Did you know that there’s a tea that’s mainly drank for its saponin content?
It’s called saponincha (サポニン茶, saponin tea) in Japan, and it’s a real tea in the sense that it comes from the camellia sinensis plant.
If you read my article about saponin, you’ll see that it offers some health benefits. The main one is that it lowers cholesterol absorption.
Unfortunately, this tea is always marketed as a “weight loss tea” which isn’t really what tea lovers are into.
What is saponincha made of?
It turns out that the flowers of the tea plant are rich in saponin. Besides, it contains different types of saponins not found in other parts of the plant: floratheasaponins.
Saponincha is made of tea flowers only. I don’t know about the processing method, I tried searching online but found nothing relevant. Most of the info is hype about how much weight you’ll lose by drinking saponincha :-).
On Japanese online stores I saw that saponincha is generally sold in teabags, but there’s also bottled saponincha and an extract in the form of pills (for use as a supplement).
The teabags also have different brewing instructions. There are personal teabags to brew in a mug with hot water for 3 minutes, and another teabag for brewing a lot of saponincha (1 liter in boiling water for 5 minutes) at the same time.
I wonder why there’s not more teas made with flowers of the tea plant. Perhaps the taste isn’t that good? Saponin is bitter and astringent, but I haven’t tried saponincha so I don’t really know what it tastes like.
The saponincha fad in Japan started some years ago, so I’m not sure how the sales are doing now. I found a short video advertising a saponincha brand, although it’s in Japanese.
You probably won’t be able to buy saponincha outside Japan, but at least now you know which tea has the highest saponin content :-).