Jasmine Tea, what a fragrant brew!
by Hooi Yoke Lien
Some fellow tea drinkers in Malaysia think that there is a certain ‘kling’ smell to jasmine tea. The word ‘kling’ here refers to Indians in Malaysia. Just for illustration, when someone mentions ‘kling’ temples, he means the Indians’ places of worship. The association between jasmine tea the brew and ‘kling’ the adjective may be prompted by the fact that jasmine is a symbol of auspiciousness and holiness to Indians. ‘Kling’ ladies selling hand-made strings of jasmine blossoms at small flower stalls outside ‘kling’ temples are a common sight here. Worshippers put on the jasmine strings before entering the temples, bringing with them a lingering aroma.
To some palate, jasmine tea is bitter and astringent. It may not be the favorite of every tea drinker; but it should not stop us from doing her justice. All teas carry a hint of bitterness, and jasmine tea is no exception. However, jasmine is a rather delicate brew; if the water is too hot, she will release a lot more bitterness and become rather astringent.
If jasmine is a tad too bitter for your taste, try pairing it with tea snack such as cassava cake, nine-layered cake, white sugar rice cake, and naturally-sweet preserved fruit. The chemistry between bitterness and sweetness works so well that it will give a pleasingly light yet gratifying experience.
To bring out the purest and most refreshing flavour of jasmine tea, lower the water temperature. Make good use of the temperature indicator on the thermal flask at home; a water temperature of 70°C will be just right. If there is no indicator, pour boiled water into a cup and wait until the steam has dissipated. Then, pour it into the teapot for steeping. Jasmine tea made this way will be irresistible in aroma and pleasant in taste.