I need a new nightly tisane, and was looking through my oldest herbals on my spreadsheet and came across this. I ordered this tea sampler from the Kunohe Village Revitalization Project through Yunomi a long time ago… I was expecting “sweet” based on the name, but didn’t know much about it. Apparently these dried Hydrangea leaves make a sweet tea that is known as “Buddha’s Tea” and drank on his birthday. (I’m quite a fan of Japanese culture but this was all new to me!)
The instructions on the packet are for a full liter, not a cup, so I kinda had to wing it, not knowing how much to brew. A tea blog said they use two leaves (1g) per 100ml so I went with that… but they were also doing gong fu preparation, and I’m more of a western brewer, so I’m still not sure if that’s going to be way too strong…
It steeps a marigold color and smells very floral, but not a flower I could place. There is a honey-like sweetness in the aroma, as well… I think the florality in the scent is driving in a wildflower honey vibe. There is also something about the aroma that smells herbaceous, like a wet straw sort of aroma.
WOAH! It tastes like I dissolved sugar in a cup! The mouthfeel is fuller and silkier than dropping sugar in hot water would be, but the taste! There is almost a toasty flavor, some hot hay, definitely a wildflower vibe, and then a thick, coating sweetness. The feel of it on the mouth sort of reminds me of licorice root, except it tastes more like sugar. So sugar with the coating mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste that licorice root provides? Something like that.
I really have no problem drinking this myself, but I definitely think this little oddity of a tisane would be way too sweet for most. Perhaps dropping the amount of leaf used or the steep time could produce a cup better attuned to one’s personal sweetness levels, though. I do think I brewed this too strong as I’m starting to get that heavy feeling in the stomach that one can get from eating too many sweets. I couldn’t finish the whole cup! (You know that feeling when you think you can eat the whole slice of cheesecake, then you hit that bite where you suddenly realize, “I cannot eat this whole slice of cheesecake”? Very much those feels!) I’ll definitely be playing around with the amount/steeping times.
I was quite curious to see how this would work blended with other things to add sweetness… So my next cup I decided to mix some leaves with plain hibiscus. Everyone (but me, apparently) thinks hibiscus is “too tart”, right? Unsurprisingly, this is the sweetest cup of hibiscus tea I’ve had! Hibiscus too sour for you? Try dropping a leaf or two of this stuff in it…
I also want to try making Southern Sweet Tea using this in lieu of the sugar!
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Hot Hay, Sugar, Sweet, Toasty