Technically, this isn’t the tea I currently have in my cupboard, though what I have is very similar — my friend Todd brought me back a small jar of powdered ume kobucha (plum kelp) tea from his trip to Japan, and since the jar is fully in Japanese, other than reading the “ume kobucha” on the front, I have no idea the brand name. I used the directions for preparing the tea from this Sennenya brand listed on Yunomi’s site, my current go-to for Japanese teas, and from the few ingredients I could read with my limited Japanese skills, what I have and this one seem to be the same sort of thing. I am guessing the brands are probably pretty close and with the same sort of ingredients, anyway.
Todd knows that I have been looking for good teas to use as broth bases for ramen noodles, because my chronic migraine condition means I can’t use the packaged flavor packets (MSG is one of my triggers). I actually grabbed a shiitake tea from Yunomi for this purpose, and was pretty surprised by this plum kelp tea that Todd found, which apparently is another of the “brothy” variety of teas. I wasn’t so sure about the taste from the description, but I’ll try anything!
I definitely wouldn’t just drink this as a tea — it’s far too savory and salty for that! — but this is actually a really tasty broth! Despite being a thin broth the tea has a very thick mouthfeel because it is very salty. There is a vegetal, seaweed-like note to the tea, but it isn’t overwhelming — it is actually more subtle than the umami seaweed flavor I find in many green teas — and it is quickly chased by a slightly fruity sweet-tart plum note. The sip closes on a salty, soupy broth flavor. This was perfect for ramen noodles, and gave them the salt and flavor they’ve been missing, and I really enjoyed sipping up all the broth afterwards! The little flecks of dried kelp and ume were even a fine garnish on the noodles.
If you are looking for a good “soup” tea, I’d highly recommend this! Just make a cuppa of something else to actually quench your thirst.
Flavors: Broth, Chicken Soup, Plum, Salty, Seaweed, Tart