At the slightest opportunity, we experiment with tea and different citrus fruits. We try different lemons, stuff tangerines with tea, and so on. Well, now we finally got to the addition of not citrus fruits to tea, but various other parts of citrus trees. The most accessible citrus plant in our parts (Northwest Russia) is, of course, homegrown lemon. From which at any time you can pick leaves and from time to time — flowers. Both leaves and flowers can be used fresh — they have a very noticeable aroma and taste, two flowers and one leaf for a small teapot will be enough. But dried flowers and leaves are more convenient in everyday life, so we experimented with them.
The coolest thing about lemon flowers and leaves is that you need very little of them. This is important, since few people have a lemon plantation at home, from which you can collect flowers and leaves in heaps. At home, one or two lemon trees are usually grown — and this is enough for full-fledged experiments.The most challenging thing is to experiment with lemon flowers. Lemon flowers smell gorgeous and add a very noticeable bitterness to the taste of tea, so there are two main directions in experiments with them. The first is to compensate for the bitterness, the second is to get rid of it. To get rid of bitterness, you can use jasmine technology — by drying lemon flowers in tea, and then removing them from tea. But this takes some time and a large number of flowers, so the most convenient household option is compensation.
This is where dried or fresh lemon leaves come in handy. Lemon flowers will give the tea a bright floral aroma, the leaves will add the anticipated citrus note to this aroma and slightly compensate for the bitterness of flowers in the taste of the drink with their sourness. All this together will give the tea a gorgeous aftertaste. By the way, dried lemon flowers can withstand two or three infusions. Lemon flowers are very responsive to changes in water temperature and infusion time; it is most convenient to work with them (or rather with teas with their participation) using a gaiwan.
However, all this fuss makes sense when brewing tea with lemon flowers/leaves with hot water (we tried black Turkish tea and green Jin Xuan as a base, they turned out well). But if you take Bai Mudan, three or four grams, five lemon flowers, pour it all with room temperature water and infuse for a couple of hours, then you’ll need neither leaves nor compensation. You will get a gorgeous drink with an austere and pronounced aroma, but with a soft and enveloping taste. This is the coolest option, of course. The main thing here is to infuse a little longer — in half an hour, standard for cold brewing, the lemon flowers will not really open up. But in a few hours, they will.
Olga Nikandrova & Denis Shumakov. Teatips.info. 2021