Sakura Sessions – Chasandai: Sakura Sencha with Sugared Sakura Leaves

I couldn’t let sakura season pass without talking about Chasandai: Sakura Sencha with Sugared Sakura Leaves 桜煎茶 A blend of sencha, sugared sakura (Japanese Cherry Blossom) leaves and dried Sakura blossom petals from Chasandai’s tea factory in Shimane Prefecture Japan, that inspired me to put together the sakura sessions series for this years sakura season. This is something I am hoping to continue with each year that passes and hopefully one day I’ll be able to add to this series while experience’s sakura season first hand in Japan.

This blend has been my number one sakura tea since the very first time I tried it, so I thought it was about time I did an updated tasting session with you all and shared my detailed tasting notes compiled over recent sessions with this tea. I have featured this tea many time over the years on my Instagram, but as my pallet has changed and evolved I thought I best to update my tasting notes and see how they compare.

When looking at this blend in it’s dry form, you can see pink and white sakura blossoms in various sizes, sugared sakura leaves, small pieces of stem from the larger blossoms and both Dark green and light green sencha leaves of varied sizes. The aroma coming from the dry leaves is both savoury and sweet. The most prominent note is the sweet, floral sakura notes, which pair perfectly with the marine vegetal notes of the sencha base.  

That aroma does change though the moment the leaves become wet, with the marine green becoming the most prominent, however the soft sweet sakura notes are still prominent, additionally notes of plum and a subtle spice are also present.

From the first steep until the third, the liquor steeps up to a pale green with a flash of yellow in its undertones. It has a sweet, floral and creamy aroma, with mostly the sakura coming through. Hints of vegetal are present but very light. There is also a slight roasted nutty smell present that wasn’t present in either the dry or wet leaf aroma.  

Sipping on this tea you get all the greatest aspects of sakura mochi in a cup, the sakura is not invasive but gentle and creamy like a cake or a buttery sugar cookie with sakura icing. The savoury sencha base pairs perfectly with the fragrant, floral, sweet, soft and creamy sakura notes. It is sweet but it’s a rather delicate sweetness which, upon discovery, made me very happy. I was worried when I first tried this that the sugared sakura leaves would take over the sencha and it would be lost in the background, but luckily that isn’t the case at all. In fact, this tea is beautiful blended and perfectly balanced.

The soft, sweet, fragrant, floral and creamy notes of the sakura instead pair perfectly with this and basically recreate the experience of drinking a high quality sencha while eating sakura mochi or sakura flavoured baked treats. As I write this post, it is currently snowing and bitterly cold here in the UK but that hasn’t stopped me reaching for this tea, that most would usually save for spring. Because this is what I reach for all year round when I just want to close my eyes and imagine I’m sitting under a sakura tree on a warm spring afternoon, sipping on my favourite teas.

I usually do three steeps with this tea because as you go on past the second steeps this becomes more like a nice, unflavoured sencha with a mild astringency developing and the sakura notes fading almost completely by third infusion. In the mouth, the texture of this tea is incredibly smooth, with the creamy chalkiness of the sakura notes coating the mouth. It’s light and delicate and very easy to drink.  

In terms of it’s finish and aftertaste, it has a smooth, long lasting sweet sakura aftertaste with hints of vegetal at the back of the mouth. Its a very easy drinker and the only time there is any astringency present is when it is pushed beyond three steeps and the sakura notes have mostly faded. From the dry leaves, not much changed really, aside from the slight change in size the overall colour pallete stayed the same, with light pink and white sakura from the sakura, and medium sized sencha leaves in various shades of green and hints of reddish brown from the stems.

After every single session I have had with this tea since the first time I tried it, I have been left feeling so calm and relaxed, its just such a treat of a tea, nice and delicate and not too abrasive. I love a good umami bomb sencha but sometimes that’s just not what I’m looking for and when I’m in that mood, this is always the tea that I reach for.

There will be more instalments to this series coming before the end of sakura season but in the mean time, If you want to celebrate Hanami from home try this tea out for yourself. You can find it over on the Yunomi website. Remember to use my code INFKKYU to get ¥1000 off an order of ¥5000 or more.

Until next time, Happy Steeping – Kimberley

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