Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cherry Tea

Cherry blossoms by titus tscharntke. Source:
During my childhood, my family had a cherry tree in the garden and I liked it  much. These are  also very popular over at Japan. They believe them very beautiful and frankly, they are. When they bloom, they are a sight like no other.  The pink petals, which are soft and delicate, blow with the wind in spring.

It may come to a surprise that these petals can be collected and added to foodstuffs such as pastries. Accordingly, it is not a too much of a stretch to have them in your tea. Tokyo Printemps (the name will surely vary from merchant to merchant) is a cherry flavored Japanese green tea sencha. I gave it a try after giving it a sniff at my local provider. The green leaves are mostly whole and so are the  dried petals.  Most of the flavoring appears to come from added essential oils. The aroma, unsurprisingly, is cherry like; but when I open the packet at home it gives me an unusual sensation: I feel as if I'm unwrapping a present from a loving daughter. True! 

For a pot you need about the usual quantity of leaf. The taste is also like cherries, but not so much like the fruit itself. The grassiness of the green tea is subdued or almost entirely cloaked. Care must be taken to not oversteep it as the flavor can get overly intense resulting in what I would call cherry sting.

I believe this would make a very good tea for a morning tea party.

The downside, at least for me, is my own palate which has been accustomed to years of artificial cherry flavoring in medicines and the like. When I drink it, I am sometimes reminded of those; and medicine is not something you want to be reminded of when drinking your pleasant tea. The case is also similar to that of the Soleil Levant from Hediard, which instead of tasting like oranges, tastes like children's medicine. I know, I know: it is the medicine that tastes like oranges, not the other way around. With the Printemps, you can avoid this by not steeping it too much. Oh, there is also the lesser a complaint  in that it is not fit for re-steeping.

If you're a cherry fan or at least have a passable interest, do ask for this tea, but if you're like me you might probably want to pass on this one and just watch the flowers.


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