Grass jelly, cincau, suong sao, xian cao, leung fan, etc., etc. is a staple drink and dessert in many eastern Asian cuisines. We refer particularly to black grass jelly, a product of dried mesona chinensis leaves which resemble, frankly, twigs and leaves. It’s often cited to help cool down body heat, or the “yin”, so is popular during the summer season and great for curing acne, mouth sores, constipation. Perfect for me. Hehe.
Best of all, it makes herbally, smoky drinks and desserts! While most are familiar with canned grass jelly and grass jelly drinks, as always, we like to do things the hard way so we can reap the benefits of reliable, natural ingredients. In this series of grass jelly drinks and desserts, we’re gonna make stuff from scratch!
Today we’ll make grass jelly tea, which is a recipe in itself and also a prerequisite to other recipes. Mesona chinensis leaves can be bought from this link if you’re not near a metropolitan. If you are, it wouldn’t be hard to find a packet for about $5 at your local Chinese herbal store. Dirt cheap and will last you a long, long time.
Grass jelly from scratch takes quite a bit more effort and patience than other recipes, but I personally think it’s WORTH!
Follow our series of grass jelly-themed posts here:
- Part 1: How to Make Grass Jelly Tea
- Part 2: How to Make Grass Jelly
- Part 3: How to Make Black Sugar Milk Tea with Grass Jelly
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How to Make Grass Jelly Tea
- Dried mesona chinensis 2 ounces
- Brown sugar 3 tablespoons
- Wash and strain mesona leaves well.
- Add leaves and 20 cups of water into a pot and bring it to a boil.
- Let boil for 10 minutes and remove impurities from the surface.
- Bring heat down to medium and simmer for at least 2 hours, ideally 4 hours. Continue to remove impurities and add 2 cups of water at a time if it’s looking dried down.
- Strain out the leaves well. You should end up with about 40 or more ounces of juice. If there’s less, add a bit more filtered water to avoid bitterness.
- Add brown sugar.
- Enjoy hot or cold!
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