Jan 14, 2013, 12:00
Usually, I think flavored teas, especially flowery concoctions are a waste of good tea, but I decided to buy the Sakura Sencha to prove myself wrong. I've loved most of the tea I've gotten from Kevin so far, so I took a risk.
I'm glad that I did.
This tea has a sweet and a vaguely tarty flavor, reminding me very much of the Otsuu-san Karigane Sencha from Tsuen. Unlike the Otsuu-san, it has no savory component to its flavor.
The sakura blossoms add some sweetness to the tea, but their effect is largely aromatic. The aroma makes this tea very approachable to japanese tea novices, while the flavor would not disappoint a more experienced tea purist.
The taste is not very strong, nor is it complex, nor very rich, nor full, but that is not the point of this tea. It is a nice smooth and easy-going infusion.
Kevin's brewing parameters are very on the mark here. This tea expands rather quickly, and approximately 45-60 seconds seems to be enough to let it 'bloom.' This tea allows for higher temperature (175-180F) quite easily, as it is completely lacking in bitterness. I suggest using between .6-.7 grams per ounce (erring on the heavier side).
The second infusion tastes almost identical to the first, which is incredibly rare, and was quite exciting to me. This infusion should be done within similar parameters (with a slightly higher temperature- 180F -and for a slightly shorter time- 30-45 sec).
The tea is very cheap, although it should be noted that it is sold in 50 grams (the less-frequent, smaller bag offered by O-Cha), and should be considered a $15 tea, not a $7 tea.
Advantages: Cheap ($15/100 grams).
Easy to brew, good for beginners.
Sweet, somewhat tarty.
Second infusion is almost identical to the first.
Disadvantages: Not very complex, rich, or full.
No savory taste (umami) like a Karigane.