On the one hand, there’s sakura: sweet pink flowers, light and subtle. And on the other hand, you’ve got matcha: the green tea with a rich, earthy scent and taste. So put your hands together for the epic seasonal flavor that is sakura matcha!
A flower arrangement (with added grass) that blooms on your tongue
You might not think that these two flavours go together at first, but then you’d be pleasantly surprised.
Sakura’s soft taste works well in desserts and drinks. It’s noticeable without overpowering the other flavors that it’s mixed with. Don’t expect sakura to taste a lot like cherries, though! It’s floral and salty, too: sakura mochi and sakura tea get their flavor from pickled or salted sakura leaves.
As for matcha, it has a stronger kick, and a different flavor compared to other types of green tea. You might think it tastes grassy (if you’ve ever tasted grass before…) or like green vegetables. It blends well with both sweet and bitter flavors, including different types of chocolate and fruits.
When you try the sakura matcha combo, you’ll taste the matcha first, for sure. The sakura sneaks in after the green tea, adding hints of bitterness and sweetness as a twist on the overall flavor.
Together, they’re like a flowering cherry blossom tree and the earth it’s rooted in.
Pink and green can only be seen at certain times of the year
The ‘sakura matcha’ combo is usually a spring limited edition flavor. After all, when you think of spring in Japan, you think of cherry blossoms. Sakura is a popular flavor by itself, and sakura matcha adds a twist for another way to fully enjoy the cherry blossom season.
There are some easy ways to find and enjoy this taste when you’re in Japan: find chocolate and sweet snacks at a convenience store, or visit a café.
When you’re looking for sakura matcha product packaging and advertising, it won’t take long… you can’t miss it. Pink and green are opposites on a color wheel, making them complementary colors that stand out on the shelf.
And don’t they just give you that perfect image of spring in Japan? Pale pink and deep green together create a strong feeling of nature, fresh spring days and walks in the park.
Famous chocolate and sweets makers like Pocky and KitKat come out with sakura matcha versions of their products every year. They’re cleverly made to enhance both the flavors and the order in which you taste them. When you eat a KitKat, for example, you’ll taste the matcha chocolate coating first, and the sakura cream in between the wafers second. Pocky does the same with matcha-flavored chocolate covering the sakura-infused biscuit.
As a drink, the sakura matcha latte is a regular feature on café menus during the first few months of the year. Japanese coffee shop chains like Tully’s and Doutour create their own blends.
One of Japan’s most authentic tastes
If you visit Japan for the sakura season, try something sakura matcha flavoured! We’ve given you a hint of this unique Japanese taste, but you’ll only get the full effect by sampling the real thing.
Traveling to Japan during Sakura season, be sure to check our Limited Cherry Blossom Tours!
Kady’s a British writer and foodie who found her 2nd home in Osaka, Japan. At 4ft 10in short, she’s optimised for mobile. Find her on Twitter @koisurukady, or at kadycopy.co.uk