Mid-autumn festival is just around the corner! While it’s time to stuff ourselves with our favourite mooncakes in the company of our families and friends, do not forget to enjoy them with a good pot of tea.
Pairing mooncakes with tea is not just a tradition, but is also a great way to look after our health while gorging on the delicious but high caloric pastries.
Apart from cleansing the palate and balancing the richness of the mooncakes, Chinese teas made from good quality tea leaves also have the general properties of quenching thirst, clearing toxins, clearing dampness, aiding in digestion, and promoting alertness.
Some examples of Chinese teas include:
Green tea (e.g. Lóng Jǐng Chá 龙井茶)
Oolong tea (e.g. Tiě Guān Yīn 铁观音)
Red tea (e.g. Qí Mén Hóng Chá 祁门红茶)
Black tea (e.g. Pǔ Ěr Chá 普洱茶)
Each type of tea has its own unique characteristics, for example green tea is cooling and is more suitable for those with symptoms of excess heat. Whereas red tea can warm the stomach and is suitable for those with cold in the stomach, which is displayed as symptoms of stomach discomfort after taking cold drinks, cold pain in the stomach etc.
(Note that the “red tea” in Chinese culture is sometimes referred to as “black tea”, particularly in the west.)
As mooncakes tend to be high in sugar and fats, they may cause “heatiness” when consumed, resulting in symptoms such as pimple outbreaks, mouth ulcers or cough with yellow phlegm. The richness may also lead to stomach discomfort in some people.
Some herbal teas can help to cut through the richness of mooncakes as well as clear the excess heat.
An example is tea made with Chrysanthemum (菊花), Chinese hawthorn (山楂) and Wolfberries (枸杞子). This tea is ideal for this purpose because:
Chrysanthemum has the ability to clear heat and toxins from the body.
Chinese hawthorn can aid in digestion, particularly in the breakdown of fatty foods. Its sourness can also help balance the richness of the mooncakes.
Chinese hawthorn may also encourage healthier blood lipid levels.
Wolfberries not only can replenish the liver and kidneys and promote better eyesight, but may also encourage the lowering of blood sugar and blood lipid levels.
RECIPE: Chrysanthemum, hawthorn and wolfberry tea (serves 3-4)
Ingredients: Dried Chrysanthemum flowers, Dried Chinese hawthorn, Dried wolfberries - 1 tablespoon each Directions: Soak the ingredients in 500ml of hot water for 10min
Flower teas that help with sleep
Since families and friends tend to gather in the evenings during mid-autumn festival, Chinese tea may not be suitable for some at this late hour as it may impede one’s sleep. If the excitement of late night chatting also keeps you up at night, you can replace the Chinese tea with flower teas that can soothe your mind and give you a good night’s rest.
One example is tea made using chamomile (洋甘菊), lavender (薰衣草) and roses (玫瑰花). The soothing aroma of this tea can help with relaxation and may promote better sleep.
RECIPE: Chamomile, lavender and rose tea (serves 3-4)
Ingredients: Dried chamomile flowers, Dried lavender flowers, Dried rose buds - 1 tablespoon each Directions: Soak the ingredients in 500ml of hot water for 10min