Drinks review: Saicho cold-brewed tea

Adam Lowe

The exquisite new range of cold-brewed Saicho teas are perfect for your Go Sober October efforts but they also make a special treat for any other occasion.

The first tea we got to try was Saicho Jasmine. This luscious sparkling green tea is fragrant with jasmine blossoms and has just a hint of sweetness which comes from white grape juice. This gives a lovely honey quality to each sip, which is subtle enough to balance against the upper jasmine notes.

The green tea comes from Fuding, in China’s Fujian province, and has a delicate floral aroma.

Overall, the drink is light and just a tad sparkly, making this a wonderful aperitif, something to enjoy al fresco in the summer, or a wonderful booze-free alternative to bubbly.

I’m a huge lover of green tea and this has such a delicious taste, I could drink it any time of day. I had to snatch my hand back to avoid drinking it all in one go. You’ll want to savour this.

Saicho Jasmine serves as the perfect introduction to sparkling cold-brewed tea and pairs well with creamy pasta dishes, but could be served just as well in place of a dessert wine with a rich panna cotta. The airy flavours would cut through the richness well.

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The next flavour we got to try is Saicho Hojicha. Originating in Kyoto in the 1920s as a way of utilising leftover leaves, stems, stalks and twigs, hojicha is a roasted green tea grown in Shizuoka Prefecture and is now one of the most popular teas in Japan.

On my own visits to Tokyo, whenever I grab a cold drink, hojicha is usually the go-to offering as it’s available at just about every drinks stand or vending machine in the country and has a pleasant nutty taste.

Saicho’s Hojicha has wholesome notes of seaweed, roasted chestnuts and molasses. It would pair well with Asian salads or cured meats, making it great for cold buffets.

It’s amber colour is appealing and belies the autumnal flavours within. It looks like an ale when poured in a tall glass.

Finally, we got to try the darling Saicho Darjeeling. Once again, this is a unique flavour, but the fact this is a black tea makes it stand out with a slightly different experience for your palate.

Darjeeling, as a classic black tea, is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Darjeeling part of India is almost 2,000 metres above sea level, and the tea is harvested in the summer to develop its unique flavour.

This sparkling cold-brewed tea has a deeper flavour than its siblings, with spicy wood notes, a slight nectarine fruitiness and hints of muscatel. It also has a subtle astringency which gives it an edge (almost like a dark craft ale, but much, much lighter).

It would pair well with grilled meats, making it perfect for pork, chicken or lamb. This would pair the easiest with most European dishes.

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More information

Each bottle retails for £7.99 and can be purchased online or from stockists. For great cocktail recipes, check out the Saicho website.

For more information on Saicho cold pressed teas, visit saichodrinks.com.

About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people.