Representing the ephemeral nature of life, sakura – or cherry blossoms – bloom en masse every spring for a short week or two, blanketing Japan in a sea of pink and white before being washed away by the rain or blown from the branches by the wind.
How is cherry blossom tea made?
Sakura cha (cherry blossom tea) is a very special traditional Japanese infusion that pays tribute to these iconic flowers. To make the herbal tea, the blossoms are placed in ume plum vinegar and salt and are left to infuse for three to four weeks.
When brewed, delicate pink flowers open to reveal floral notes, plum undertones and a mild saltiness – a flavor combination that is beloved across Japan.
The unique beverage is believed to represent new beginnings, and is thus often served at weddings and during other special occasions.
How to brew sakura cha
Cherry blossom tea is prepared a bit differently than conventional loose leaf teas.
To prepare it in the traditional Japanese method, follow these steps.
- Place 2-3 flowers in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes. Remove blossoms from bowl. Reserve salted water and set aside.
- Very gently pour 4oz water heated to approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit over flowers.
- Let steep for approximately 5 minutes. Add a tiny bit of salted water to taste.
- Enjoy. Reinfuse flowers 2 to 3 times.
Want to get experimental? Try adding the brewed infusion to sencha or genmaicha tea for a uniquely Japanese spring flavor. Or, consider using the tea as a base in cocktails and culinary creations. The cherry blossoms look especially beautiful when frozen and prepared in ice cubes!