile, unopened buds of jasmine are harvested ealy in the morning and brought to the factory. During transportation the temperature of the flowers increases, and immediately on arrival they are scattered to cool down and evaporate excess moisture.
On the next stage, now opened buds are mixed with ready green (sometimes white) tea, and put in long rows on the floor of the drying department - layers of mao cha and jasmine (10-15 cm thick) alternatively. While maturing and absorbing the flavour of flowers, the temperature inside a "tea heap" increases, that is why heaps should be stirred several times during this stage.
Duration and amount of jasmine depends on the type of product desired in the end. For example, to produce 100 kg of premium "Moli Zhen Zhu" ( "Jasmine pearls"), 100 kg of jasmine is needed. Aromatization process has 4 phases: at the first stage, 38 kg of flowers are required, at the second - 30 kg, at the third - 26 kg, and finally at the fourth - 6 kg. The old flowers are mechanically seived out (or, in rare cases picked out manually).
Traditionally, jasmine is flavored with green tea varieties, but nowadays manufacturers are increasingly experimenting with reds.