I bought this tea in Cambodia and was reading about the tea culture in the country which can be traced back to the Angkorian period. During that time, tea was introduced by Chinese diplomats visiting the rulers of the Khmer Empire. Today, in Cambodia jasmine tea is the most popular tea. Surprisingly, it is sometimes poured over coffee as well for flavour. While this does not sound too good, I’d have given it a shot if I was offered. Apparently, Cambodian brides and grooms also perform a tea ceremony during the wedding as they offer a cuppa to the spirit of their ancestors.
Tea production in Cambodia was thriving until large plantations were wiped out by the ruling party in the 1970ies. However, tea continued to grow wildly, and currently near Kirirom Mountain villagers and private owners continue tea cultivation albeit producing small amounts only. Interestingly, the tea that is grown in Cambodia is a hybrid of the camellia sinensis var. sinensis and camellia sinensis var. assamica called camellia sinensis var. cambodiensis which I had no idea it existed. This variation thought to be a hybrid of the other two varieties growing in subtropical climates.
I am not a big fan of jasmine tea or any type of flavoured teas as they tend to suppress the tea’s natural flavour and aroma. However, with similar logic, one might think that ‘bitter’ taste of tea is suppressed by the beautiful smell of jasmine flowers. So, I understand why jasmine tea is so beloved. Once a Chinese tea connoisseur told me that jasmine tea was particularly popular in Northern China where the quality of water is not good. Jasmine tea can also cover for bad quality water which is essential to make a good cuppa.
Harvest time: 2019
Leave colour: Green with visible pale-yellow jasmine leaves
Liquor colour: Light orange
Tea aroma: Jasmine
Tea taste: Slightly astringent with strong floral tones
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 85°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 1 year (the freshest the better)