This longan red date tea is a calming hot drink prepared with Chinese "dragon eye" fruit, jujubes, and fresh ginger. It's a caffeine-free tea that'll help you destress, digest, and feel warm.
Preparing tea with longans and jujubes is a traditional Chinese medicine remedy for insomnia, fatigue, and anxiety.
The recipe is simple: boil dried longans and red dates in water until rehydrated, then sweeten the tea to taste, and serve in cups with a couple of boiled fruits.
In our recipe, we'll show you how to make longan tea the classic way. But we'll also give you the option to use fresh longans for a more delicate, sweeter tea and a faster recipe.
If you're not familiar with this fruit, longans are sweet and juicy grape-like fruits with a slightly earthy, musky flavour. They are quite similar to lychees but slightly less sweet.
They have a white pulp and a black, hard seed that looks like the pupil of an eye — hence the name "dragon eye" fruit.
Fresh longans are usually available only at Asian or Chinese food stores, while dried longans are easy to find online.
Dried longans look like a golden raisin; they're yellowish, sweet, and have more flavour depth. Dried longans will make the tea darker and slightly tart but still delicious.
If you can get fresh longans, we highly recommend them for making this drink. The tea will have a lovely fruity and floral aroma, subtle yet flavourful.
They're so good you can even skip the jujubes and make the tea with only fresh longans — we tried it, and it was great!
The second ingredient in this tea is dried jujubes, aka Chinese red dates.
Dried jujubes are chewy like a date but not as sweet and caramel-like. They're mildly tart and taste a bit like dried apples.
Like dried longans, you can find dried red dates online or at your local Asian food store.
Thinly slice the jujubes before adding them to the boiling water so they'll cook faster and release more flavour and colour.
Chinese red dates are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals, boosts your immune system, and keeps your skin healthy.
Imagine that a 28g (1 oz) serving of jujubes covers your vitamin C daily needs!
And finally, the ginger. This ingredient is optional, but it gives a fresh and peppery finish to the tea, balancing the sweetness of the longans and red dates.
Now, it's time to put the kettle on and make this longan jujube tea together!
- Longans (fresh or dried)
- Dried Jujubes (Chinese Red Dates)
- Fresh Ginger Root (optional)
To make this longan tea, you can use fresh or dried longans.
Fresh longans have white, juicy, and sweet flesh, and you can find them at your local Asian food store.
Dried longans are yellowish and less sweet but have a nice depth of flavour. They're easy to find online if you can't get them at the Asian food store.
If you're using fresh longans, rinse them first and then pop them out of their shell.
To do it, gently squeeze the longan between your fingers until the shell cracks and then peel it off.
Alternatively, you can use a knife to score the skin and then peel it.
Then, cut the fruit in half along the seed (as you would do with a plum), open the two "cheeks", and remove the black, hard seed.
If you're using dried longans, they already come clean and seedless. So, you can skip ahead.
But, keep in mind you'll have to boil them in the next steps to rehydrate them.
As for the dried Chinese red dates or jujubes, you can find them at your local Asian food store or online.
Dried jujubes have a slightly chewy texture similar to dates, but they don't have that sweet, caramel-like taste.
You can also find them as candied red dates, meaning that the dried dates have been cooked with honey or sugar and then left to harden.
Candied jujubes will soften more quickly than regular dried red dates, and they will make the tea nicely sweet.
To use jujubes in tea, cut them first into thin slices so they'll release more flavour and rehydrate faster.
You can also add fresh ginger to the logan tea for a sweet and slightly peppery aroma.
Ginger aids digestion and eases nausea, and it's a great anti-inflammatory.
Peel fresh ginger and slice it into thin sticks, or if you have frozen ginger, you can grate it right into the water.
Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it's time to make the tea.
If you used dried longans and dried dates, add them to a pot of boiling water along with the ginger and let them simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until they're soft.
Then, filter them out, pour the read date longan tea into serving cups, and sweeten to taste.
If you used fresh longans and candied red dates, divide the ingredients among cups and simply pour in boiling water.
Let the longans and jujube infuse for 5 to 10 minutes and enjoy your longan jujube tea.
Once you've finished the tea, you can scoop up the fresh longans and sweet jujubes and eat them!
You can add orange peel or dry flowers like rose or chrysanthemum.
Pour any leftover tea into a jug and store it in the fridge for a refreshing longan drink.
If you have leftover longans, you quickly whizz them with coconut milk and prepare this iced longan milk tea.
Can't find jujubes? Try using normal dates instead.
Can't find longan? You could try making this tea with lychees instead.