Although, when saying tea, we automatically transfer ourselves to an image of comfort, somewhere on the sofa, curled up with a cup of warm delight; history of tea actually reveals that it was initially recognised as one of the most powerful medicinal plants in the world, dating as far back as to 200BC! Nevertheless, for the indulgence of our taste buds, and our scent receptors, it wasn't very long until the medicinal magic of tea was evolved into the tea that we drink, as well as the tea that we admire in our perfumes.
Either you’re at the supermarket or the teahouse, or even at a market, your eyes will scatter over the numerous options of teas: Green, Black, Oolong, White or Pu-erh; a dilemma on what to pick to try! With a rich palette of aromas, inspiring and captivating, the same question lies in the eyes of endless perfumers; which tea accord to use? The array of tea scents can each evoke different feelings, different memories. One will transport you to a brisk, fresh forest, another to a field of freshly cut grass, bitter green, and another to a barn, with dry, smoky hay-like accords. With notable perfumes including Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu, and L’Artisan Parfumeur Thé pour un Eté, only to name a few; we couldn't resist sharing the secrets behind this ingredient and why we love TEA TIME at Maison 21G!
A LITTLE HISTORY…
The journey of tea began in China and Japan, where it was solely and exclusively used for its medicinal properties. By the 19th century, tea had dispersed from the east into the west, becoming an essential part of life there too, thus resulting in the monopolisation of the global tea market by China. However, following the Opium Wars, there was a growing concern from Europe on the supply of tea from China, and so they turned to their neighbour, Japan. With little commodities to sell out of the country, they eagerly opened their doors to the world, supplying tea at a low cost, consequently leading in becoming a vital export, second in line after raw silk. As demand and production levels rose, Japanese tea spread across the globe. However, in parallel, cheap, and inferior varieties of the plant started appearing on the market, with tea cultivation from India and Ceylon being in full swing by the beginning of the 20th century. As a result, this slumped the exports of Japanese tea. Fortunately, tea production is no longer limited and it is now harvested quite literally worldwide, from Kenya, to India, to China, to Sri Lanka!
Similar to the competition between countries, there was even rivalry between the tea sorts. Although, due to its endless health benefits, it was first established as the favourite tea in the West, green tea was soon relegated in the light of black tea, which was considered more suitable for Western tastes. No wonder why Earl Grey still remains the well-loved and treasured brew for the British… Nevertheless, it has been suggested that another probable reason for the decline of green tea was that the vitamin C and the catechins (natural antioxidants) that it had contained, severely oxidised the leaves, resulting in the colour and aroma to be vastly deteriorated. Yet, it wasn't long until technology preserving green tea had been developed, with the early 2000s seeing the drink once again attracting world attention.
THE PICKING & HARVESTING
Harvesting of tea, or more specifically the tea leaves, is done by hand and can be done as many times per year as the plant produces new shoots with leaves, i.e. as it ‘vegetates’. The bud (the tip) and the leaves, are hand-picked in the early morning, with only the younger, juicy leaves collected. There are specifically 3 different types of picking methods, depending on the desired quality level.
1) THE IMPERIAL HARVEST:
Using tea terminology, this harvest only picks the Pekoe (2 leaves and a bud), and only the leaf that follows it immediately. It is considered the best quality of picking.
2) FINE PICKING:
This includes the Pekoe, and the next two leaves to be picked together, and is a harvest of excellent quality.
3) THE AVERAGE HARVEST:
As you may have predicted, this includes the picking of the Pekoe and the following three leaves. The quality of the teas obtained isn’t as high-graded as the previous methods, yet it is commonly used, as the yield is higher and allows the tea plant to develop better. The more leaves you pick, four, five, six, although inferior in quality, it will be cheaper.
Often referred to as ‘unfermented’, due to its intent of preserving the natural elements of the fresh leaves, green tea follows different steps of production. The traditional method includes 4 main steps: withering (although not always), heating, rolling and drying. After picking, the fresh leaves are spread out and exposed to sunlight for one to two hours. The leaves are then heated to prevent oxidation and fermentation. Finally, the leaves are rolled out, a process that helps regulate the release of natural oils and flavour and then dried.
With even a simple touch of this ingredient, it will instinctively add a soothing quality to the scent. Packed with character, it will be a sin to not try this refreshing and uplifting accord in your bespoke fragrance!
Of course, what else would be most successful in portraying chic freshness than the mix of TEA TIME and ORRIS OPERA. A collaboration of soft, subtle green notes, with a luxurious powdery back; creating the perfect fragrance for everyday wear. Spray it all over yourself and you’re ready to step out for your day!
If you seek a more soothing fragrance, one that will relax you with every breeze, then the elixir of TEA TIME and CEDAR CAVIAR will be the ideal for you. The magnetic and charismatic woody notes intertwine with the aromatic freshness of the tea, creating a statement of elegance. Rather subtle in its composition, it remains bold and strong and will inevitably be remembered by those around you.
For our younger consumers, who enjoy the more playful compositions, TEA TIME and RASPBERRY REDEMPTION will be your perfect fit. Juicy, flirty, sparkling and young, the irresistible burst of fruits, with the uplifting tea notes create a fragrance that you won’t be able to go a day without… try it yourself, and thank us later!