Kangxi Tea – Made For An Emperor


While researching online I came across an article which surprised me for I thought it was the English who had introduced milk to tea, here is a snippet from the article.

“During the Qing Dynasty (1626 – 1911) milk tea was popular with the higher levels of Chinese imperial society and the Manchu people. One particular emperor, Kangxi was very fond of milk tea. So on the 52nd year of his reign (1713) which coincided with his 60th birthday. Local officials throughout the country encouraged their local elders to travel to the capital city to congratulate Kangxi on his birthday.

Emperor Kangxi decided to give a “1000 Elders banquet.” He gave it in the garden of flourishing springs rather than the palace and more than1800 people attended. An important part of the banquet was tea drinking. The Imperial kitchen presented cups of black tea with milk to the Emperor and his crown prince. After the Emperor finished, he asked the princes, dukes and ministers to drink together. After the protocol was finished, they began to eat”

So delving into tea further I came across this.

Longjing tea was granted the status of Gong Cha, or imperial tea, in the Qing dynasty by the Kangxi Emperor. A legend says that the Qianlong Emperor while visiting the Hu Gong Temple under the lion peak mountain (Shi Feng Shan) where 18 tea bushes were planted, he was watching the ladies pick the tea.

He was so enamoured with their movements that he decided to try it himself. While picking tea he received a message that his mother, Empress Dowager Chongqing, was ill and wished his immediate return to Beijing. He shoved the leaves he had picked up his sleeve and immediately left. On his return he went straight to see his mother, who noticed the smell of leaves, whereupon he had them brewed for her. It is said that thereafter Longjing tea was designed to mimic the appearance of the flattened leaves that the emperor brewed for his mother.

Now I knew the Emperor was fond of milky tea, I also knew he enjoyed a tipple of what we call V.I.P Jiu 8 today, after all it was his concoction. So I decided on a cocktail made for an Emperor.

Kangxi Tea

1 fluid oz of V.I.P Jiu 8
1 heaped teaspoon of Longjing tea
Milk to taste
1 inch of cinnamon stick
2 x 8 oz glasses

Fill one of your glasses about halfway with hot water, rotate the glass so the inside gets wet all the way around. Then pour away the water. Next place the Longjing tea into the warmed glass. Fill the glass to about a third full of boiled, but not boiling water. Tilt glass and rotate so leaves get wet. Then add more hot water until 75 / 80% full, add milk and cinnamon, let steep for two minutes. Meanwhile get the other warmed 8 oz glass, put in V.I.P. Jiu 8. Then strain tea from glass one, into the glass containing the V.I.P Jiu 8, stir and enjoy.

You can also experiment with infusing your favourite tea with the spirit of your choice, simply alter the classic Hot Toddy and use tea or herbal tea instead of hot water. Whether to add milk, cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg or whatever else you fancy is up to you.

Easy Tea – Hot Toddy

1 oz/25ml of a spirit of your choice
1 tablespoon of honey
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
5fl oz/150ml of hot tea of your choice