The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

By Nguyen Phong, Huynh Phuong   May 8, 2020 | 11:50 pm GMT+7
Ancient town Hue is renowned for a most elegant specialty, the art of making lotus tea.
The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

Lotus is an essential part of daily life in Hue, ubiquitous in its landscapes, architecture, culture, and cuisine.

The photo was taken by Nguyen Phong, a Hue local. It is one of a series titled Hue’s lotus tea.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

In Hue, the former imperial capital in central Vietnam, people often choose lotuses that have nearly blossomed to make the tea because they retain all the essence in the bud.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

In the past people used an old-fashioned way to make the tea. They used to go to ponds and put green tea directly into the lotus, tie it up and leave it overnight for the tea to absorb the essence of the bud. These days people pick the lotus first and do it later.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

Green tea is put into lotuses. The best quality tea is chosen for this.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

The process of bagging the lotus with the tea inside might seem simple, but it requires great care because the petals easily rip apart.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

The lotus bud is tied up and wrapped inside a layer of lotus leaves.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

The bags of lotus tea are left overnight and can be used right in the morning. But it is recommended that the tea bags should be in the fridge for as long as possible, and the longer they stay in, the better they taste.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

Another way to embalm the tea is the “rice” way. Small white seeds that look just like rice are taken out of the lotus bud.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

The seeds of 2,000 buds can make one kilogram of lotus tea.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

After being taken out, the seeds are mixed with green tea, wrapped inside lotus leaves and left for one to two days. Then the tea is dried on charcoal or in a bain-marie, a process that ensures it does not lose the scent of the lotus.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

“The art of embalming tea in lotus requires great concentration and dexterity,” Phong said.

The fine art of making Hue’s lotus tea

A Hue woman in the traditional dress ao dai enjoys a cup of lotus tea.

In Vietnam, the lotus is a symbol of purity and integrity. 

 
 
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