Lotus tea at Kiep Bac temple bears special traditional culture attractive to visitors and is on the way to become a specific tourism product at the special national relic site.
Lotus flowers in Kiep Bac lake used to aromatize tea are plucked early in the morning to fully absorb the essence of heaven and earth
Four different tea flavors
At this time, lotus flowers in a 6.5 ha lake at Kiep Bac temple in Con Son – Kiep Bac special national relic complex are racing against each other to show off their beauty.
Lotus flower season lasts from May to around August. This is also the time the staff of the Relic Management Board there begin making lotus tea to serve tourists.
From early in the morning when dewdrops are still on leaves, Nguyen Thi Dung, an employee of the Con Son – Kiep Bac Relic Management Board and several colleagues row boats throughout the lake surface to pick “standard” lotus flowers.
“Flowers must be picked early in the morning before the sun rises high because this is the time when lotus absorbs all of the most quintessential things of heaven and earth,” said Dung.
“To mouthwateringly aromatize tea, it is necessary to choose leaves neither young nor old, moderately blooming flowers and big buds still attached to their branches with thick petals.”
The staff of the Con Son – Kiep Bac Relic Management Board have mastered tea aromatization stages
Tea aromatized with lotus flowers is genuine Thai Nguyen one which is carefully selected with good quality.
Tea aromatization is fairly meticulous.
Firstly, tea is wrapped in lotus leaves for 24 hours. According to experts, this step aims to “awaken” tea.
The next step is putting tea in the middle of a lotus flower, wrapping the flower with a lotus leaf, and then putting the leaf in a pot of water for the next 24 hours. This time, the pure fragrance of the lotus flower will gradually penetrate into each tea leaf.
In the last step, the flower is scissored and put into a plastic bag, which is vacuumed and placed in a fridge for three days before use.
Apart from chilled tea, the Relic Management Board has also released dried lotus-aromatized tea. This tea is also aromatized in lotus flowers. After a long enough time, it will be dried and put into boxes with eye-catching flowers, suitable to be offered to Saint Tran by tourists or meaningful gifts.
Kiep Bac lotus tea’s deliciousness and essence are fully enjoyed only after four times of infusion
Water used to make lotus tea is taken from Mat Rong (Dragon Eye) well in the yard of Kiep Bac temple. Tea is normally brewed 1 – 2 times, but Kiep Bac lotus tea needs four times of infusion to be rich and tasty.
The first infusion aims to wake tea up, and the second time to increase its flavor. In the third time of infusion, lotus rice is added, and before the fourth infusion, lotus seed pods are torn and added.
Four kinds of tea have four different flavors, leaving a refined, pure, and unforgettable aftertaste for those enjoying them for the first time.
Beneath the trees in the flower garden in front of Kiep Bac temple and right next to the lotus lake, the Relic Management Board has arranged bamboo tables for visitors to sit and enjoy tea.
“Coming to this sacred land, being immersed in an ancient space, and sniffing and enjoying naturally fragrant lotus tea make my soul really light and peaceful,” Nguyen Ngoc Anh from Ha Noi shared her feelings.
Sitting and enjoying lotus tea right in the precinct of Kiep Bac relic make people feel incredibly relaxed
Specific tourism product
Head of the Con Son – Kiep Bac Relic Management Board Nguyen Thi Thuy Lien said the brand of Kiep Bac lotus tea had been recognized by the Intellectual Property Office, and the Hai Duong Sub-department of Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance had certified the satisfaction of all food safety conditions for production and business.
With initial successes, the unit consulted its superiors and coordinated with relevant units to turn Kiep Bac lotus tea into a specific tourism product.
Recently, the Relic Management Board has opened a booth to display and introduce the tourism product of Kiep Bac lotus tea. There, tourists can learn about and directly taste tea and talk.
Kiep Bac lotus tea products with eye-catching decorations are used for offering to Saint Tran
The unit also displays, introduces, and sells seasonal specialties bearing the characteristics of Hai Duong’s localities to serve visitors.
In the short term, the products introduced are those of Chi Linh city, Hai Duong city, and Kinh Mon provincial town, such as dried lychee and longan, custard-apples, wild honey, young corn, peanuts, sesame, black garlic, garlic wine, garlic vermicelli, cai hoa vang sticky rice, alcohol made of cai sticky rice, kudzu flour, green bean cakes, etc.
TIEN MANH – HUYEN ANH