During a recent holiday in Vietnam, our group of friends was served a variety of tea including jasmine tea and honey tea. However, what stands out in memory is tasting lotus tea, which at first glance could be described as delicate, with the lotus leaves steeped in water and the little drinking bowls all sitting pretty on a beautiful tray. The fragrance is wonderful and the tea has a very distinct and potent flavor and seemed very relaxing with every sip.
The lotus is a flower of great honor in Vietnam and we had seen it as an offering in the pagodas too. Earlier, lotus tea is known to have been prepared by putting green tea carefully inside lotus flowers on the verge of blooming just before dawn. They were then collected and prepared for serving the next morning. These days there are other new ways to make lotus scented tea.
Though now the method of preparing lotus tea is easier, there is still a lot of effort and care involved in the process making good quality lotus tea. It is therefore, a highly coveted commodity in Vietnam by tea lovers and the ordinary people as a high – priced gift.
The lotus, which is seen as a pure and serene flower in Vietnamese and some other Asian cultures, is seen as gathering the essence of heaven and earth in its scent. Hence the drinking of Vietnamese lotus tea was a really unique experience but finding a good quality tea of this variety is not very easy.
Is green tea typically the base for lotus tea? I haven’t seen it available in the U.S. but I will surely keep my eyes open for it.