We were pleased to include a special surprise in May’s teabox, for all non-firstime members: Jasmine Wheels! Otherwise known as Jasmine Bai Mu Dan, these curious and intricate creations bring a beguiling aroma, and provide a fascinating steeping experience.
What is Bai Mu Dan?
If you’ve never seen a Bai Mu Dan before, you might find the look of it rather surprising: round and flat, like a squished, spikey disk. Some describe this as a wheel, hence we’ve given the name Jasmine Wheel to our special Jasmine Bai Mu Dan.
In short, it’s green tea. But it’s not the loose leaf we send out in our teaboxes every month. It has a special form, one that’s made by an intricate four-step process:
First, specific leaves are selected from the tea plant. These are very particular, as they need to be long enough, and have a special, mottled-white appearance. Leaves with these characteristics are available for only two to three weeks of each year, and a lot of care is given to the harvesting process.
Second, the leaves are tied together and secured to form the wheel shape.
Third, the wheels are steamed (which stops the oxidation process, locking in the goodness of the green tea).
Fourth, for our Jasmine Wheels, the Bai Mu Dan is dried in the same room as fresh Jasmine flowers. The flowers are so fragrant that their lovely aroma is transmitted to the green tea leaves. This means that, even though there are no actual flowers in the wheel that gets delivered to you, that heady Jasmine essence is still very present, and greets you the moment you open your Jasmine Wheel package.
How do you steep Bai Mu Dan?
The process is simple, and rather intriguing.
For our Jasmine Wheels, you will want to use a teapot, rather than a cup. The amount of green tea within each wheel is enough to steep three to four cups. A clear glass teapot is best, so you can get a good look at the show! If you don’t own a clear teapot, a glass bowl or even a glass measuring pitcher can work too.
Use just-boiled water. The very hot water will cause the leaves to infuse quickly and open. If your water is too cold, the Bai Mu Dan might not open completely.
Place the Bai Mu Dan in the teapot, and pour the water on top. Your Bai Mu Dan will begin to float, as it loses trapped air. Eventually, as the leaves uncurl and the Bai Mu Dan opens, it will sink to the bottom of the teapot. You might observe little air bubbles release from the edges of the leaves.
When the Bai Mu Dan is completely open, it is shaped more like a ball, fully rounded and spiked, like a hedgehog. You will also notice that the water has taken on some colour, as the tea leaves have infused their tastiness. When the Bai Mu Dan has stopped uncurling, your tea is ready to drink. Typically, this can take two to three minutes.
I received a Jasmine Wheel in my teabox this month, how can I get more?
We’re pleased to announce that we are in the process of launching a brand-new, members-only tea shop! This is where you can re-order your favourite loose leaf blends, and other tea specialities like the Jasmine Wheel. We’ll be emailing out the details soon, stay tuned!