Recipe: Chrysanthemum Leaf Tea With Citrus

Chrysanthemum Is the Word

By Amya Miller
August 21, 2019
Food & Drink

Chill out—no oven is required!

It’s hot. It’s hot, hot, hot. Stupid hot. Crazy hot. What’s-going-on hot.

That’s why this month’s recipe does not use an oven. I do (so sorry) ask you to boil something, but just stay out of the kitchen while you do so and you should be fine.

Chrysanthemum Leaf Tea With Citrus

This is the most incredibly refreshing drink I’ve found for this summer. It’s an original recipe so no one will have had it before (Feel free to show off!)

My secret ingredient? Chrysanthemum leaves.

Chrysanthemum Leaf Tea With Citrus

Super easy, with a unique Japanese twist, you can serve it with or without alcohol. If you choose to jazz it up with alcohol, my recommendation is gin which brings out the botanical flavors in a completely unexpected way.


  • One big bunch of chrysanthemum leaves
  • 6 cups of water
  • 6 Meyer lemons
  • ½ cup of agave syrup

Meyer Lemons Chrysanthemum Leaf Tea with Citrus

Okay. I get it that Meyer lemons are hard to find in Japan. Limes, lemons, tangerines, oranges will also work, but Meyer lemons? Ohhhhhhh. Don’t compromise if you don’t have to. I recently found two Meyer lemons in Tokyo for ¥300—I know!!— so I quickly bought them and don’t regret it one bit.


  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Wash leaves thoroughly and toss into boiling water. Boil for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn heat the off and keep the leaves in for another 20 minutes before removing from the water.
  4. Let water cool and then pour into a jar.
  5. Slice one and a half lemons for decoration. Use them as a garnish for each glass or place them in the pitcher. Squeeze the juice from the remainder into another glass.
  6. Add ½ cup agave syrup (my new fav) or honey, sugar, or sugar substitute (just play around with the amounts as agave syrup is much sweeter than sugar).
  7. Mix in lemon juice and stir.
  8. Pour copious amounts of ice into pitcher.
  9. Add gin. Or don’t.

Chrysanthemum Leaf Tea With Citrus

Friends have said, and I thoroughly agree, the chrysanthemum leaves give off an elderberry-esque flavor. I have no idea why but it’s truly delightful. Slightly sweet, slightly fruity, slightly grassy, and slightly herbal, this is not your typical lemonade. In fact, as strong as the citrus is, the key player here is the chrysanthemum. Trust me on this. Subtle yet powerful, this drink will keep you cool and perky for the rest of the summer.

Oh, and can we all go buy winter coats, please. I believe this is how we bring winter to us sooner. Project it out there and it’ll cool off. Right?

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