Jasmine teas are primarily produced near Fuzhou City in Fujian Province, China. The Jasmine tree was native to the Persian Gulf, and according to some sources was brought to China in the 3rd Century.
We were never terribly enthusiastic about jasmines until we had a friend make these.
Our Jasmine Pearls are made with the same pearls as our Dragon Pearls. These are fine young leaf-and-bud sets that are picked in April of each year. They are then rolled into pearls, carefully stored until late June, when jasmine trees blossom with thousands of flowers per tree.
The tea is then separated into mesh trays and placed in a heated drier. In between each tray of tea pearls, a mesh tray of freshly picked jasmine flowers is placed. The drier gently blows 80-degree air through the tea and the blossoms, allowing the tea to gently absorb the scent of the flowers. In the morning the trays are removed, and the pearls are re-fired to remove any moisture absorbed from the blossoms, and then they are packed into chests and prepared for shipment. Often the blossoms will be saved and used over the next few nights on lesser-quality teas. The only aid to the scenting process is the gently blowing warm air of the drier.
Less expensive Jasmine Pearls and Jasmine teas do exist in the market. These teas can be quite old (more than 18 months since harvesting), or are summer-picked teas rather than spring-picked. Other tricks in the trade to cut corners and reduce costs are to perfume the teas with oils in combination with scenting, or using several-day-old blossoms rather than freshly picked blossoms. Top-quality jasmine teas often have only a few blossoms in with the tea, as most are carefully removed and reused for scenting lesser-quality teas.