Adzuki Tea


When the weather turns cool, I think about adzuki tea. I don’t know why, but I do.

I make it immediately. There is no recipe.

One handful, maybe two handfuls of adzuki beans, depending on the size of the pot and the amount of water, rinsed, go into the pot. Add water. Maybe two cups per handful of beans. Usually I soak all my seeds at least overnight, but this is an exception. I don’t.  I might add something else to the pot, today I have added half a big bamboo leaf. But most of the time it is just beans and water. I boil it for anywhere from several minutes to 20. This vagueness is intentional. I have made this enough times that I am hoping my body knows what I need that day, and will make it like it is good. I don’t know, of course, but that’s what I think.

If this is your first time, aim for about 10 minutes of low simmer, a little after the water starts to get reddish. When you are simmering adzuki beans for cooking, Japanese recipes often tell you to throw away this initial colored water. Don’t. When you are making adzuki tea, this water is what you want.

When it is done, I drink it while it is still hot. The gentle flavor is very calming. Share it with someone you like.

Adzuki is medicinal. It is said to support the kidneys, the bladder and the reproductive system. It is known to be especially good for women. It is diuretic. You don’t need to know any of these things to like it, and to want it during the cooler months. There is not much more work to make it than making a cup of tea, so please try it!

I sometimes serve adzuki tea instead of the usual glass of water after sessions. If you don’t like the flavor, please just tell me so.

What do I do with the cooked beans? Most often, they get cooked further until soft and go into a salad the next day. No big deal.