There are two Blue Moons this year. My friend and I set our alarms for 5am this past January 31st to step out and groggily try to view the even rarer Super Blue Blood Moon – the first to be seen from the US since 1866. The next one will be in 2037 so it seemed worth it to try and catch this one. So there we were, two women in our pajamas on the sidewalk in the blackness of early morning that looks like night trying to take a picture through binoculars with an iphone of a moon that kind of looked like a floating orange. It was very cool though. NASA’s pictures do it far more justice but here is one of ours.
When I posted the pics on twitter I noticed posts about Blue Moon Tea from Adagio Teas. They have an herbal blend called Bella Luna Blue that they only sell when there are 2 full moons in one month. It is also blue in color when brewed. Very intriguing. Then, as there is another Blue Moon (though not Blue Blood Moon) March 31st, Adagio reached out to me about this unique tea. I love all that synchronicity! I gladly took the opportunity for a new tea experience so here we are. The ingredient of this blend that gives it such a beautiful indigo blue color is pea flower. The other elements of this blend are lemongrass and natural blueberry flavor.
SCENT – The dry leaves have a sweet blueberry dessert-like scent with the lemongrass walking around in the background. The pea flower doesn’t seem to add much scent. The steeped tea is also sweet smelling, like a blueberry cobbler.
TASTE – Pea flower by itself is pretty mild. I tasted some of the dried flowers alone and they clearly had some of the blueberry flavor on them but were very innocuous underneath that. Some compare pea flower taste to an earthy green tea, but I feel it reminds me more of barley tea. In combination with the lemongrass and blueberry flavor the tea is well blended with all the flavors holding hands in harmony. I like it both unsweetened and sweetened with a bit of honey. The honey brought out the blueberry flavor more.
We took pictures of the tea in a few different vessels with light from above and from behind, with more or less tea and sometimes there were multiple colors visible including purples and deep pinks like a wild sunset captured in a glass.
Then I started playing with the wet leaves. Many artists paint with tea, so it isn’t novel necessarily, but it is fun. This tea reminded me of watercolors. I couldn’t resist splattering and writing with it. I fully believe in playing with your tea and getting creative with the ways even steeped leaves can be used.
Bonus: I was also able to get more than one steeping out of a round of leaves. Satisfying.
You can get this lovely Bella Luna Blue tea on the day of the next Blue Moon, March 31st 2018, from Adagio Teas. I encourage you to set your alarm, grab a friend, bring some binoculars and go out into the night to gaze skyward for this rare experience!
I was unaware of the fading of traditional tea drinking culture in Japan. Apparently it is mainly the older generations that drink traditional tea with younger ones going for sweet RTD beverages. You can read more about this interesting challenge to the Japanese tea trade here: http://www.tching.com/2018/02/japanese-tea-farm-fighting-japans-biggest-problem-age-part-one/ It is wild to think the 8th largest producer of tea, Japan, is losing their own tea drinkers.
When the CEO of Japanese Green Tea In, Kei Nishida, asked me to try his company’s newest teas I anticipated that the quality would be good as in my past experience. It is the story of how these teas came about that makes them doubly interesting. The Arahataen Tea Farm is where the tea for Japanese Green Tea In is grown. This tea farm partnered with a local High School for a year teaching tea farming, production and business. Another goal of the partnership was to discover a new way to engage young people and get them interested in drinking tea. Nice! Like businesses listening to their customers this company decided to court a new customer base by actually working with some of their demographic to create a tea product targeted to their preferences.
By defining commonalities among drinks popular with the teen crowd prototypes were created then tested among all the High Schools in the region. Sweet and sour were the most popular tastes across the popular drinks analyzed. There was also a desire for something easy to make that didn’t require a tea pot as most of the students did not have one at home.
The result was a powdered green tea mix including light amounts of natural sugar and locally sourced lemon that can be made equally easily with hot or cold water. A second blend was made using mikan, which is called the Japanese tangerine, instead of lemon. Even though lesser quality tea is often used in powdered versions the decision was made to use high quality tea for these creations. The tea in question is grown using what is called the Chagasuba method. This method of tea growing uses sugar cane and other beneficial natural elements to cover the roots adding nutrients to the soil, preserving moisture and warmth. This results in a natural sweetness to the tea itself aside from the sugar added to these blends.
I sat down with a fellow tea lover, Elexis, to taste these creations and this what we experienced:
Green Tea with Mikan
I used the suggested 2 tsp. of powder to 7 oz. hot water
SCENT – Super fragrant, fruity nose, almost flowery; Scent of the green tea is mild but still present; Initial thought on the fruit was citrus but hard to get specific on likely because neither of us had ever had this particular type of orange
TASTE – Unlike any green tea I’ve ever had; A surprisingly mild, friendly, high end taste with a gentle balanced sweetness. The tea taste is there but it’s like it is holding hands with the mikan and allowing the fruit to step forward. The mildness of the sweetness was a pleasant surprise. To many western palates it may not be sweet enough which is easily remedied by adding a sweetener of choice, but it is cool that it doesn’t start off mega-sweet so the drinker has that choice. The mikan orange reminded me of San Pellegrino’s Aranciata Rossa made with Italian oranges and blood oranges.
I was advised by Kei that when the tea is made with hot water some prefer using 1.5 tsp. per 7 oz. water instead of the 2 tsp. I used the 2 tsp. and I and my friend Elexis (who kept saying “I really like this!”) both thought it was great that way.
Green Tea with Lemon
SCENT – Clearly lemon; Less fragrant than the Mikan, but inviting; Sharp, fresh real lemon scent (not at all like strong lemon scented cleaners or anything like that, more like the explosion of scent from peeling a lemon by hand releasing the real lemon oil)
TASTE – Mild though the pleasing bitter bite of the lemon is present; I would consider using the 1.5 tsp. per 7 oz. water as opposed to 2 tsp. in hot water version more because of flavor profile than sweetness level. The lemon tastes stronger than the tea to us here. Still it is a mildly sweet, instant gratification option for green tea goodness on the go.
Ingredients: Lemon (or mikan), green tea, Sugar, Dextrin and Sucralose
According to Kei sugar is less than 5% of the entire tea
You can find these teas here:
Thanks to Kei at Japanese Green Tea In for providing the tea for this adventure
This is not a sponsored post
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