Monday, April 30, 2007

Review: Lupicia Sakura Vert

Slightly salty cherry leaves are blended into green tea, presenting a fresh clean taste. You will feel as if you are surrounded by young cherry leaves swaying in a balmy breeze.

First, a warning: I went to San Francisco this weekend because I knew Lupicia had gotten a restock recently, and ended up walking out with a free-with-purchase 30 tea sampler. So those of you who are sick of my single brand reviews might want to avoid this blog for the next little bit.*

"Because the tin is pretty" is not the best reason to buy a tea, but it's not the worst, either. And that's really the only reason I had to buy this, and its companion Sakura (Sakura Houjicha was also available, but I am not a huge fan of the houjicha and wasn't willing to risk it, even if the tin was the cutest). Don't get me wrong, it's not that I thought it would be bad; I just had no idea whether it would be good.

Actually, I was originally disappointed that the Sakuranbo tins mentioned in Lupicia's April newsletter weren't in stock, as they're very cute and cherry is more in the vein of the fruity teas I usually drink. Now that I've realized America is just a newsletter behind Japan, I'm still disappointed, as apparently we don't get the girly White Day varieties Cookie, Vanilla, and BonBon. What's the deal, Japan? We don't get a tea salon, and now you're holding out on us for flavors?

But back to Sakura Vert. I was a little concerned about a tea that billed itself as "slightly salty". Sure, a number of the teas I enjoy - Gunpowder being the most obvious example - are a little on the salty side, but most of the teas I've gotten from Lupicia have been sweet and fruity, and that's what I've come to expect from them. Also, there's a big difference between naturally salty undertones and actually salting the leaves, as this does.

So, evaluation? Very salty, as teas go; not much in the way of scent, either brewed or unbrewed; slightly smoky. It's very Japanese, and would be awesome for a cherry blossom viewing party (is there a more concise translation of hanami?), assuming you weren't having booze, which is a pretty big assumption. Lupicia says it would be good with bento or sweets, but I think it would be better with something sturdier - maybe a nice sandwich.

Overall: I'll say three stars. Good, but not really my style.**

*That's a lie. Please don't go, I'm so lonely...
**"Not my cup of tea" deliberately avoided

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Review: Lupicia Momo Oolong Super Grade

Oh my gosh, you guys! Can it be? It is! My first five-star rating!

I should probably mention, here, my bias towards peach. I love peaches and things flavored like peaches more than pretty much any other flavor. (maybe not chocolate) I can eat more than a pound of Fuzzy Peaches in a sitting (that would be a sour peach gummy candy, for you non-Canadians).

But that's not why this tea is rad. Unlike the grapefruit flavor in Lupicia's Grapefruit Green, and despite what could be expected from the strong peach scent of the unbrewed leaves, the peach in this is actually very subtle, letting the oolong flavor through. And such a nice oolong it is! "Super Grade" is one of those terms that can be applied arbitrarily and therefore means nothing but "probably pretty good," but Lupicia comes through.

Overall: five stars