Today's blog is a tutorial on how to brew chrysanthemum tea. Chrysanthemum tea is not just a simple, tasty beverage. It also has medicinal benefits, as documented in Ben Chao Gang Mu, or Compendium of Materia Medica written by Lee Shi Zhen during the Ming Dynasty. Ben Chao Gang Mu is like the first traditional Chinese medicine encyclopedia.
|A copy of Ben Chao Gang Mu I bought during a trip to Shanghai, China. Topped with Chrysanthemum flowers for photography.|
That is why even when I moved away from home, I still try to brew some simple stuff for myself whenever I feel like I need it. But, my chrysanthemum tea never tasted like my mom's. Instead of tasting light with a hint of flowers, it was usually slightly bitter and a little sour. What I lacked in the "technical know how" I supplemented with efforts in the forms of extra heat and brew length. I would bring the water up to a rolling boil, toss a huge handful of flowers in the water and pretty much let the flowers simmer this way for at least an hour. I figured if it didn't taste right, at least I could still get the most potent tea in return for my efforts.
On a recent trip back to Singapore, I complained of headache due to jetlag. And, of course, my mom brought out her chrysanthemum stash and started brewing the tea. Below I have noted how she brewed a perfect pot of tea.
Here is the correct way:
1/2 Cup of dried chrysanthemum tea
A pot of 2L of water
Sugar (Optional, adjusted to personal taste)
1) Boil a full pot of hot water in a kettle, about 2L of water in all.
2) Measure 1/2 cup of chrysanthemum flowers. Put the flowers in the pitcher.
|A pitcher and half a cup of packed chrysanthemum flowers|
|Flowers soaking in hot water|
Thank you for reading.
Chrysanthemum Tea Flowers:
Full English Version of Compendium Materia Medica by Li Shi Zhen: