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China Tea ep. 33 – Scented Tea | Sunday Tea Book | Sip-a-long – Xu Gong Cha

Scented Tea

Adding flowers to tea improves both the flowers and the tea. The elegant, effortless aroma of tea combined with the modern, refreshing flower aroma, has become one of the most popular kinds of tea, scented tea (花茶, flower tea).

Sneak Peak

Scented tea combines the taste of tea with the aroma of flowers. The tea aroma enhances the flower aroma and the taste of flowers enriches the taste of tea. It maintains the full-bodied tea flavor as well as the invigorating flower aroma. Sipping scented tea is refreshing and uplifting. In terms of health benefits, it also combines both.


Tea can absorb aromas and odor. Making scented tea is a process that takes advantage of this characteristic of tea. Putting the tea and fresh flowers together until the tea absorbs the aroma of the flowers, then the flowers are sifted out. Now you have a scented tea with rich floral aroma and yellow liquor, one of the most popular teas in the north (of China). The most common scented tea is jasmine scented tea, but there are also magnolia, osmanthus, zhu lan flower (珠兰花), dai dai flower (玳玳花), etc. Most scented tea is made with green tea, but it is also sometimes made with black tea.


Light bright yellow. Tender, uniformed brewed leaves.


Refreshing, rich with prominent flower aroma.


Xu Gong Cha (Bi Tan Piao Xue) – Jasmine Green Tea


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Our Bi Tan Piao Xue comes directly from the original inventor Mr. Xu Jin Hua and is entirely handmade. The dry tea leaves are neat and compact and mostly green with visible silver hairs and a hint of yellow. The jasmine flowers are finally allowed to blossom when the tea is brewed and they float serenely among the green tea leaves as if a light spring snow is falling on the green pond. Watching the fresh green leaves slowly and steadily descend, separating themselves from the white jasmine blossoms floating on the top is a surreal experience that will sooth your soul. The visually stunning yellowish green liquid has a distinctive jasmine fragrance combined with a vigorous green tea aroma that slowly recedes as the jasmine fragrance steadily becomes the stronger aroma. The tender and delicate buds deliver all the freshness and sweetness of green tea while the jasmine offers up a pleasant floral smell that awakes you and lifts your spirits. The finish is fast and sweet and continues to fill the nose with delightful aromas that will embrace you for your entire journey with this tea. Always present, but never overpowering, the jasmine and tea leaves are so young and fresh they are even edible and quite delicious.

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Basic Types

Scented green tea: jasmine green tea, osmanthus green tea, pomelo green tea, Osmanthus Long Jing, Mo Li Xiang Ju, etc.

Scented black tea: rose black tea, etc.

Scented oolong tea: osmanthus Tie Guan Yin, Jasmine Oolong, Osmanthus Oolong, Shu Lan Se Zhong, etc.



Grab a handful of tea and feel its weight, observe if there are other objects in the mixture like stem, flowers or broken leaves. The good ones are heavier, and free of foreign objects, while the lower quality ones are lighter with inferior mixtures.

Dry leaves look

The good ones are slim, tight, uniformed in color with luster. Thick, rough and twisted leaves with dull color shows a lower quality or even old tea.


Smell if there’s other odors mixed in. Then put it close to the nose for a deep inhale to see if the aroma is pure. The good ones have a powerful aroma while the lower quality ones have thinner aroma.

Real and Counterfeit Scented Tea

Real scented tea uses the xun zhi process. Premium grades go through several times of xun zhi, and are rich in aroma and flavor. The flowers after it’s sifted out has no aroma and is known as gan hua (dried flower, 干花). Premium grades don’t have gan hua. 

Counterfeit scented tea

Counterfeit scented tea means it’s gan hua mixed in. In some places, you might see some scented teas with a lot of dried flowers, marketed as “real” scented tea. In fact, it uses the gan hua mixed with low grade green tea, pretending to be scented tea. If you smell the dry leaf, the aroma is faint and once it’s infused, it’s even thinner with little to no flower’s aroma.

Jasmine Green Tea

Scented tea combines the aroma and taste of flowers and teas together, giving it a rich, refreshing and uplifting taste.

The aroma of spring

Jasmine green tea is a precious scented green tea with over 700 years of history. People describe jasmine green tea as the aroma of spring, one of the best natural healthy drinks.

The xun zhi (窨制) process is where the flowers gives out their aroma and the tea absorbs it. It is a biochemical process of how jasmine flowers give off its aroma. The mature jasmine flower under the effects of enzyme, temperature, moisture and oxygen, give out their fragrant substance. The tea’s absorbing process is at first a physical phenomena, then a chemical one. With the tea absorbing the aroma of the flowers, it also absorbs water. With the warmth and moisture, the tea then undergoes chemical changes, the liquor changes from green to yellow, the taste changes from light and astringent to rich and full-bodied, forming the unique aroma, color and taste of scented tea.


Dry leaves: uniformed shaped, tight and slim, dark and lustrous.


Yellow-ish green, bright, rich and brisk, refreshing. Versatile. lingering.

Shaped scented tea

Shaped scented tea is a kind of handmade scented tea. Different from xun zhi scented tea, this kind of scented tea bundles dried flowers and tea leaves together. After this shaping process, the tea presents certain shapes formed by the flowers and the tea after being brewed. It’s very appealing on the eye, less focus on the taste buds. 

When brewing shaped scented tea, beautiful glassware that can endure high temperature is the best choice of vessel. Pour in the boiling water, and watch the tea and flower bloom.

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