Green March! I am a fan of anything and everything sakura (I’m a March baby, I love things associated with Japanese culture, and they just have such a pretty look and smell! Last March I got to see them blooming in Portland, Oregon, but it is my dream to get to go to a proper Hanami in Japan one day!), so when I saw actual sakura-flavored tea, and not that common faux-sakura green tea that is everywhere using cherry-flavoring and rose petals (and don’t get me wrong, I freaking love that stuff!) I knew I had to try it!
This tea was ordered from Yunomi, but is made from a Japanese tea company called Chasandai Tea Factory. From what I’ve found from my (limited) research into flavored Japanese sakura teas, usually the sakura leaves and flowers are salted, not sugared (and I have some of the salted variety on order from Lupicia on the way… can’t wait to try those, too! I’ll just consider going way over my tea budget this month on sakura seasonals a birthday present to myself. cough cough) I’ll be curious to compare the differences, but I have to say, this tea is very unique, and I really like it!
First off, and I know this is quite strange to say about a tea that probably everyone would unanimously think of as floral, it comes off very dessert like to me… in fact my very first impression was sugar cookies, and I often don’t even get that feeling from tea blends that are boasting themselves as cookie blends. Yet, it is hard to put my finger on exactly what it is that strikes those feelings in me. I certainly can taste a rich, vegetative sencha note in the base of the tea, and it is obvious this is a quality sencha. But it has a sort of buttery quality to it that reminds me a bit of drinking a Jin Xuan oolong… that creamy/buttery/vegetative note. It just feels a little lighter in body than a Jin Xuan. Then it has this very notable sweetness, both from the sugared leaves and the natural sweetness of the floral quality of the sakura. Somehow those things put together just make it taste somehow very cookie-like to me, rather than like a typical floral tea. It certainly doesn’t read with a heavy floral taste the way rose petal tea does. It’s a very subtle touch.
The flavor isn’t strong, but it is something very unique. To me it’s like a Jin Xuan that has a subtle sakura petal note instead of that orchid/lilac note that is often lingering under the buttery/vegetal flavor. And it’s just a bit sweeter, hitting this buttercream/cookie note at the back of my throat. If you want something that is going to scream “sakura” at you, honestly the faux teas that taste strongly of cherry and flowers but are accomplishing the deed in an artificial way are going to do it better, because as I’ve discovered, sakura is a very subtle flavor note. But this is quite different, and quite tasty! I’ll definitely be enjoying this, and may try making an iced brew and seeing how that tastes, as well.
Flavors: Butter, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Sugar, Sweet, Vegetal