Green tea with jasmine from Le sprit du thé
When I was a little girl my parents used to take me every Sunday to a Chinese restaurant to have dinner. It was a family tradition. I just loved that restaurant. The beautiful Chinese symbols crafted on wood on the ceiling, the red and black lacquered walls, the beautiful white & blue china and the amazing owner, Lady Betty, a Chine old woman with a beautiful smile in a beautiful Chinese silk dress and a jade necklace...I remember the thrill of throwing the rice into the Sizzling Rice Soup and the noise it made when it cracked and popped, the freshness of the cucumber salad and the delicate aroma of the jasmine and green Chinese teas.
Lady Betty once came to me and told me that the secret of her amazing looks was that she drank a lot of green tea (she was at that time 60 yrs. old but one could never guess her age because she looked incredibly young). So she offered me a cup of tea and explained me that the fragrance and aroma came from beautiful flowers called jasmine. And we were to drink it very hot and without sugar. That day, not only I felt very grown-up drinking jasmine tea (only adults ordered those beautiful tea pots) but I also fell in love for it so that it became my favorite beverage. I drink tons of hot tea during the winter and iced tea all summer. In fact, drinking tea to me is sort of a ritual. It is a very personal thing. I choose one specific blend (taste and aroma)depending on my mood and the atmosphere I wish to create. I sit down and I take my time to sip and enjoy it. Most of the times, I like to drink it while I am alone.
When I lived in the Middle East I had the opportunity to discover new ways of preparing tea. There they usually add herbs to black tea, such as mint, verbena, lemon grass and others. Most of the people I knew made their own blends. They dried fruits and flowers to mix in the tea and they sat together to drink it. Did you know that Jewish persians, iraqis and yemenites drink thousand of liters of tea per day? They actually drink more tea than the Brits!
The art of blending teas is the closest I could find to the art of making perfumes.
To master the art of blending teas one has to be able to produce the same taste he has produced previously. That means, if the blender had problems with shipping, price or climatic conditions, he/she has to be able to find in another source of teas, so when blended together, will result in the same taste and smell he/she had produced before. No matter which blend he/she makes, consumers should not feel the difference (only a professional tea taster with years of experience has the skills to notice). Of course today, huge companies use computers and all batches are mixed by machines. But as the art of perfumery, there are still artisans blending tea manually, and some are even producing customized blends.
What I feel it will interest us, the fragrance affictionados, is perfumed tea blends and the aromatized teas. I learned that they are different products.
While aromatized teas have additional aromas and flavors added to the blend, such as natural essential oils (For example, earl gray is aromatized with bergamot oil), perfumed teas are carefully created and prepared with a blend of teas, herbs, plants, spices, flowers and fruits.
The process of finding the right blend of fragrances (aromas) is found by the nose. The unique aroma is created like perfumers create beautiful accords for perfumes. The difference here is that we don't drink perfumes (yet!), so not only the fragrance must be gorgeous but also the taste. Usually perfumed teas are very beautifully created with the best flowers and flower petals. The colors of the added ingredients are a feast to the eyes. Not to mention the tea packages and accessories! I found amazing tea packages during my research for this article.
Some perfumers or niche perfume brands offer their own brand.
Ayala Moriel Parfums offers the tea version of some of her fragrances
Ayala Moriel is a natural perfumer with a vast collection of beautiful fragrances. Among other products, she offers perfumed tea blends.I found roses et chocolat very romantic and very gourmet. As she describes it, it is an elixir of love. The blend mixes Grand premium Fu Hao black tea from China, premium rose Congou black tea from Peru, damask rose petals from France, rose Vanilla pod from Madagascar, raw cocoa nibs, and anise seeds from Turkey (all ingredients are certified and organic). The delicate aroma of roses is enriched by cocoa and vanilla gourmand notes and spiced by anis. The final blend is combined with black tea to result in a sensual, delicate and romantic aroma. The taste of a love affair! Originally produced for Valentines, it became such a success that now it is available a year-around.
Miya Shinma parfums
Miya Shinma is a niche perfumer who has her own brand where she presents fragrances, green perfumed teas, perfumed messages, pearls among other objects. She uses Japanese Kawane green tea to blend gracefully with flowers and gold powder.
The perfumed teas with gold powder are presented with the same fragrances she uses in her eaux de parfums (with the elements - flower, wind and moon). The perfumed green teas are blended with floral notes of typical Japanese flowers, such as cherry and orange blossoms. She also offers two other exclusive teas: Amour Amour, with roses and powdered green tea (called matcha). Her tea packages are beautifully wrapped in black & white papers.
The oriental philosophy with a French touch results in amazing delicacies sometimes!
Miller Harris - fragrant tea - Thé Fumé
Miller Harris is known for his luxurious and exclusive fragrances. The brand's collection mixes perfumes, candles, fragrant oils, bath and body products and amazing perfumed teas. Created with perfume techniques, the teas have top, middle and base notes, just as all perfumes, carefully packed with his exclusive botanical prints. Thé Fumé is a special blend with smokey tea, with Indian spices and Vanilla Bourbon of Madagascar. For spiciness, the top notes are constructed with cinnamon from Ceylon and cardamom pods. The heart is a unique Sri Lankan black tea, smoked over cinnamon wood.
The brand has in the collection 6 different blends, all created by perfumer Lyn Harris (trained in France with more than 16 years of experience creating perfumes), using only natural exclusive raw materials, creating beautiful products for special moods, atmospheres, seasons and occasion.
I have Miller Harris Fleurs de Bois perfume which is simply fresh, green and gorgeous!
Wengé évils de sens - Latin Lover maté perfumed tea blend
Wengé is a restaurant from Luxembourg offering also catering services and products. Among wines and patisseries they also have a vast collection of perfume tea blends (250!!!) to be served with their pastries and desserts. Latin lover is a curious blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, pepper with yerba mate.
Blossom perfumed tea from Café la Thé
Café la Thé is an amazing French brand offering tea, coffee and other products on line. Besides the delicious perfumed blends, they also offer the blossom perfumed teas or fleur de thé. Those are pressed teas that once you pour hot water on it, it "blossoms". In the picture above you will find a blend of Chinese green tea with a rose bud inside.
And last but best, comes Blend for Friends.
Master tea blender Alex Probyn personally hand mix exclusive and individual blends, creating personalized customized teas for clients (private or corporate).
After years of experience blending teas for the world's leading tea brands, he opened his own business, traveling around the globe in order to offer the most exclusive and special teas available in the market.
Alex blends teas just like niche perfumers are blending fragrances, with love, passion, highest quality raw materials and most of all, blended with his own hands like tea was prepared centuries ago, in order to preserve the quality and the fragrance of the tea leafs.
Flowering tea - design by Gabriela Yaroslavsky - Brazil
I loved this package! it is so delicate and so oriental!