Tea with the scent of flowers is a unique feature of Vietnamese tea culture. Vietnamese people enjoy varieties of tea with flowers. Among them, lotus tea (In Vietnamese: trà sen, chè sen, or chè ướp hoa sen) is considered as Tea for the King.
Lotus is the symbolism of the Vietnam national flower. The flowers bloom from early May through June. Lotus grow in all of the country’s rural areas but Hue and Hanoi are well known for the best lotus to make lotus tea.
In the past, lotus tea was only served to the Kings in Hue. During Nguyen Dynasty, tea scented by lotus flowers grown in Tinh Tam Lake was said to have more aromatic than from elsewhere. Imperial maids used to row to Tinh Tam Lake to place tea leaves inside the flowers opened at midnight then harvested in the early morning and collect dewdrops from lotus leaves to brew the tea.
Nowadays, Lotus tea from Hanoi West Lake is considered as the most precious lotus tea with sophisticated, precise and stylish way of making and enjoying.
There are also several methods to make Lotus tea:
- Stuffing green tea leaves into the flower and leaving them overnight.
- Pulling the entire stamen from the flower or just their anthers, then either jar them overnight with the tea leaves or bake the tea leaves with them.
These steps can be repeated multiple times to increase the floral scent in the tea leaves. For higher quality tea, one thousand lotus flowers per kilogram of tea are needed to complete this ancient process.
The result is the long curled green tea leaf with a slightly sharp flavor. Lotus tea is typically best brewed for under 2 minutes using cooler brewing temperatures (160 °F/70 °C). It brews a pale green liquor, leaving one’s palate with the floral sweetness of aromatic lotus blossoms. Some fanciers will brew 3-4 times from one set of leaves.
You can taste the Tea served to the Kings with Cozy Lotus Tea