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.]