Review: Sakuma Bros. Sun Dried Loose Leaf White Tea

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Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The aroma from the mouthpiece reminded me of maple leaves, melons, autumn-dropped apples and sugar."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.6/10
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I'm a bit of a nativist at heart. The Pacific Northwest - I'm convinced - is where I'll grow old, die and haunt 'til the end of time. It's a gorgeous, eclectic and downright weird place. And up until last year, I wouldn't have known that Oregon's upper neighbor also grew tea. Sakuma Bros. is a fourth generation berry-growing op out of Skagit Valley, WA. They are most well-known for their strawberries. I personally haven't had 'em, but I've heard friends sing praises before. The family-run outfit also has another merit badge to add. They are only the second official outfit to grow tea on the U.S. mainland (aside from a small farming collective in Hawaii).

Their white tea became available for order sometime in November or December. The product had been on my list of "DO WANT!"-s for the better part of four months. When it finally came in a big red box, I did a squeal-n-dance before opening. Initially, I was turned off by the appearance of the dry leaves. They looked like...well...leaves - plucked and dried. I guess after two hundred teas or so, I was spoiled to expecting hand-rolled needles. The initial aroma was also underwhelming, very wilderness-y.

Brewing instructions called for 2-3 grams of leaves per 6-8oz of 185F water. It took a good 4g to equal 1 tsp., and these were very fanned-out leaves. I went with a little under a tablespoon in 8oz of 170F water, given that I wasn't sure if these leaves would be White Peony-hearty or not. A little bit above a typical white tea temp seemed prudent.

The liquor didn't darken so much as it brightened to a vibrant - if transparent - gold color. The aroma from the mouthpiece reminded me of maple leaves, melons, autumn-dropped apples and sugar. The taste was an even more unusual experience. I suppose an esoteric comparison is in order; for those who've had an Oothu Estate Indian white tea, a Quangzhou Milk Oolong or a Bai Mu Dan...imagine it as a combination of all three. It was buttery, creamy, sweet, leafy, berry-like and earthy - all in one sip. But the biggest surprise of all was how long it lasted. I steeped it four times - four! - and it still maintained all these characteristics without fading. Even on the final ten-minute steep-o'-death, it didn't give in to spinachiness.

Who says Americans can't grow tea?! Like I said...nativist at heart.

— To purchase Sakuma Bros. Sun Dried Loose Leaf White Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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9 Responses to “Review: Sakuma Bros. Sun Dried Loose Leaf White Tea”

  1. jamie and shawn Says:

    i didn’t know they were growing tea in beautiful skagit valley!!! COOL!! Geoff, I live in this wonderful PNW area too (again, thank goodness!). There is a company in Oregon called One Green World and you can buy tea plants from them. I can speak for their vitality as I have some friends in town who have several plants purchased from there that have been in for a while and the leaf makes for nice sipping! Very fragrant leaf! Maybe you should buy a plant and put it on your porch!!! :-) The plants are bred down from most recently Russian stock, I believe. Great review, thanks…I want to visit them now, I had no idea!

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  3. Lainie Petersen Says:

    This sounds like a very interesting tea, and I am glad to hear of more US-based farmers growing it. Incidentally, there is a small tea plantation in South Carolina and it is owned by Bigelow tea.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Geoff Says:

    I have always wanted a tea plant. Prices for some are through the roof. The Russian stock – I gather – are from the Dagomys region, right? I also heard from a tearoom in Seattle that there’s another private tea grower out there. Gonna investigate.

  5. Geoff Says:

    @Lainie – I’ve had the Charleston Tea Plantation’s Governor’s Gray and loose leaf American Classic. I liked ‘em quite a bit. That place is on my “to-visit” list.

  6. The Lazy Litera"Tea" » American Tea (F**K Yeah!) Says:

    [...] My impressions of their Sun Dried White Tea can be found HERE. [...]

  7. Ainee Beland Says:

    Hi,

    Your review is quite excellent. Especially about doing a little dance for the red box. Liked a lot.

    My husband and I resided in Auburn, WA for a little under two years. I did not give it ample credit since I missed the snow and New England; it did (wet) snow our first Thanksgiving there. I read a reviewer who referred to WA as eclectic; true for Puyallup, WA, antique haven and worlds fair.

    I have added this tea on my wish list, thank you. Be well and happy teas to you.

  8. The Lazy Litera"Tea" » My First Tea Fest Says:

    [...] to be on hand at their booth. I had wanted to meet him for over a year after having tried their Sun Dried White Tea. The man was humble and good-natured and put up with my many questions with wonderful patience. I [...]

  9. My First Tea Fest | Lazy Literatus Says:

    [...] to be on hand at their booth. I had wanted to meet him for over a year after having tried their Sun Dried White Tea. The man was humble and good-natured and put up with my many questions with wonderful patience. I [...]

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