I meant to write a tasting note on this when I drank it [which my handy-dandy Steepster subheading tells me was 11 days ago] but I didn’t. But NOW HERE I AM, SO HERE WE GO.
[Sorry, I accidentally hit caps lock, but am now thinking that I like it that way.]
I am sure that it is not going to come as any sort of surprise to anyone here that I find this tea delicious, but hear me out.
First, it is distinctly a sencha tea. It has that deep, grassy freshness I have come to associate with the better senchas I have had.
But then I almost immediately noticed a sweetness. It was almost crystalline, like the sweetness I taste in Royal Garland, but after some swishing and aeration, I began to taste a different dimension within it. It was darker, with a tartness, and then it socked me at the back of my tongue: cherry. It almost reminds me of black cherry, but that is what it undeniably was, and once I had identified it, it pervaded the tea with a rush of Summer that made me smile.
As I sit here and drink the tea now, I can pick out the cherry sweetness more easily. It floats above the lower, sencha notes. It reminds me of the first time I went white water rafting on the Snake River in Oregon. I was probably about ten or eleven, my brother a couple of years younger. At one point on the trip, our instructor let me and him go to the front of the raft, holding on to the rope lines so we could fully experience the rush of bobbing and weaving down the rapid runs [and scream at the top of our lungs]. The day was sunny, but the water was brisk and chilly and alternately misted and crashed into us as we made our way down the river.
Looking to either side of the raft, the banks of the river were lined with trees, boulders, and moss. The water was clear, excepting the areas where the rapids churned and frothed, and the sunlight beating down made everything sparkle. During our short stay at the front of the raft, I began to notice that there were a large number of butterflies fluttering above the river. They dotted the entirety of the course; bright little jewels dancing above the coursing liquid below. They seemed unafraid of the water and I continued to spot them whether our path was smooth and calm or chaotic and frenzied; flapping and skimming atop of one of the best rides nature has to offer.
This tea immediately sent this memory into my head. The sencha, though not frantic like the river could get, provides a deeply mellow, yet intensely fresh base of flavor. The Sakura floats above it like the butterflies, fluttering before landing to rest briefly and grace your senses with a burst of tangy, cherried sweetness. Both halves move apart and together, weaving to create an incredibly special experience.
As the tea cools, the sugared notes in the tea become more pronounced and spin together with the high grassy chlorophyll flavors that sencha begins to exert. Like the cherry blossoms, it seems that the magical melding of flavors in this blend is somewhat ephemeral. This is not a tea to be made when it is going to sit in a cup while you read the paper or work on something [like a long tasting note].
I think I shall like it most when it is made for a few minutes of mindful concentration and alertness. Possibly shared with a friend or two, but undoubtedly saved for a special occasion when the movement of time can be momentarily suspended.