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Recent Tasting Notes
So here I sit with a sample package of salt pickled sakura blossoms from Kobayashi Shoten by way of my one stop shop for Japanese teas, Yunomi. I found myself pondering what to do with them, years ago when I looked at the other sakura tea they offer I tried different drinks and that was it, I thought this time I would take it a bit farther.
Iced Matcha Sakura Latte!
I got so angry, I saw so many pictures of people’s lattes around the internet with their sakura blossom delicately floating on top, and mine sank like a stone, I assure you there is a sakura in there! Along with the water I used to soak it, to give it that extra bit of salty flowery goodness. First off, the combination of matcha and sakura is a match made in spring-time heaven, there is a reason it is so famous. The delicate flowery notes of the sakura play off the green notes of the matcha, the salty notes of the pickling play off the umami quality of the matcha, and if you sweeten it then all the tastes really pop and the milk is just that extra bit richer.
Hot Sakura Latte
So for this one I mixed milk, sugar, and a few spoonfuls of the sakura brine into my little sauce pot (it is a tiny vintage pot that looks so minuscule even on my smallest burner, it gets a ton of use) and heated the mixture until just boiling and then tossed it in a jar (wrapped in a rag, learned that lesson before) lidded it and then vigorous shaking. It is like a milk frother at a fraction of the cost! Even with the foam my sakura threatened to sink to the milky depths, so I draped the stem over the rim and then promptly guzzled it. There is real competition between this and the matcha, both are spectacularly tasty but I think the pure sakura wins because you get that undiluted salty, flowery, umeboshi taste with sweetened milk, the combination of salty and sweet work together in such a magical way.
Sakura Mizu Shingen Mochi
Like a sakura blossom frozen in an extremely large raindrop, these mochi are super mild, relying on the kuromitsu and kinako to really make the flavors pop. I did not have any kinako so I substituted kurogoma powder to get that nutty goodness. So my biggest mistake (other than not having molds and not having mineral water) is taking a recipe usually set up for 8 and reducing it to 1, even with my super precise scale that level of control when you are measuring things by a fraction of a gram is hard. This meant that my mochi was a little cloudy, but it still tasted great, I am happy for my first time making one of these. The taste of the mochi by itself is pretty much just sugar water, but mixing the rich kuromitsu and nutty kurogoma with the sudden salty floral burst of the sakura in the middle makes for a fascinating transition between tastes.
Steamed Matcha and Sakura Cake
What is more easy than mixing a bunch of ingredients and microwave steaming them for a single serve cake? Not much really! A standard steamed matcha cake but with an addition of sakura embellishments and soaking brine for extra taste. I think this would have turned out great had I discovered before I started eating it that apparently my culinary matcha had gone off, which sucked. It was not gross, but the taste of stale matcha is not a pleasant one so it made me cranky. The addition of the sakura was a fantastic choice though, it was mild enough that it was like the ghost of a blossom, I could imagine eating this as a way of closing out a viewing festival.
Layered Sakura Jelly
Man, I love me some agar, it is so versatile! This layered jelly is comprised of a sweet milk layer and a sweet translucent layer swimming with flowers and a bit of added brine goodness, because I love the way this salty sweet flower tastes!
This one was not only very photogenic, it also tasted fantastic, it was like the latte bit in wiggly jelly form! Combining the sweetness of the milk and the saltiness of the sakura with that lingering blossom quality, this might have been my favorite of the desserts and one I seriously recommend trying!
Just finished off the last of my stash of this tea. After starting off on the wrong foot, my appreciation for this tea has grown. I’ve come to enjoy the pickle-y, floral flavor of this tea. I use 3-4 flowers, rinse for 1 minute with 120 F water, and then steep in boiling water for several minutes over a warmer. It’s no Den’s Sakura Sencha for sure, but delivers a nice subtle cherry blossom flavor.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Salty
The tea itself is visually beautiful and the salt pickled flowers have a sweet cherry blossom aroma. But the taste doesn’t match the intensity of aroma.
Following tasting notes from other Steepsterites, I rinsed two flowers with hot water (140 F) for one minute and then steeped the leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes in glass teapot. The tea tasted like salt water with a very faint cherry flavor. To boost the cherry blossom flavor, I kept the flowers submerged in hot water and put the teapot on a warmer to help it continue brewing. 15 minutes later the cherry blossom notes were a little more prominent but saltiness still overpowered the tea.
I still have a few flowers left so I’m going to troubleshoot this tea to see if I can subdue the saltiness a bit and coax out more cherry flavor. I would not recommend this tea if you want to flavor your sencha or want a strongly floral tea. Den’s Sakura Sencha has a lot of real sakura taste and would be a better option. I also discovered freeze dried cherry blossoms on Amazon which may produce a better tasting tea.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Salty, Vinegar
Finished one of my samples from the Yunomi group buy Liquid Proust organized.
