Fireweed (Koporye, Russian) Tea

Region: New Nordic Diet in Europe (Belarus)
Main components: Chamaenerion angustifolium (fireweed, great willowherb, rosebay willowherb, Koporye)
Estimated cooking time: 30 minutes; 1-2 days – waiting

Koporye, Russian tea or Ivan Chai is a drink made from fermented leaves of Chamaenerion angustifolium (fireweed). People had been drinking this tea long time before traditional tea appeared in Russia.
Nowadays this tea becomes more and more popular – you can buy it in some ‘green & health shops’, try on food festivals; the funny thing is its price is 2-3 times higher than the price of traditional tea.
Some people in Belarus prepare the tea mix in advance every summer. Below variant is ‘easy and lazy’ – even busy people can find time for it 🙂

Ingredients:

  1. Leaves of Chamaenerion angustifolium – 300g

When to collect leaves: End of June  – beginning of August

Equipment (optional):

  1. Vegetable dryer

How to cook:

  1. Wash the leaves with cold water and make them dry (I put them in vegetable dryer for 20 minutes, 30 degrees C).Fireweed (Ivan Chai, Russian) tea - leaves
  2. Use food processor to cut the leaves (about 1.5 minutes).Fireweed (Ivan Chai, Russian) tea - cut leaves
  3. Now leaves are ready for fermentation. Cover them with wet towel, put some heavy weight item on the top and leave for two days. Every time when towel becomes dry (about 6-8 hours), make it wet again.Fireweed (Ivan Chai, Russian) tea - with wet towel
  4. After two days leaves are ready for drying – the color of leaves changed (became dark green), they have sweet flavour.  Fireweed (Ivan Chai, Russian) tea - after two days of fermentation
  5. Dry the mix in vegetable dryer for 1 hour, temperature 60-65 degrees C. Fireweed (Ivan Chai, Russian) tea - after fermentation, ready for drying
  6. Store dried mix in the glass or ceramic jar.
  7. Outcome = 80g of tea leaves.
  8. The taste of tea changes with time: it becomes stronger and more intensive.Fireweed tea - ready for use

Happy Cooking!

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