Wild Purple Chrysanthemum
These amazing purple chrysanthemums grow wild in the mountains around Qiandao Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The total harvest this year was 25 kg, and we are thrilled to have received a small, very precious, amount of it.
At 4500 ft elevation, the climate in Hangzhou is quite cold, meaning there are few insects and pests. The delicate chrysanthemum flowers have taken advantage of these conditions, flourishing here without human intervention. All that the farmers do to tend to them is manually pull out weeds around where they grow.
Each purple flower is carefully harvested by hand in the second week of October. Afterwards they are spread out on small bamboo mats in a mud-walled drying room. The flowers are not heated directly, so to dry them the craftsmen gather pine branches from the mountain, light them, and maintain a fire in the small mud house. This way, the flowers are dried indirectly by the hot, dry pine air as it passes through the room. Once they are finished in the mud house the flowers are carefully carried down the mountain, where they are dried over charcoal at a very low heat. This process requires much patience to ensure that, as the flowers dry, their delicate petals do not fall off.
These beautifully preserved, purple tinted flowers brew a crystal clear liquor, disguising the intense medicinal qualities they impart to the water as they steep. Their bright yellow pistils glow in the liquid, and the petals expand, turning translucent as they slowly come to fill the carafe.
Wild Purple Chrysanthemum really stands in a category of its own. It doesn’t take many of the flowers to brew a very powerful tea. Their taste is cooling and almost menthol-ish; a sensation sometimes referred to as a “high alpine” taste. The liquor has an elegant, elixir-like mouthfeel and the concentration of its medicinal qualities is palpable: while we drink it, we feel the delicate, intelligent way the chrysanthemum clears heat and congestion from the body… It’s like the sensation of blushing, but if we were to blush a cool, soft purple hue.
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|1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min+
|No. of infusions