Awhile back my ‘she’ human wrote a whole slew of poems about tea and other things such as chrysanthemums. These wonderful flowering plants are particular favorites, especially during Autumn, for inspiring her inner Muse. And they go nice with tea time! Your little teapot guide to all things tea (me!) will show you how. TOOOT!
The popularity of the chrysanthemum goes back centuries and spans the globe. Here are a few key facts:
- China – Chrysanthemums have been cultivated in China since the 15th century B.C. They regarded this flowering herb as an important part of their medicines. (Chrysanthemum tisane is said to have numerous health benefits, but I will leave that for you to discuss with your doctor.) In Chinese symbology, the chrysanthemum is known as Autumn, one of the Four Gentlemen (the four seasons). It also signifies the 10th month of the lunar calendar (roughly equivalent to October) as well as longevity and eternity.
- Japan – the Festival of Happiness celebrates the chrysanthemum, which is the symbol of the Emperor there.
- Australia – being in the Southern Hemisphere, their seasons are reversed from those here in the U.S., so their Mother’s Day is in May which is their Autumn; and chrysanthemums are popular for bouquets presented to them by loving offspring. The variety of colors makes them quite a show!
- U.S. – The ‘mum has been cultivated here since 1798 when a variety called “Dark Purple” was imported from England. The chrysanthemum is also the flower of November. And you humans tend to set pots of them on your front porch, stoop, or walkway. Gardening centers across the U.S. stock up as soon as they can.
Chinese Watercolor Painting Chrysanthemum
Japanese Chrysanthemum Painting
Australian Mother’s Day bouquet made of chrysanthemums
The dark purple chrysanthemum
Tea with Chrysanthemum vs. Chrysanthemum “Tea”
In parts of Asia, including China, yellow and white chrysanthemum flowers (species C. morifolium) are boiled to make a sweet drink called “chrysanthemum tea” (菊花茶, júhuā chá). This is not really a tea. The term chá covers any liquid where plant matter is infused or is boiled to make a decoction. In English, many have adopted the term “tisane” (from the French) or call these beverages by the term “infusions.” This distinguishes them from tea with chrysanthemum. Many versions of “chrysanthemum tea” are available.
Chrysanthemum infusion, often misnomered “Chrysanthemum tea”
Green tea and chrysanthemum flowers.
Tea with chrysanthemum, on the other hand, has true tea in it. True tea is the kind made from the leaves of the family of plants under the name Camellia sinensis. There are several varietals and many cultivars. They have a variety of aromas and flavors, depending on where grown, when harvested, and how processed. Some are so wonderful that it’s a shame to add anything to them, but maybe it’s like adding some spices to your stew. Chrysanthemum petals are one such “spice,” adding their unique qualities to those of the tea leaves.
Sprucing Up Tea Time with Chrysanthemums
“Mums,” as they are often called, are very popular in Fall. A nice vase full or a potted plant gracing your tea table will add a great atmosphere. White, yellow, rust, etc., add their beauty and aroma (which, incidentally, help deter insects from ‘bugging’ you!). If you don’t want the actual flowers, go with some teawares or table linens with chrysanthemum designs on them. Whatever your choice, you’ll have a very festive tea time!
|I ne’er can spell “chrysanthemum”
But know it ends with “M”, “U”, “M”.
It makes a tea that cools your brow
The folks in An Hui Province vow.
More e’en than this the petals do –
Digestion woes ‘mums cure as well.
And when a breath you cannot take
So useful is this brew, they tell,
Note: medicinal claims should be verified by your doctor and are included here for rhyming purposes only.
Homemade Chrysanthemum Tisane & Teas
Recipes abound for making your own pure chrysanthemum tisane or adding chrysanthemums to your tea. Here are a few:
Chrysanthemum Tisane & Variations
The purest form of chrysanthemum tisane, easy to prepare and tasty:
- Pour a quart of water into a medium-sized pot.
- Heat to a boil and then turn down the heat.
- Add a cup (8 ounces) of dried chrysanthemum flowers to the water.
(Variation 1: Add a tablespoon of wolfberry (goji berry, Lycium chinense) in with the chrysanthemum.)
- Simmer for about 15 minutes.
(Variation 2: Add a tablespoon of mild honey and stop here.)
- Taste a spoonful to see if it is strong enough.
- If too mild, add more dried chrysanthemum flowers and simmer another 5 minutes. (Note: they can be bitter, so add only a little at a time.)
- When you have the proper taste, turn off the heat and let the tisane cool a little.
To serve cold, refrigerate the tisane instead of adding ice-cubes.
Teasenz Recipe for Chrysanthemum Pu Erh Tea
- 6 pieces of dried Chrysanthemum flowers
- 6 gram (0.2 oz) of loose leaf ripe pu erh tea
- Hot water at 212 °F (100 °C)
- Teapot: 500 ml hot water per brew, good for 2 brews. Steeping time: 2 minutes for first brew, 3 minutes for second brew.
- Gaiwan: 120 ml hot water per brew, good for 6 brews. Steeping time: 30 seconds first brew, then increase for further brews.
© 2018-2022 World Is a Tea Party photos and text
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