I rinsed these in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes before dividing them into two tea cups (one for me, one for mom). One of them blossomed so beautifully when the hot water was poured over it! (The other one wasn’t as impressive, but still pretty!)
I brewed it for about five minutes before drinking, but I left the blossoms in the cup. The liquor was pale pink and tasted quite floral. I could still taste some of the salt and the plum vinegar, but I didn’t find it overpowering. I ended up dumping the salted rinse water without using it but…I nibbled on a bit of the blossom just to see what it tasted like and ended up just…eating it. These would be nice to eat with rice.
This isn’t something I feel the need to have in my cupboard at all times, but I liked it. I’ll have to remember to try my hand at making my own salted sakura next spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom!
tea number 7 of the yunomi groupbuy.
so it was salt hahaha. i thought it to be sugar but it does make sense to preserve it in salt too. i would still prefer sugar as a preservative for this tho.
i am slightly successful on this one but still have to try again with #2 batabatacha. i rinsed it as instructed and steeped. it was still a bit salty so i set this one aside. the 3rd is ok, i can taste the sakura without the saltyishness. it is so pretty, i took out my nice white ceramic teacup and took lots of pictures. then inspiration: added some sencha for the most real sakura sencha ever! cold steeping in the fridge right now!!!!
went back to the 2nd steep (after rinse) and sipping it. hmm, not bad..not as salty or maybe i am just getting used to it? acclimatization does wonders apparently. and im even thinking the sakura flavor is more pronounced now. sip. sip again. sips until the cup is finished. can’t wait to try the cold steep!
ps. ive always wanted to get some of those cherry blossoms from japan and now it is here <3
I finally got brave enough to try this tea sample I had.I pulled out one of my best china cups added warm water and let it sit to get the salt off of it. Then brewed in hot water. Ulg. Plum vinegar and salt water is all I tasted. Yes, the blossoms are beautiful and I could smell them a bit. But for taste? I couldn’t pick up much flower taste. I couldn’t get past a few sips and had to throw out. It was that bad. This one is definitely an acquired taste and not for me. Glad I got to try it though.
While these are beautiful and full blossoms, I do not believe this is a taste that I particularly enjoy. I am not much of a floral tea guy myself, but this is different so I gave it a try. I am glad that I tried it though because it is unique and a fun experience to try to describe to yourself what you are tasting.
I’ve always wanted to try this tea. I love cultural brews. Luckily, a tea friend came to the rescue and aided me in receiving this. I followed the instructions and went straight to brewing. This tea is gorgeous! While I was washing the flowers the liquor was a pale pink. Then, I brewed the flowers in my glass pot to watch them unfurl. The liquor became a pale jade. The flavor was perfect for after lunch. It was a smooth and salty beverage. The initial sip was of vinegar and salt. There was an undertone of floral and sweet nectar. I’m so happy I was finally able to try this. This is a very unique brew, and I loved it!
Flavors: Floral, Nectar, Salty, Vinegar
These blossoms look beautiful which is the first reason I decided to try them. Yunomi sold these so I went ahead and bought them straight out before I noticed they are preserved in salt and plum vinegar. I’m not a fan of either vinegar or salt so I became unsure on how this would taste.
Well a few weeks down the line and it arrives and it looks even better than the pictures. It’s like floral cotton candy, simply stunning. It also came with instructions on how to prepare this tea.
Step One – Place one or two flowers into hot water to cleanse them from their preservatives. Wait a minute or two before removing.
Step Two – Place the newly cleansed flowers into a clean bowl and add fresh hot water and allow to steep for up to 5 minutes.
Step Three – Once steeped taste and add the salted preserved water to taste.
That sounds easy enough and removing the salt and vinegar is a must. So I prepare the tea carefully following the above instructions and I get to step 3, the taste test. I taste the preserved water to see how bad that is and I start to choke so I don’t think I will be adding any of that nasty water. Yuck. It’s so strong though that I am worried about my actual tea, I don’t think it can be fully salt free.
Well after much worrying I decided to jump in and try it…what do I taste? ….SALT! Nothing but salt! It’s not as strong as the water it was washed in but it just tastes like salt water. No flowers, no sweetness or unexpected anything. Such a disappointment. Thinking about it now some Chinese and Japanese food is very salty tasting to me so maybe I knew what to expect. But still I bought it and tried my very best to like it. I got a large bag too :( It’s undrinkable though for me.
Sorry Japan, I tried.