HomeCoffeeKnow Your Components: Lychee

Know Your Components: Lychee


Fragrant, floral, and delicately candy, lychee provides a particular contact to any beverage.


Cowl picture by Jamie Trinh through Unsplash

Spring is right here within the Northern Hemisphere. That signifies that contemporary fruit and floral flavors are as soon as once more taking heart stage within the meals and beverage world. On the lookout for components to brighten up your at-home drinks or café drinks? There’s a world past the standard go-to like citrus or strawberry. In right now’s installment of “Know Your Components,“ we’re exploring lychee. This fragrant, floral, and delicately candy fruit has its roots in southern China. Its cultivation has develop into a global affair, and now the fruit is making itself recognized within the specialty-coffee world.  

Chinese language Roots

Within the fashionable world, lychee is grown all through Asia, the Indian subcontinent, South Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, and sure elements of North America. Nevertheless, we are able to hint the fruit’s earliest roots particularly to southern China. Documented lychee cultivation dates way back to the eleventh century.  

Lychee fruit on a branch. The leaves are long, deep green and glossy with smooth edges. The fruits hang in small clusters, with a surface similar to a raspberry in color, but with a bumpy skin, almost like leather.One of the fruits is peeled to show the white flesh inside, which looks shiny.
Gentle and fragrant, lychee has a barely floral taste (most just like rose), and its style is akin to that of a pear or grape with a touch of citrus. Picture by Atul Somani through Pixabay.

The small, candy fruit is usually related to Yang Yuhuan, a consort of Emperor Xuan Zhong from 713 to 756 A.D. Yang Yuhuan was recognized to like lychee a lot that the emperor would have couriers journey for hundreds of miles between the capital metropolis and Guangdong, the place it was grown, to have the fruit delivered to her.

Lychee within the Western World

From China, lychee cultivation would unfold over a number of thousand years to different elements of the world through commerce and journey. Within the 1850s, gold miners from modern-day Egypt transported bushes with them to Australia. There, the bushes skilled a splendidly lengthy season, producing fruit from late October to late March—the longest lychee manufacturing season on this planet.

A woman in China looks over lychee bundles in a big market stall, holding up a big cluster. To her right is a stack of red plastic hand baskets, and people browsing are visible behind her.
Lychee originated in southern China, the place cultivation of the fruit dates way back to the eleventh century. Picture by Chengwei Hu through Unsplash.

Lychee bushes first reached the US within the early 1900s, when a missionary named William Brewster imported them from China to central Florida. It is vitally a lot an internationally grown crop right now, although its roots in China are nonetheless acknowledged.

Taste Profile 

Beneath the tough pores and skin of the fruit is nice, succulent white flesh bursting with juice. Gentle and fragrant, lychee has a barely floral taste (most just like rose), and its style is akin to that of a pear or grape with a touch of citrus. As a result of its taste is so delicate, the fruit loses a number of its taste when cooked—so, when incorporating lychee into recipes, it’s greatest to make use of the uncooked fruit and its juices.

A white paper bag labeled KUMQUAT and two lychee iced tea drinks with rose petal pieces sprinkled on top. The drinks are layered so milk sits at the bottom.
Kumquat Espresso’s Lychee Hongcha: an iced milk tea made with lychee syrup and black tea, all topped with dried rose petals. Picture by Emily Pleasure Meneses.

Lychee within the Specialty-Espresso World

Lychee has lengthy been a favourite at Asian boba retailers and teahouses. It has proven up not too long ago throughout the specialty-coffee world as nicely. We love Los Angeles-based Kumquat Espresso’s tackle the fruit: their seasonal Lychee Hongcha is an iced milk tea made with lychee syrup and black tea steeped from leaves grown in Korea, all topped with dried rose petals.

Fantastically floral and delicately candy, lychee serves as a fantastic various to your typical fruit flavors, and we hope to see extra of it within the specialty-coffee world as time goes on.


Emily Pleasure Meneses (she/they) is a author and musician based mostly in Los Angeles. Her hobbies embody foraging, cortados, classic synths, and connecting together with her Filipino roots by means of music, artwork, meals, and beverage.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments