Longan Berries are warming, according to Chinese philosophy. So this tea is great for warming the toes on cold nights, or perfect for when a cold is coming on or you just feel cold. Enjoy this by the bowlful.
Longan are sold fresh and dried. For tea, it is much more convenient to use dried. They are loved by the Chinese and used commonly across China. They are used to flavour many dishes – winter sweets, sweet Chinese soups and congee. Great for snacks on their own if freshly dried, or mix with raisins and other dried fruits, and walnuts and other nuts.
It is easy to find them. Wander the aisles of your local Asian/Chinese shop until you find the dried fruit section. Sometimes you will find them sold in bulk. Choose ones that are soft, like raisins, and avoid the harder dried ones. Store them in a jar in your pantry, keep them in the fridge, or even freeze them to preserve them well.
In China this tea would be called a sweet soup. Serve it with the berries in the tea. You can strain them out if you prefer, but they are lovely left in and munched on as you sip. Longan are very relaxing and good for the memory as well.
Are you after other Teas? Try Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea, Cardamom, Coriander and Fennel Herbal Tea, Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea, and Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea. Enjoy your tea with some Chinese Scallion and Orange Zest Pancakes.
I love young ginger with this tea, but you can use the older, stronger ginger.
Longan and Young Ginger Tea
5 – 8 longan berries
1.5 cups water
1 tspn fine strips young ginger or finely shredded and peeled older ginger
Chinese rock sugar, jaggery, brown sugar, honey or other sweetener of choice
Rinse the longan berries, place them in a saucepan with the water and ginger, and slowly simmer over low heat for about 30 mins. Watch the water levels, adding more water as needed to end up with about 1 cup tea.
Taste before adding sweetener, and sweeten to taste. Serve hot.
recipe notes and alternatives
This will last a few days if you keep it on the fridge. It tastes even better the next day! Some like the tea iced.
Add 10 red dates and/or some goji berries to the tea. In this case, the ginger can be omitted if desired. Make a slit in each red date before adding to the water to make the tea. Longan Berry, Red Date and Goji Berry Tea is also good for insomnia and great to drink before bed.
Add pandan leaves for extra nourishment and flavour.