Jasmine tea is a type of scented tea often made with green tea and jasmine flowers, but white and black tea can also be used as a base. It is hugely popular in China, where most of the world’s jasmine tea is made, and this uniquely flavoured beverage is also said to provide a host of health benefits.
Jasmine tea can be quite pricy. Not only is it all imported from the east (along with China, Japan also produces large quantities of the tea), but the process by which it is made is quite delicate and labour intensive, as discussed a little later on in this guide.
Health Benefits of Jasmine Tea
Jasmine provides may of the same benefits of green tea, because that’s what this tea mostly consists of (more on that below). But the inclusion of jasmine may provide additional benefits, not least of which is the rich, welcoming aroma that has an instant soothing effect—not unlike lavender.
1. It May Protect the Heart
A study conducted on rodents found that an extract of jasmine tea could inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a process that triggers inflammation and is a known precursor for heart diseases. This suggests that jasmine tea could play a role in protecting the heart, especially when preexisting heart conditions are present or the patient consumes a high-fat diet.
Of course, just because some scientists tortured a few hamsters for several weeks and achieved positive results doesn’t mean that the same results will be mirrored by human studies. The only thing we can say with certainty is that jasmine tea “seems to” have an effect on heart health—and that scientists should never be allowed pets.
2. It’s Full of Antioxidants
This is true of most herbal teas, and it’s also something more pronounced in green tea, but jasmine tea may help lend some more variety to the antioxidant profile. Plant polyphenols, and those found in tea in particular, can reduce the risk of chronic disease, and a diet rich in these compounds is known to significantly reduce the risk of everything from heart disease to cancer.
3. Jasmine Tea and Weight Loss
There are a lot of claims on the internet that suggest it is an effective weapon in the fight against obesity, and they may be right, but all the research they link to was conducted on green tea, not jasmine tea.
There is no data suggesting that jasmine has any positive impact on metabolism, so while jasmine tea may be able to help, you’re probably better off drinking green tea on its own. Take a look at our guide to the benefits of green tea to read more.
Jasmine Tea versus Green Tea
It’s clear that there are many reasons to drink jasmine tea, but as alluded to above, most of these benefits are provided by the green tea (or white tea, depending on the base) and not the jasmine. If you’re drinking tea for the health benefits then you may be better off with green tea. It should be cheaper, and it should also be just as potent, if not more so, than jasmine tea.
If you like a little variety in your tea cupboard or you really enjoy the scent and taste of jasmine tea, then by all means drink that instead. It really is a unique tea, and one we would recommend any tea drinker try at least once.
Side Effects of Jasmine Tea
Jasmine tea is safe and generally well tolerated. If you do not have any allergies to jasmine or tea, then your only concern is the caffeine content. It’s not as caffeinated as coffee or black tea, but it still contains caffeine, and if you are drinking several cups at a time or you have a caffeine sensitivity, then you may suffer some unwanted side effects.
How is Jasmine Tea Made?
Both tea and jasmine grow at altitude, but they are harvested at different times, with tea being harvested in the spring and then kept until the summer, at which point the jasmine flowers are harvested.
The jasmine flowers are in full bloom at this point, but they are harvested early in the morning when the buds are closed tight. They are then stored until the evening, when the buds open, release their unique scent, and the production of jasmine tea begins.
The tea and jasmine are mixed together to allow the fragrances of the latter to combine with the former. The flowers are still moist from the harvest, allowing those richly scented oils to soak into the tea over the course of many hours (some more expensive jasmine teas will repeat this process half a dozen times to increase the potency).
The tea is then dried once more to air out the moisture added by the jasmine flowers, and it is then packed and shipped all over the world.
Does Jasmine Tea Contain Actual Petals?
The jasmine flowers are often removed before packing, although the odd petal can be found in nearly all varieties. Jasmine tea can also be turned into a blooming tea of sorts, with the tea leaves wrapped into a tight ball so that they open and “bloom” when added to hot water.
It’s pretty and it looks great in dried form and during the brewing process, but ultimately it doesn’t make a huge difference to the flavour (if any), and it can be expensive, as they are often wrapped by hand.
There may also be “fake” jasmine teas out there. It can be very easily faked with some cheap essential oils and cheap green teas, which is why it’s important to go to a reputable supplier. This is not as common as you might think because of the sheer volume of jasmine tea that is produced every year, but it’s definitely a problem that exists and one that could become bigger as jasmine tea becomes more popular.
The Best Jasmine Tea
Fuzhou, in China, is one of the most important regions where jasmine tea is concerned. It has the perfect climate and elevation for both tea and jasmine, and it produces millions of dollars’ worth of this tea every year. This is where a lot of the world’s premium jasmine tea comes from, but there are many other premium teas.
Yin Hao is one of the most sought-after and is sold by a few luxury tea companies here in the United Kingdom. It is a silver-tip green tea produced in the Fujian province, famous for producing white tea, green tea, and pretty much every high-grade tea.
What Does It Taste Like?
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that jasmine tea has a floral flavour, but it is not as strong as you might think. The fragrance of the jasmine is certainly very potent, but the actual taste is not strong enough to override the green tea, and instead it creates a very delicate balance between the two.
Obviously, this only applies when white and green tea have been used as a base, as black tea imparts stronger, deeper, and more intense flavours, overriding more of the delicate jasmine.