This lotus season is special to me as I have had a chance to watch my friend Tiên and her friends and tea-lovers scenting tea with lotus blossoms for the first time. I’m not sure since when Vietnamese people have made and drunk lotus-scented tea but it’s said that the emperors of Nguyễn Dynasty had a fondness for tea which was scented with lotus blossoms harvested in Tịnh Tâm Lake. You can say that lotus-scented tea is royal tea as it was loved by the emperors but more than that, it’s quite expensive, time-consuming and meticulous to make it. I’ve learnt two ways of scenting tea with lotus blossoms: keeping the tea inside the blossoms for 24 hours, and mixing the tea only with gạo sen (the grain on the tip of the lotus blossoms’ stamens). The first way is less expensive but you can’t keep it long unless you store it at a very low temperature. With the latter, it takes more time and money to make it but the tea can be stored much longer at room temperature. It’s said that tea scented with gạo sen has more elegant aroma. I can’t say otherwise as these tea-lovers used thousands of tiny gạo sen from about 200 white lotus blossoms to scent just 400g of tea. The petals can be sun-dried to make pillows; and the rest (stalks and seed pods) can be arranged in a vase for decoration.
It was beautiful and peaceful to watch these gentle souls scenting tea with white lotus blossoms so I’d like to share it with you. Wishing you peace and joy!