The Mystery Behind "Perfumed Teas"
The curious question of how exactly were my teas "perfumed" gets brought up often. Contrary to the intuitive (yet outrageous) guess that a perfumed tea is made by a mad perfumer who likes to dip their tea bags in perfumes - ther term "Perfumed Tea" is a rather ancient concept in tea culture and not nearly as dangerous as it may sound.
If the term "Perfumed Tea" seems mysterious or strange, I would attempt to clarify and shed some light on this enchanting phenomenon in tea culture that I have becaome aware of thanks to my collaborations with Dawna Ehman. Perfumed Tea refers to a tea that is flavoured with the true and pure plants and flowers. Rather than get their aroma and flavor from artificial and natural flavouring essences (which is what the more commonly consumed and often tea-bagged Aromatized Teas are all about), Perfumed Teas are perfumed with fragrant plants, fruits and flowers. For instance: a perfumed jasmine tea is made by layering tea leaves with fresh jasmine flowers and replacing the flowers with new ones until the tea is completely immersed with the jasmine's aroma.
The Perfumed Teas in the Ayala Moriel collection are perfumed with the raw plant matter that was chosen for its unique aroma and flavour profile - all selected and proportioned carefully as to represent the perfume in the form of tea.
For instance: Tirzah tea is perfumed with linden flowers and osmanthus blossoms among others, to bring across the fresh, green floral notes of the perfume of that name.
Immortelle l'Amour tea has vanilla-infused rooibos. The vanilla beans are present in the tea blend itself, and when you finish your cup you may find some vanilla specks at the bottom...
And lastly, Gaucho tea, has an interesting array of herbs that bring across the aromatic fougere coumarin character of the perfume, created by the use of herbs such as clover flowers and damiana leaf.
None of these tease are aromatized - there are no essences (artificial or natural) in any of those teas, but rather they are perfumed with the herbs and flowers contained within them.* This article was re-published from Ayala Moriel's May 2008 Newsletter.