A few weeks ago I was contacted by Jonathan at Sokenbicha, who asked if I would be interested in trying out their new line of bottled and brewed teas that are set to debut in Whole Foods nationwide this month. I’m always on the lookout for more natural beverage choices, so trying out a zero calorie, unsweetened brewed tea sounded like a perfect fit.
When the package arrived, I immediately started reading the informational brochure. The creation of Sokenbicha is based on the Five Elements Theory, reflecting the complex relationships between the body and the environment and attempts to create harmony.
There are five distinct flavors, corresponding to a specific part of the body and the five elements. The flavors included: Revive, Defend, Purify, Shape and Skin, and it was recommended that the teas be tried in that order. I decided to try a small sample of each of the teas on the same day so that I could get a true feel for what flavor was my favorite.
After sampling each of the teas, I came away with two favorites, two least favorites, and one that I’m neutral about. I’m absolutely certain that each person would have a different favorite flavor based on preferences. The following reviews are based on my experiences with the tea.
My favorite flavors were Defend and Shape.
Defend has a smell like a traditional brewed iced tea and had a really mild, but enjoyable taste. I liked that the natural sweetness of the ingredients was allowed to shine through and wasn’t masked by artificial sweeteners or sugar. I think that sometimes I’ve gotten too accustomed to overly sweetened drinks, so this was a nice change of pace. Shape had a really pleasant peach smell as soon as I opened the bottle, it also had a light sweetness to it that I enjoyed.
My least favorite flavors were Purify and Skin. Purify had an orange, citrus-like scent to it. I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I also didn’t enjoy Skin, which had an overly strong cinnamon flavor. It wasn’t refreshing and, perhaps it was because it was the fullest bodied tea, it was too much for me.
I was relatively neutral about Revive, which had a sweet and fragrant scent; the rose smell was extremely apparent. It had a smooth but light flavor, but I really missed some kind of sweetness in this tea. I’m interested to see if adding some sweetener would improve my opinion on this flavor into a favorite.
Overall, I would definitely purchase the Defend and Shape flavors again. I’m kind of bummed that I don’t live close enough to a Whole Foods to pick these up more frequently. They are a fun change of pace from water, but don’t leave me with a weird feeling from too much sugar or artificial sweeteners.