Country of Origin: China
Region: Jiangxi Province, WuYuan County
Shipping Port: Shanghai
Grade: Special jasmine - Gold Dragon
Altitude: up to 2500 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Steamed green tea and infused with scent from midnight picked jasmine
Cup Characteristics: Exquisite abundant jasmine character. The intense jasmine notes are only possible with flowers picked at the peak - generally about midnight. Some pungency with delicious green tea character
Infusion: Tending bright emerald green
The Metropolitan Tea Company Ltd.
Certified Organic by QMI Organic Inc.
Certificate #: 150 - 2008
Organic tea is produced without the input of chemical fertilizers or pesticides and herbicides. Unfortunately the yield per acre is lower and quite often quality can suffer compared to when fertilizers and others inputs are utilized. Nevertheless with good manufacturing techniques the cup characteristics can be maintained at a very high level - such is the case with this tea. This tea is a particularly good jasmine - hence the moniker Gold Dragon, (gold means wealth, prosperity, money and dragon means long life and strength). The jasmine tree comes into bloom only during May and June. The blossom only lasts for about 12 hours and only comes out at night after the sun goes down. About half way through the night the fragrance is at it's peak and it is at this time the blossoms need to be picked and layer into the tea. By the morning most of the fragrance has disappeared from the blossom, but if the tea maker has done his job correctly, this heavenly scent has been transferred to the tea and captured in time. This process is carried out on 5 successive evenings to impart the superior flavor of specially selected tea and jasmine flowers.
In China during the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1127) tea drinking rose to an art form. The harvesting of tea became closely regulated. Drum and cymbal signals were used to coordinate the tea pluckers during chilly dark pre-dawn hours. The tea pickers (always young virgins) received special training and even wore identification labels on the clothing so that tea thieves could be readily identified if they entered the estates. The girls were required to keep finger nails at a precise length, since nails, never the finger, were used to pluck the highest quality tea leaves. The fresh picked leaves were graded into classes and processed. The choice grade was delivered as tribute tea for the Emperor, while the rest was traded and sold by the regional government. A handful of tea of the choicest grade could be worth as much as 3 ounces of gold - virtually a lifetime of earnings for the common man.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180�F or 90�C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup, let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted.
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, scoop 2-4 teaspoons of tea into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn (previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (virtually all the leaves will sink), pour into your cup but do not add milk or sugar since green tea is enjoyed 'straight-up'.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]