This tea from The Taste of Tea is very unique. It’s made of tea stems and sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) leaves.
It won the first place in the blended green tea category of the North American Tea Championship 2012.
The karigane comes from Yabukita tea plants in Kirishima, Kagoshima. Meanwhile, the sakura leaves are from Izu Oshima, the largest of the Izu islands.
I’ve never tasted sakura leaves before, so I was very interested in trying this tea. As an added benefit, it’s also organic.
According to the vendor, the leaves are first preserved with salt. Then the salt is washed off and this takes the sourness away. Finally, the leaves are dried.
It seems that the sakura leaves are more aromatic than the flowers themselves.
Sakura karigane tea review
My first thought was that it looks like a kukicha with green tea leaves, except that they are sakura leaves. Not that I could tell the difference just by looking 🙂
The smell is very sweet, I liked it a lot. For a comparison I smelled a kukicha, and noticed that the sakura karigane has a more intense, sweeter aroma.
The recommended steeping instructions are: 1 teaspoon, with 6 oz of water at 165°F (73°C) for 30 seconds.
The liquid has a light green color and the smell is sweet, although not as much as the loose leaf.
I think that it tastes more like a sencha than a kukicha, which is surprising. It’s a mellow taste, with little astringency and bitterness.
The sweetness is there, but it’s not so pronounced.
I made another two infusions with the same settings, and as far as I could tell they were all the same.
A soothing tea, which is also very easy to brew. I think most people will find it pleasant, because it’s quite mild.
February 11, 2014
This sounds really nice! I’ve never tasted sakura leaves either, although I’ve eaten lots of the flowers. The tea sounds really gentle and pure.
February 11, 2014
Thanks for the comment.
Teas made with sakura flowers are much more common, I’m sure most people haven’t tried this tea either.
February 13, 2014
Thanks for the review Ricardo.
I wanted to add a bit of history to this tea.
Originally, the tea was made to celebrate the coming of Sakura in 2011. But after 3/11, it was impossible to be festive so we purchased all of the production of this tea for that year and brought it to America with the intent to contribute the proceeds of the sale to Second Harvest Japan http://www.2hj.org. Since then, it has become a staple product for us.
Also, in celebrating the coming Sakura Festivals, we will be offering a 20% discount on the purchase of this tea at http://www.thetasteoftea.com.
Let everyone know.
March 11, 2014
We again are renewing our efforts to help support the survivors of the Great Japan Earthquake with the Help Japan Blossom version of the Sakura Karigane. The bags and labels were donated to maximize the amount going to Second Harvest Japan. We can still remember the helpless feeling we had watching the devastation on the news. We were schedule to fly into Osaka 3/14/11 instead we postponed our trip for a month to organize this fundraiser with our vendors . All proceeds matched by us personally. Please give generously.
Thanks Ricardo, help pass the word.