Jasmine Tea and the Gratitude Fairy
Jasmine Tea (茉莉花茶) is named “the spring scent of China,” and it is a blend of both tea leaves and fresh jasmine flowers. The tea absorbs the fragrance of the blossoms and they complement each other.
According to a Chinese tea legend, it is said that jasmine tea originated from a Beijing tea trader, Chen Guqiu, a long time ago.
One winter day, Chen invited a tea master from the north to sample his most popular teas. As they were sipping the teas and discussing their quality, Chen remembered a special unopened pack of tea that had been given to him by a young lady from the south. He decided to make that tea for the master next.
The scent of the steaming tea kept rousing the master as it was being brewed. Then, from within the rising steam, an image of a beautiful girl arose, carrying a bunch of jasmine in her hands. All of a sudden, the image disappeared and only the vapor lingered.
Not aware of the enchanting vision, Chen questioned the tea master about the tea. The master smiled and said: “My friend, this tea is unrivalled; there is none better. It’s called “Gratitude Fairy.” I’ve only heard of it before. Now, I have finally seen it for myself. Who gave you this tea?”
Chen started telling his story. He met a girl when he journeyed south to purchase tea. The girl was miserable and told him that her father had passed away, and she had no money for a funeral. Chen sympathized with her and gave her some money. He also organized on her behalf for her neighbors to help her and let her stay at their relative’s home.
Three years later, when Chen went to the south again in the spring, the innkeeper delivered a pack of tea on behalf of the girl whom he had helped. He had not opened the tea packet until now, not knowing it was of such good quality.
The master wondered: “But why is she holding jasmine?” As they poured the tea again, the girl holding the jasmine re-appeared. While enjoying the tea, Chen suddenly realized: “In my opinion, this is a hint from the tea fairy that we can combine tea leaves with jasmine.”
Combining tea with jasmine flowers became common practice by tea drinkers the following year. The pleasing and attractive scent was loved and welcomed by people in the north, and thus jasmine tea was created.