Today's tea is a jasmine-suffused pouchang (I think) from Fujian Tea Import & Export Co., Ltd. What's pouchang, you ask? Well, I didn't know until this morning, either. The big division in the tea world is between green tea and black tea. According to the Harney and Sons website,
To make green tea , the fresh tea is briefly cooked using either steam or dry heat. This process "fixes" the green colors and fresh flavors. For black tea, the tea is left outside and becomes limp (withered), then put into machines that roll the leaves and damage them. The damaged leaves change color to brown, then black. This natural process is called oxidation and is similar to the ripening of a banana (from yellow to brown and finally becoming black.)
Oolong tea, for the most part a Taiwanese specialty, is halfway between black tea and green tea: it's been oxidized, but only partially. Pouchang tea, which apparently is halfway between green tea and oolong tea; in other words, it's only slightly oxidized. To make jasmine tea, fresh jasmine flowers are packed with pouchang tea; every night, the jasmine flowers open and their scent suffuses into the tea. The grade of the tea is partially determined by how many nights this process is allowed to continue. I have no idea what grade this particular tea (Butterfly brand, ref. 1030, if you're curious) is because most of the text on the tin is in Chinese and the website has next to no information, but I can tell you that I like it. It brews fairly light and doesn't have a whole lot of body. What it does have is a whole lot of jasmine aroma. I happen to like jasmine, and I like this tea. I didn't think that I would, but I do.
The tea was a gift from Mamacita's friend Letitia, who apparently found it while purging her linen closet (why there was tea in her linen closet is good question, but perhaps it is better not to ask) and realized that she would never use it. Well, I thank her, and I can promise that I will use it.