Wedang Sereh: Lemongrass Tea

Wedang sereh, or lemongrass tea, is a classic Javanese drink made of boiled lemongrass. It’s a simple recipe and very healthy, to be enjoyed cold or hot.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Native to South Asia, South-East Asia and Australia, lemongrass is cultivated throughout Asia. It is used heavily in Asian cooking, from Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, to Indonesian. This versatile herb belongs to the grass family and it has a pungent, lemony flavour. Lemongrass adds a specific and unique taste to all kinds of dishes such as soups, curries, stir fried dishes, and even desserts and drinks! In Indonesia, lemongrass is one of the most important herbs, and is widely incorporated into many traditional recipes. 

This perennial grass is also valued medicinally for its health benefits. Purportedly, it can help relieve anxiety, lower cholesterol levels, boost immunity, has antioxidant properties, and the list goes on. The herb is used fresh, dried, or, made into a medicinal oil.

With all these advantages, there’s no better way to enjoy the benefits of lemongrass than by having a sip of a cup of lemongrass tea. We call it wedang sereh in Javanese. This lemongrass infused drink is delicious and can be enjoyed either hot or cold. Served cold with ice in scorching hot weather, the drink is refreshing and thirst quenching. Served hot during freezing winters or the cold rainy season, it’s absolutely comforting. 


Optional Ingredients

In Java, fresh ginger is sometimes added when making wedang sereh. It gives more intensity and a stronger warming effect to the drink. Our version though is made just with lemongrass to achieve a clean, light, slightly sweet and refreshing flavour. 

To add a little bit of sweetness, you can add rock sugar to this recipe — but it’s totally optional. One can enjoy this drink without sugar at all, but sugar, rock sugar or honey can be added as preferred. 

I love preparing a big batch of this herbal drink, storing it in small individual glass bottles, cooling it in the fridge and having it ready on hot days. 

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Wedang Sereh: Lemongrass Tea

Wedang Sereh: Lemongrass Tea

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Low Fat


Wedang sereh, or lemongrass tea, is a classic Javanese drink made of boiled lemongrass. It’s a simple recipe and very healthy, to be enjoyed cold or hot.


  • 3 stalks lemongrass, use only the white parts
  • 1 lt water
  • 30 gr rock sugar, or sugar to taste (optional)


  1. Wash the lemongrass thoroughly, cut into 4-5 cm slices, and bruise.
  2. Put the lemongrass, rock sugar and water in a cooking pot, and boil over medium-high heat.

    boil over medium high heat

  3. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid to remove the lemongrass pieces.
  5. Serve the drink hot or cold. 


  • When buying fresh lemongrass, look for firm, smooth and heavy stalks. Heavy stalks indicate the lemongrass is still fresh and retain the moisture. Light ones indicate the lemongrass is drying out. 

Keywords: Quick and Easy, healthy

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