However, my friend Noli Ergas from Sugimoto America gave me a sample that he acquired in Japan. Thank you Noli for your support!
Yamabuki nadeshiko (山吹撫子) is named after two flowers: the Kerria japonica and the Dianthus superbus. It evokes images of floral fragrance and feminine beauty.
What type of tea is this?
In the words of Osadaen, its a “microorganism-controlled fermented tea”. So it’s a special type of dark tea.
As opposed to other dark teas, the process starts in a sterilized room and in such a manner that only the koji mold (Aspergillus oryzae) ferments the tea leaves.
Koji is quite an important fungus in China and Japan. It is used in sake, miso and soy sauce.
Yamabuki nadeshiko is richer in catechins than other dark teas, has two new polyphenols: teadenol A and teadenol B, and also contains gallic acid and citric acid.
A few studies show that it may help in weight loss and also to supress the diabetes enzyme. More research is needed to fully confirm this.
This tea is mainly marketed as a healthy tea for women. It also has JAS organic certification.
Let’s give it a try
After looking at the product’s website, it’s clear that this is a tea for women only.
The package is pink and has flowers in it. I feel kind of weird about this tea review 🙂
Anyway, the leaves are dark and curly. It can easily be confused with a black tea.
There are also some small twigs present.
I thought that the aroma was interesting. Some other dark teas that I have smelled seemed earthy, humid, often what one would think of as an aged quality.
In contrast, Yamabuki nadeshiko feels slightly fresh and floral. I think I detect some sweetness, but I’m not sure about its nature. Perhaps pollen or honey?
According to the instructions, I used 2 grams of tea leaves, 120 ml (4 oz) of boiling water, and infused for 5 minutes.
The wet leaves had a fragrance that reminded me of a black tea again. The difference is that the aroma is not very sweet.
The taste is light. On one hand its easy to drink, but on the other I feel that it lacks character.
I can’t feel much sweetness, and definitely no bitterness. Perhaps a slight astringency.
It does have body, but not much else. I feel like drinking a sort of neutral black tea.
The second infusion tastes almost exactly like the first one.
I guess I prefer stronger tastes, that’s why I rarely drink white tea. But if you like a delicate taste in your tea, you might enjoy this one.
In Japan it’s available in loose leaf, powdered, bottled, and tea bag version.