In Thailand, I came across bael fruit tea and I was attracted by its weird shape and colour. Bael is a hard rind fruit growing throughout Southeast Asia which is sliced and dried under the sun for making tea. The tea of bael fruit is also known as matoom is drunk in Thailand throughout the year both as cold and hot beverage, due to its distinctive fragrance, slightly sweet flavour and health benefits.
It is prepared by boiling in hot water for a few minutes to bring out its aroma. Indeed, I found some recipes online that suggests roasting (or even toasting in a toaster) the slices before boiling to set off its sweetness.
It is believed that matoom has multiple health benefits which include relieving constipation, relieving stress, helping digestion, especially after a huge meal. It is also offered in Thai spas commonly due to its thirst-curing property.
My first try did not involve extensive boiling or roasting and the result was very subtle sweetness. The exotic fragrance was there but also quite feeble. However, the longer I brewed the slices the stronger the taste become.
Next time, I will try the toaster. For sure!
Type: Herbal (non-tea)
Harvest time: 2019
Leave colour: Orange-coloure fruit slices with white seeds
Liquor colour: Orange
Tea aroma: Fruity
Tea taste: Sweet
Steeping/brewing: Put two slices in 150 ml water and boil for 5 minutes. Either drink hot or cold after cooling it down. You can boil the same slices multiple times throughout the day.
Shelf life: Up to 1 year (the freshest the better)