Curious about what makes Madame Butterfly such a special jasmine tea blend? Let’s explore the journey from tea bud to cup.
Premium Tea Buds
In late February, tea bushes start growing again in Northern Fujian Province, near the town of Fuding, after a winter dormancy period from mid December to February. During this dormancy, the bushes do not sprout new shoots.
As the weather warms in the in the four weeks to come, the bushes grow new shoots with long succulent buds. The tea farm we work closely with only picks buds during this time. By April, the buds will have lost their superb tender qualities. The buds are then processed, hand tied into the shape of little butterflies (also appearing like little bowties) and then vacuum sealed to preserve their quality.
Fine Jasmine Blossoms
By the beginning of June, the jasmine farms near Fuzhou come into blossom. The jasmine blossoms open at night and exude their intense floral nature. The tea is then transferred to these farms.
During the afternoon, workers on the jasmine farms pluck the best jasmine buds before they open – but they know which ones will open that night. During the evening, the tea is carefully layered between the new jasmine buds. As the buds open, they impart the intense floral character on the tea.
In the morning, the buds and tea are separated. Later again that evening the tea is layered again between fresh blossoms. This process is repeated for seven days in a row, using only the freshest blossoms each time!
We only obtain about 500-900 kilos of Madame Butterfly a year. The supply is limited, as the making process is extensive and the tea is quite rare. There is other variations of butterfly jasmine tea available outside this traditional period, and whilst it is pretty good, it does not have the fine nuance that T. Kettle’s Madame Butterfly provides. Our Madame Butterfly luxury jasmine green tea is of superior quality, and excellent taste.
How to Brew Madame Butterfly
We recommend about 7 or 8 ‘butterflies’ per cup, steeped in rested boiling water. Watch the leaves rehydrate and expand to reveal the fine tea. Steep for 2-3 minutes and enjoy the fine nuance of one of the best teas in the world.