Tea of the Week: Lupicia’s Sakura Matcha Au Lait

There’s something about being in the midst of winter that makes me yearn for sunnier days and brighter steeps. As a food blogger with modest camera knowledge, I’m at the sun’s mercy everyday. A clear, bright day after a host of overcast ones not only brings my craft back to life but also helps to keep the winter blues at bay. Lupicia’s Sakura Matcha Au Lait is a foreshadowing of lovely spring days to come. Sweet and savory with a kick of caffeine, it adds a lively pop of freshness to any dreary day. From the name of this tea, you might expect it to taste like bowl of fresh cherries. I hate to break it to you, but it’s simply not going to taste like that. This tea tastes distinctively of cherry blossoms (sakura)not cherries. In Japan, cherry blossoms are often pickled in salt after flowering in the spring, which is what gives this blend its pleasantly salty and mildly floral taste. For those longing to take a trip to Springtime Japan though their taste buds, this matcha will take you there.
Tasting Notes for Lupicia’s Sakura Matcha au Lait:

BREWING TIPS:  In a large microwave safe bowl or chawan, mix 2 heaping teaspoons of the mix with 8 fluid ounces of milk (I like soy milk or almond milk). Mix thoroughly with a whisk or chasen, then microwave on high for 1 minute. Carefully remove from the microwave, then mix again to create frothy bubbles just before serving.

THE BLEND:  Sugar, powdered green tea, powdered cherry leaf and cherry petal, and aluminum potassium sulfate.

THE SCENT:  Softly grassy. Very subtle on the floral notes.

THE STEEP:  Mildly salty and lightly sweet with a vanilla-like essence. Slightly bitter and earthy as is characteristic of matcha. Brews to a creamy, vibrant leaf green.

GET IT:  Online, at Lupicia or at Lupicia stores in California or Hawaii.

FOOD PAIRING:  This would be yummy with savory or sweet snacks as it borders on the flavor profiles of both. Furikake Tofu Fries, Neapolitan Mochi Cake (for V-Day!), or Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls would all complement this tea’s complex flavor.

Lupicia Hawaii’s Hua Ki Tea

After posting a piece on Lupica Hawaii yesterday, I thought I’d share with you a bit more about the Hua Ki tea blend that I was raving about.  It’s so hot and dry in Los Angeles this week it might as well be summer, in which case this would be a delicious and satisfying blend to enjoy. This is one of two Lupicia Original Hawaiian tea blends that’s actually available through their website, simply because it is their most popular blend.  If you prefer to order this in a gift package (they are really colorful and beautiful!) then just call their store in Honolulu directly.

Tasting Notes:

BREWING TIPS:  2 1/2-3 minutes @ 212 degrees F.

THE LEAF:  Black twisty tea leaves with small chunks of dried mango, papaya, pineapple, and cranberries thrown in.  Tiny purple blossoms called Blue Mallow and large cut strawberry leaves are also scattered throughout.

THE SCENT:   When you open a tin or bag of this tea the scent of the most ripe, sweet tropical fruits come bursting out of the container.  Each tin of tea has a vacuum packed sealed bag of the tea for locking in freshness.  After cutting open the bag and transferring the tea into the tin itself, I often keep the empty bag around for sniffing because I think of Hawaii every time I get a whiff.

THE STEEP:  A medium brownish amber, typical of a black tea blend.  Although it’s a black tea, you wouldn’t want to add milk into this flavored tea.  It’s best served cold over ice, unsweetened or just lightly sweetened so that you can taste all those tropical fruit flavors coming through.  The brew is medium-bodied and heavier on the mango and pineapple flavors.  It’s warm, slightly sweet, and has a buttery finish.

GET IT:  lupiciausa.com