I’ve been craving sakura lately, and found this sampler from a very long ago Yunomi order. These are actual sakura flowers, preserved in salt and ume (plum) vinegar.
I first tried making some rice by adding one flower into my rice water while it simmered with the rice. The finished rice definitely tasted of the preserving agents, having a pleasant salty and tangy plum flavor, with a more subtle hint of cherry in the background.
Then I decided to try making a matcha latte with it. The directions on the tea suggested rinsing the flower to remove the salt, then steeping it again, and adding back in any of the “salt water” to taste. I prepared it pretty much as suggested, with a 2 minute steep for the initial rinse and a 5 minute steep for the second. The rinse steep was, indeed, extremely salty/umami in flavor, but I could taste that distinct soft floral cherry flavor in the brew… possibly a little more tangy fruit than expected, as I think the ume was bringing that out in the cherry. It did make me think of a soup broth, so I can see why that worked well for my rice. The second infusion had more of a sweet, floral aroma, and the cherry blossom looked like a little jellyfish floating around in the water! Lacking the salt and vinegar, the tea had a very soft and mild sweet and floral taste, like extremely watered down wild flower honey.
The matcha latte wasn’t quite the indulgent experience I was hoping for; I have a hard time with matcha tasting too bitter if I use water, and I thought the sakura tea would help with that. It didn’t really. Still tasted like strong seaweed to me. Added milk and some honey and that calmed the matcha flavor down to something tolerable, but it was overpowering any sakura that might be present. It presented more as an aftertaste, after the grassy/spinachy/seaweedy flavors subsided.
There are a few more flowers left in my pouch, so I’ll continue to experiment with different uses!
Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Plum, Salty, Tangy, Umami