177 Tasting Notes
The second to last paragraph concerns packaging and customer service so skip it if you’re not interested.
Thre’s a lot to like about this tea. Starting with the dry aroma, which was floral, relaxing, and complexly fruity-not to mention so strong I could catch wiffs of it through two plastic bags and a canvas messanger bag. Smelling the whole container in the store was like being drowned in perfume. The color of the brew is gorgous, a surprising deep red that gets a brown tinge with a few infusions.
Brewed hot, it produced four good infusions and a fifth that wasn’t bad, just too weak for my tastes. The first infusion didn’t have much sakuranbou and oddly enough, the sencha tasts grassy in a non-tea way, like it was made from the blossoms and leaves. But after that, the cherry pieces finally plumped up and permiated the liquor. The sencha serves as a nice, earthy background to the bright sakura and robust sakuranbou flavors.
I think it’s even better cold, though. The sencha is still down played, but the sakuranbou and sakura balence out and make each sip a refreshing celebration of spring.
Howeve,r I wasted two first infusions working out the brewing times and temperature. This is because the store staff did post them nor tell me when asked. I don’t want to say “disinterested” but they just didn’t seem to be concerned with the teas section. This was compounded by the bags given to hold the teas measured from the jars in the store were easily ripped and sealed with twistie-ties, not even a sticker or scotch tape. Given that they don’t sell canisters and much of their buisiness is tourism, I can’t comprehend why it would be difficult to keep a roll of tape on hand.
Summery: Break out your glass teapots. Like all sakura senchas, this tea is as beautiful to see and taste. It’s very floral and fresh, so someone looking for a leading sencha with a light accent probably won’t enjoy it. It’s certainly not the best sencha, and it lacks any bitterness or astringancy that I think would go well with the sakuranbou, but for $3.25 for 2 ounces it’s good and exactly what I was looking for. It takes about a tablespoon to make six ounces, due to how loose and bulky the leaves are.
Cold: Six hours Hot: Add 20-30 seconds and a degree each infusion
The bag in was put into (or rather what’s left of it XD):
This is a pleasant Russian caravan that I think I got for $3.50 per two ounces. I usually don’t drink Russian but my mother made me smell it and I think I nearly shoved the stuff up my nose. It has a rich, spicy, hardwood aroma that promised a lot. When I brewed it, it leaned more towards redwood and earth than spice but it was still very good. I’ve gotten three good infusions from it and haven’t tried a forth. It’s not very complex but at a cheap price it could be a good casual drink. Be warned about the store: They’re aptly named, meaning they seem more concerned with spices and coffee than tea. They sell scoops from giant jars that you take home in cheap plastic bags sealed only with a twistie-tie so have some good canisters handy. They also didn’t know about steeping time or origins for anything. Still worth a sample or two if you’re passing though Philadelphia.
Photo 1: The color is a lovely red-brown
Photo 2: This is what I mean by “cheap plastic bags.” The tea inside is actually their Sakura Sencha, but they didn’t even right names on either of them. /=
I had so much hope for this tea’s flavor I’m too disappointed to rate it higher.
Upon opening I was delighted by the packaging: thread sewn pouches with no staples and cellophane covers. Totally biodegradable! Yes! Good-bye American over-packaging guilt! The aroma is an enticing red fruit and hibiscus scent, not so much rooibos.
But after I brewed it with seven onces of water…
Very little aroma, now entirely missing the hibiscus for which I bought it. The flavor was mostly woody rooibos with a slightly floral taste, I’m guessing the marigold. I’ve never had marigold before. And oddly no hibiscus. Oh well.
Over all it fufills the role of bag tea perfectly: a biodegradable, organic, uncaffeinated remedy for nights so exhausting that one can barely boil water and pour it into a cup. I know it was exactlywhat I needed during last night’s thunderstorm that kept me awake and reaching for a book. It’s not bad to try or pick it up on sale, but, based on reviews, Mighty Leaf can do better.
I picked this up in Jungle Jim’s, a giant “foodie” indoor market. It’s a humble, plain tea, as billed by the bags’ description of “liquorice with Ooolong tea blend.” Ignoring the box’s instructions to brew it at an alarming 1000 C (computer translation typo?), it’s a relaxing, lightly woody brew and, at a low price, I can forgive the absence of heartiness I like in licorice.
This tea is a delicious cure for a sore throat or to savor near bed time. The licorice is the most prominant flavor and definatly why I love it. But unlike pure licorice teas, the other spices give this an interesting depth and warmth that mellow the strong falvor. Speaking of strength, this is a bit hard to take when healthy and wide awake. Just take out the bag bit early and it’s perfect.