Jasmine Shou Mei (茉莉寿眉白茶) is a white tea from Fujian Province that is blended with natural jasmine flowers and comes compressed into individual mini squares or wafers. Made from the larger, coarser leaves and stalks and whole jasmine flowers, it produces a smooth and sweet flavour with fruity honey notes. Unlike properly scented jasmine tea, this tea does not undergo any additional scenting, with the jasmine flowers providing the only jasmine flavour. As such the jasmine taste and aroma is very mild and delicate. If you prefer strongly scented jasmine tea, we recommend choosing other jasmine teas from our selection. This particular batch was harvested and pressed in July 2021.
The base tea used here is the Shou Mei white tea, which is considered to be the 4th grade tea to come from the tea plants. The first grade is Yin Zhen Silver Needle that consists solely of fine tips. The second grade is Bai Mu Dan White Peony that consists of some tips plus smaller leaves. The third grade is called Gong Mei, although often this tea is combined under the more famous Shou Mei name. The fourth final grade that consists of coarser and larger leaves and fewer tips is called Shou Mei. The name Shou Mei (sometimes also Sow Mee) is often translated as ‘Longevity Eyebrow’.
Shou Mei is a type of tea of which very many grades exist and the flavour profile greatly changes from one producer to the next. The main driving factor behind that is how late the picking of the leaves is in the year and also by the proportion of larger coarser leaves. Such darker leaves normally signify lower quality and they produce a darker liquor, albeit with a more full-bodied flavour. This tea can come in loose form but is also commonly sold in pressed form, with large cakes being a particularly popular form. In this case, it was pressed into mini squares. These make for convenient storage but also for convenient serving, each mini square being an individual serving. Blending tea with whole flowers is a traditional tea making technique in China and jasmine flavour is a perfect accompaniment to many types of tea.
These Jasmine Shou Mei mini squares consist of pressed Shou Mei white tea and whole jasmine flowers. As this tea does not undergo any traditional jasmine scenting, the taste and aroma of jasmine is very delicate. This allows the base tea to shine in terms of flavours, while the jasmine florals add and lighten the taste. These wafers produce a bright amber liquor with a light floral aroma. The soothing taste is sweetly floral with fruity notes of dried apricots. There is a sweet, sugary mouthfeel and honey notes present that make for a very smooth drink. The aftertaste has a sweet thickness that is quite pleasant.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for around 2-3 minutes according to your taste. Use one mini square per serving and brew multiple times. For best results, we recommend gongfu style of brewing: 1 square per 150ml at 95°C in a gaiwan or your favourite teaware with an initial quick rinse to start opening up the leaves. Alternatively, skip the rinse and extend the first infusion until the mini square starts opening up. After that, follow with infusions of around 30 seconds, increasing the time with each subsequent steep.