While doing some research on Japanese teas on the Obubu site (which has great information by the way) I came across Sakura tea. Sakura is a Japanese Cherry Blossom. The tea is a cherry blossom that is pickled in saltly plum vinegar. You may expect this tea to resemble the sweet smelling Japanese Cherry Blossom that lingers in the air come spring time, but instead is nearly the opposite.
The leaf is not dry, but instead comes in a little package with a small amount of the pickled vinegar. Instructions for this tea was to steep (using the warm water steeping instructions as well http://www.mlatte.com/obubutea/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Warm-Water-Steeping-Instructions-US.pdf) it in a small amount of hot water for about 30 seconds, and then take it out. This removes most of the salt, and you can use this concentrated liquor to add a savory flavor to your tea.
|Sakura Tea, right out of the package|
First, I tried it plain. Sakura Blossoms go well with green tea or Genmaicha. I steeped it for about sixty seconds, and then added a conservative teaspoon of the concentrated liquor. This was something I have never tasted before. The first taste was bright and sweet, and then followed with a savory aftertaste. The savory taste was very soft, but still held the floral notes of the cherry blossom. Yet it had a full flavor, and you could even detect the slight plum from the vinegar.
Next I tried it with Genmaicha. It was a delightful mix of sweet flavors with the green tea and cherry blossom annd savory with the salt and rice flavors. This tea reminded me how much I love spring time and the beautiful flowers blossoming.
The beauty of this tea is that you can resteep a few times, but also place it in your rice cooker, which will add a soft delicate flavor to your rice.
I found Sakura Tea to be delightful from Obubu Tea, a tea company from Kyoto that is trying to bridge the gap between farmers and tea drinkers, and spread the love of tea to everyone.