Oh man, am I excited for this tea! Also excited that I could put up the page for this tea and be the first to review it. This is a new offering from Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms, a wonderful company that I’ve had the pleasure of trying many green teas from. They also produce Sakurayu, a tea made from preserved cherry blossoms. Traditionally, the flowers are preserved in plum vinegar and then heavily salted for storage. This time, Obubu has tried doing that with sugar to create a more delicate and sweet drink. This is an experimental tea, so they haven’t made many batches of it yet. Their method for preserving the flowers this way is something new, so it seems they’ve been a bit secretive about it. They have not mentioned if they still use plum vinegar, but judging from the smell of the flowers when dry, I believe they still have.
I am enjoying these in a small 70ml porcelain gaiwan. I’ve put two flowers in and filled it with water at 90C/194F, per their suggestion. Let it sit for a minute or two and watch the beautiful pink blossoms open up.
I’ve had the salted version Obubu makes and I really enjoy them. The method for making them is to soak the flowers in some warm to hot water to remove the salt. The salty brine resulting is kept on the side while the flowers are brewed in fresh hot water, then the brine can be spooned back in to the tea to a little at a time to make it salty to your preference. I’ve tried it with plenty of the salt and with only very little of the salt, and also rinsing all of the salt I could out of it. Additionally I’ve tried it with rinsing all the salt away and then using a bit of sugar, and that was my favorite method of enjoying it. A hint of sugar brings out the taste of the plum vinegar and cherry flowers. Overall the taste is a delicate floral, plum, and cherry combination.
What they’ve done with this new batch of tea preserved in sugar basically takes all that work out of the process of making it. I can just put two of the sugared flowers into a cup and pour the hot water in and I’m good to go.
The taste is the same as before but without any traces of saltiness. The flowers open up beautifully and the infusion is just a very pale pink/yellow tint. The aroma is more floral while the flavor is a bit more sweet and fruity.
I have to say I really enjoy this. There’s a part of me that likes just the little hint of salt that I get from rinsing the traditional version and then adding a bit of sugar to them on my own, but the result is fairly similar and this is much more convenient without the salt.
I did not stir this sweet sakura tea after putting the water in, so as I drank the gaiwan full, the tea got sweeter and sweeter toward the bottom of the cup, becoming very dessert like in the last few sips. I really enjoyed this experience, as it started very light and got stronger as I drank, but I also feel it would be delicious to just stir it from the start to make the tea evenly sweet.
I am curious how long these flowers will last preserved in sugar instead of salt, however.
There is a date on the package marked in this way:
賞味期限（shōmikigen）– best if eaten by date (safe to eat, but the flavour is not as fresh). The date listed is 4/30/2015
It’s April 3 now, so that’s not too far off. With the salted variety, the blossoms can easily last up to 2 years if stored properly.
These flowers are, of course, edible. I ate them after brewing the tea. Aside from the floral taste, which is light, they have a fresh leafy taste that reminded me a bit of a light parsley flavor, perhaps a bit like cucumber.
I really enjoyed this tea and I hope Obubu continues to make it. I wonder if it will be a seasonal offering since the preserved blossoms do not necessarily last as long with sugar instead of salt. In the mean time, I want to give this tea a high rating because it is delicious and delicate, very beautiful to look at, inviting and relaxing, all the things a tea should be. I hope they continue to produce this!