CHRYSis an unblended tisane of whole Chrysanthemum tops grown in Wuyuan county, Jiangxi province, China. Wuyuan is famed for its chrysanthemum fields—the indigenous varietal is winter hardy, with large, plump blooms and full petals. This lot comes to us from Xiao Qi (晓起) farm, where the Ying family, well-known in the chrysanthemum world, produce their competition-winning flowers.
Huang Ying and her husband plant each spring, giving time for robust root networks to form that increase the flower's ability to survive winter (and results in bigger, more flavorful blooms). Their fields are naturally fertilized and grow through the summer before fall harvest, when the tops are hand-plucked and dried.
Chrysanthemum flowers are a very old tradition in Chinese medicine. While we shy away from mysticism and unscientific health claims in our tea importing practice, there is a reason this flower is omnipresent in the Chinese diet. Steep hot (but don't boil) for several minutes to draw out layers of honey, toasted sesame, and an indistinct "Chinese herb" quality wrapped in a neon yellow liquor.