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85
drank Ume Vert by Lupicia
258 tasting notes

I am completely conflicted when it comes to this tea. Like snood4m4 said in their review, this is not the plum that might first come to the Euro-/NA-centric mind, but the ume – the green, tart, Japanese plum.

The umeboshi referred to in that review (bear in mind I’m by no means an authority) are the dried fruit, that I personally find sweeter and rounder flavour-wise. The ume itself has a perfectly crisp and clear tartness that is reflected very well in this tea. Steeped, however, it is paired with a strongly present note of bitter almond, which makes me realize, for the first time, the extent to which these two flavours actually intermingle.

It’s really quite something, and it reminds me so much of picking plums in the fall, digging the pits out – and then cracking the pits open to reveal the small, soft plum almond that carries this gorgeous note of bitter marzipan.

The reason I’m conflicted is because I can’t decide whether or not Lupicia absolutely nailed it, or if it’s just a happy coincidence… or, honestly, if this is all happening in my head.

Either way, this is a very tricky tea – strange, demanding and complex, and I really, absolutely adore it.

[Purchased at Lupicia in Kyoto, July 2013.]

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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Bio

I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.

Forever.

  • * *

2014

This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.

2013

Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.

Ever.

  • * *

My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

100-90
My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

89-80
Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

79-70
Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

69-0
Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.

Location

Rome, Italy

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