Looks can be deceiving15 May, 2010 by Yan
You are not mistaken, the cover picture that you are looking at resembles a Bodhisattva. It is often said that looks can be deceiving, a saying easily applied to the Umecha article that I am covering. The picture above is actually a metal container for Umecha. I randomly picked it up from the Japanese store which I frequently patronize for rather quirky snacks or in this case, weird beverages.
Shiawase Jizou Tougarashi Umecha, which literally translates to “Happy Bodhisattva Chili Flakes Plum Tea”. This rather deceptive looking packaging actually holds a nasty surprise to anyone who is not familiar with the Japanese language. Who actually puts chili flakes in their tea? The cute Bodhisattva packaging made me put my guard down during this purchase of plum tea.
Before I give any feedback on the Umecha, I’d like you to take a look at the pictures I took for the Umecha.
Conveniently, I only noticed the words Plum and Tea while omitting the word chili flakes. I have only myself to blame for not checking the words on the container properly before making this purchase. The very visible chili icon on the label should had also been a dead giveaway, how was I able to miss that?
I did not know that the plum tea contained chili flakes until I brought the stuff home. Upon closer inspection on the list of ingredients, Salt and Amino acids? Oh no! I wondered what atrocities I had done to deserve this. None of the listed ingredients seemed like what you would usually find in a cup of tea.
For such odd ingredients, one could easily have guessed that the taste of this plum tea does not resemble tea in any way. In fact, it tasted more like savory soup with a nice aroma of plums. Strangely, the taste of chili was close to none. It seems that the purpose of the chili flakes were mainly for decoration.
Rather than enjoying the Umecha as a drink, I have since started using it as a base for noodle soup. There is no way to link the taste of this drink to the likes of Oolong or green tea. I can only recommend this tea as a “interesting” present.
The Togarashi Umecha was bought from Nippon-Ya at Ion Orchard, Singapore for SGD$18. Each container contains 13 sachets of powdered Umecha.
Addicted to film, Yan shoots with a black Nikon Fm3a. For special occasions, Yan shoots with a Mamiya Sekor TLR.