A heady fragrance brews as lotuses bloom in Hanoi

For many years, lotus has been planted in different Hanoi neighborhoods to supply for decorating purposes and lotus tea production. The West Lake lotus (Bach Diep lotus) is the most renowned one in Hanoi with its light big aromatic blossoms. Nguyen The Sans family (Liem Mac, Bac Tu Liem, Hanoi) owns a 6,000 square meter of water surface for lotus cultivation. Lotus grows naturally, and can be harvested from May 19th until September 2nd every year, said San. 

For many years, lotuses have been grown in different Hanoi neighborhoods for use as decoration, offering to the Buddha and making the famous lotus tea. The West Lake lotus (Bach Diep) variety is the most renowned of them all with its large aromatic blossoms. 

Nguyen The San’s family in Bac Tu Liem District grows lotus on 6,000 square meters of water surface. “Lotus grows naturally, and can be harvested from May 19 until early September every year”, San said. 

These days, San always wakes up at 4 a.m and sail to harvest the blossoms, but his productivity is still no match to the high demand from customers. 

When the flowers are in season, San wakes up at 4 a.m and navigates his boat through the forest of blossoms to harvest them, but he cannot meet the high demand from customers who gather at the lake"s banks to buy them. 

People usually choose to harvest in the early morning when the flowers just bloom, so that the scent can remain for a long time. 

Harvesting the flowers early in the morning, even before they spread their petals, is best, so that the fragrance remains for a long time. 

A West Lake lotus blooms into numerous tiny petals, then quickly wilts. 

A full blown West Lake lotus.

The making process of lotus tea brew is not complicated; the main task is to select the right kind of lotus, said Hanh, one of the farmer. The right lotus must be from the West Lake, with cyclical, chubby shape. Each person can harvest more than 400 blossoms daily. The right type of tea leaves should be from Thai Nguyen, so that the tea will later obtain a green color. The price would be around VND 500,000 ($22) per kilogram of standard dried tea leaves.

"The making of lotus tea is not complicated. The main task is to select the right kind of lotus,” said Hanh, a lotus farmer. The right lotus must be from the West Lake, with spherical, chubby shape. Each person can harvest more than 400 blossoms daily. The tea leaves should be from Thai Nguyen Province. This combination of dried tea leaves costs around VND500,000 ($22) per kilogram.

Usually 13 grams of dried tea leaves are put inside a blossom that just blooms. During the brew, the tea leaves will absorb the lotus scent. Each lotus has its stalk covered in water for a day, so that the absorbed water stimutes the fragrance to pervade inside, stated Le Ngoc Yen, an experienced tea brewer. 

"Usually, around 13 grams of dried tea leaves are placed inside a flower that has just bloomed. The tea leaves will absorb the lotus scent. Each lotus has its stalk covered in water for a day, so that the absorbed water stimulates the fragrance to penetrate inside,” said Le Ngoc Yen, an experienced tea brewer. 

Each tea blossom is sold at VND 30,000 ($1.31). For preservation, each blossom is vacuum packed and refrigerated, and can then be used in 6 months.

Each wrapped tea blossom is sold for VND30,000 ($1.31). For preservation, each blossom is vacuum packed and refrigerated, and the tea leaves can then be used for six months.

Nguồn: e.vnexpress.net