Who came up with this crazy name for a Chinese flower?
Ok, wait, let me try googling it.
Chrysanthemum tea (Chinese: 菊花茶; pinyin: júhuā chá) is a flower-based tisane made from chrysanthemum flowers of the species Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum indicum, which are most popular in East Asia. To prepare the tea, chrysanthemum flowers (usually dried) are steeped in hot water (usually 90 to 95 degrees Celsius after cooling from a boil) in either a teapot, cup, or glass; often rock sugar is also added, and occasionally also wolfberries. The resulting drink is transparent and ranges from pale to bright yellow in color, with a floral aroma.
In Chinese tradition, once a pot of chrysanthemum tea has been drunk, hot water is typically added again to the flowers in the pot (producing a tea that is slightly less strong); this process is often repeated several times.
Chrysanthemum tea was first drunk during the Song Dynasty (960–1279).
Ok, this is not telling me why it is called Chrysanthemum. I tried searching with slightly different words, and ah-ha, you guessed it, it is the Wise Greeks again:
From the Greek khrūsanthemon, meaning gold flower
: khrūs-, khrūso-, chryso- + anthemon, flower (from anthos).
I personally call it by its Chinese name (“Gok Fa” in Cantonese). Not so much of a tongue twister then
I love Chrysanthemum. It is quite possibly the first herbal tea I ever drank and I am still in love with it.
Chrysanthemum is a popular Chinese herbal drink, particularly in Southern parts of China. Chrysanthemum is very mellow and slight sweet in taste. Chrysanthemum goes well with a drizzle of honey, and it’s good to replenish the body after late nights.
When I was in Hong Kong, I drank it lots in summer. A slighter sweetened chilled Chrysanthemum tea is a fantastic thirst quencher. Now living in the West, I am also drinking it in winter, as I have found in winter I am eating more fried and baked stuff. Since Chrysanthemum is good in relieving internal body heat, it works well in winter too for me.
Buying Chrysanthemum is kind of complicated and simple at the same time:
Complicated because there are actually many varieties of Chrysanthemum – white ones, yellow ones, wild ones, baby chrysanthemum just to name a few.
Also quality varies. Bear in mind chrysanthemum is a bit like a sponge so when you buy, try to find the drier stuff.
If it is quite moist, you may be paying for the moisture as well as for the flowers! But of course, too dry the flowers become brittle.
Simple because the yellow variety is by far the most common.
In Chrysanthemum tea, it is almost 100% of the time it will be made with the yellow Chrysanthemum because it is easy to source (cheap too) and has a nice roundish sweet flavour.
I love Chrysanthemum, albeit its tongue-twisting name and so many confusing varieties.
If you eat out often, spend too much time in front of all kind of electronic boxes, starting drinking Chrysanthemum, it will become your life-long friend.