Sadly the time has come to say goodbye to the Sakura Sessions series until next year’s Sakura Season. In my last two Sakura Sessions posts, I told you all that before I finished the series I wanted to feature three sakura blends from Obubu tea, that I was very kindly sent samples of by my friend Cameron (@tea.n.pugs). The first of those three was Hoji Sakura Sencha, then we had their Sakura Mint tisane and finally today I’ll be featuring their Sakura Sencha. I chose to do this last out of the three so that the series was nicely bookended by two different sakura senchas.
AS you all know well enough by now my go to sakura sencha is Chasandai: Sakura Sencha with Sugared Sakura Leaves 桜煎茶 , which is the tea I kick started this series with earlier in the year. That has been a firm favourite of mine for a while, so I was excited to see how this one would compare considering one has sugars sakura elements and the other is more natural. The blend takes Obubu’s “Sencha of the Spring Sun” and blends it with wild sakura (cherry) leaves and flowers.
As you can see in the image above, the sencha leaves in this blend are dark green in colour and also quite glossy, the sakura leaves are a little more broken and a much lighter green colour, much more matte in texture and the blossoms are a mix of both a blush pink and a peachy undertone pink. It’s such a pretty blend that at all points of the session invoked spring in it’s most delicate and beautiful forms.
Upon opening the bag that this sample came in, I was able to immediately recognise the more savoury, tender, spring vegetable note of the Sencha of the Spring Sun, that is used as the base of this blend. I had had only just sipped on that the day before I tried this tea, not knowing they were the same. One thing about that tea is that while it does have a slight lingering sweetness, it absolutely leans more to the savoury end of things. I was surprised to see it had been used for this blend and was both intrigued and excited to see how well it was going to pair with the sakura and how balanced overall this blend would end up being.
The aromas of the sencha base were the most prominent in the aroma, but there was a light sweet cherry blossom aroma in there too which did give me hope that taste wise there would a nice balance to this blend.
Upon the addition of water, this blend truly blooms and it honestly has to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing blends I have seen in a while, I wish I had steeped this in my glass kyusu so I could have watched this already beautiful blend come to life. The aroma while steeping was a mix of bright and grassy vegetal notes and sweet florals from the sakura elements, there was also a hint of roasted rice in there which can be attributed to the sencha base, as I found it to have that note in both taste and aroma when I tried it on it’s own.
When I took my first sip, any worries that I had about the sencha base being too much for the sakura completely disappeared. Don’t get me wrong, it was still the most prominent element of the blend, however the sakura elements helped to amplify the light sweetness that was already present in the sencha and also added in light floral notes that linger on the tounge. The Sencha of the Spring Sun leans very much to the astringent side of things on its own however and while that astringency is still present, the sakura does a great job of taking away the sharpness of it and rounds of the blend really nicely.
I would recommend that if you are planning to make a cup of this tea, that you steep it with water around 75 degrees. I’ve personally found that to be the sweet spot when it comes to this tea that results in the most balanced cup. I would also recommend that you don’t steep this as long as you usually would when it comes to the first steep, for me steeping this like I would any other sencha resulted in that first cup being a little more astringent than I would have liked, I immediately changed my steeping times and the resulting cups were much better. It has a medium body and astringent texture so it’s important to be careful with your steeps as it will result in lack of balance and also a very cup that is quite drying in the mouth.
I don’t think this blend could be a replacement for my long time favourite, but only because it is a completely different overall experience, so to compare them isn’t quite fair. I would absolutely drink this again in the future, mostly because it feel like it would be a great tea to transition from spring to summer with, while the other is very much and early-mid spring tea.
If you are looking to try this blend for yourself, you find it here on the Obubu Tea Farms website. I really hope you have all enjoyed the Sakura Sessions series this year, I’ve loved working on it and I can’t wait to start planning content for next year.
Until Next Time, Happy Steeping – Kimberley
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