Assi Brand Instant Plum Tea

Posted in 2.5 Wasabi Pea Rating, Beverage at 12:40 am by Boo

This interesting JSF came by the way of MomQ via a friend of hers (with a couple other snacks which will appear forthwith at a future time). When I first read the package I thought, “Oooo, plum tea!” but then I was all “Eh, tea. It’s not really a snack food is it? Certainly not so much from the Asian realm so maybe I’ll just have some on account sometime.” Then I noticed that these were instant honeyed plum teas and that was just too cool.

Instant honeyed plum tea that has, in fact, no tea in it whatsoever. So I’m not sure what that’s about but it is amusing.

Later I was informed that powered tea isn’t all that since Lipton makes powered iced tea already, but this isn’t meant to make iced tea but hot tea. Well *I* think it’s cool anyway so I reviewed it.

The box contains about ten (give or take) packets such as this fella. They are a little bit bigger than the standard tea packets (possibly about 3-4 more millimeters of package on each side) and they rattle nicely with the dried tea “crystals”. Heh. Tea crystals. The directions say to pour hot water over the crystals (in the cup…although I suppose you don’t strictly have to use a cup), stir and enjoy.

The resulting tea tastes a little like that Japanese plum wine but without the alcohol. Assi’s honeyed plum tea is indeed sweet with the honey and tart with the plum and also thicker than tea ought to be. Which is quite OK since there isn’t any tea in the packets anyway. Still, the honeyed plum tea drink when poured in a standard tea sized mug (shown above) is a bit thick and syrupy.

It’s also plumy tart in a way that real plums kinda aren’t. Maybe it’s a green plum flavor. I don’t know; my plums are usually nicely ripe and purple. I farmed off a packet to one of the Guinea Pig regulars and she said, “It’s very sweet, and tangy. It has the same plum flavor as plum wine — not a flavor I associate with actual plums I buy at the Farmer’s Market, but probably as close to real plum taste as grape flavor is to real grape taste.” My tea Pig noted that the tea had a bit of a smokiness to it, as did I, but we don’t exactly agree on when in the tea drinking the smoky comes in. I think that the hot honeyed tea is more smoky than the cool plum tea but not my tea Pig. She recommends drinking the tea hot rather than cold. I liked it better cold. My favorite Guinea Pig didn’t like it at all.

My tea Pig also said, “It’s not unpleasant at all, but I’m not sure I would seek it out regularly. It would work as part of an Asian-themed meal if you wanted to offer an Asian tang or Kool-Aid. Douglas Adams would be vindicated by this beverage, which is almost, but not quite, completely unlike tea. Which is fair, as the packaging never claimed to contain any tea in the first place.” Hee. Kool-Aid. Also…pretty fair description of the drink in a nut shell.

I’m going to give Assi Brand Instant Plum Tea a 2 pea rating with an extra half pea for the novelness (for me) of a hot tea concentrate…containing no tea.

Rating of 2.5 wasabi peas out of a possible 5 wasabi peas.


  1. Iris Cunningham said,

    July 31, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    hi, I read with interest your review of the Japanese plum tea as my husband brought me an interesting item that was sold to him as Japanese Plum Tea. It tastes like anything but! This item comes in a pretty tin with a figure of a Japanese person on it stylized and pretty in pastel colours. But the writing is all in Japanese so i cannot read it. The inside has a number of pink sachets of a powdered “tea” with tiny little pink fragments amongst the egg-shell white coloured powder. However, the tea is disgusting to say the least unlike anything i have ever tasted. It is SALTY! and when made with hot water, the granules eventually go fuzzy, like tiny bits of pale green coloured fluff. it has a very strange smell, almost like fresh-cut grass but with an odd scented twist. Not sure if you can help or have seen anything like it before.
    thanks and regards, Iris

  2. Boo said,

    July 31, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Iris! Welcome to the JSFR. I can’t say that I’ve heard of tea like you describe but the saltiness rings a bell. The Japanese will eat salted plum (I don’t’ know why, maybe they have a more refined palate than I do) so I wonder if you got some salted plum tea. I did a review of salted plum candy here so if you still have the tin you might be able to see if the characters are similar. The character for plum is the second character down which kinda looks like a profile of a witch peaking through a window with some sort of awning treatment (ume). It might also be a green or white tea (which would explain the grass clipping smell). I’ve never run into a salty green tea thing though. I did find a fun site that might help figure some things out: Kanji translations.

  3. rufe said,

    January 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Japanese plum is indeed a different plum than the American type. The greenish yellow color is not because it isn’t ripe.

    The only salty tea I know of is Sakura (cherry blossom) “tea”, which is usually pink with a terrible taste. It’s considered festive, but I don’t really know anybody who actually likes the stuff…..

  4. Michael said,

    July 25, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    This is Korean Plum Tea. You can buy it in some korean grocery stores in North America. I don’t know if it’s popular or not in Japan.
    Rufe is right. Chinese (asian) plum is different from occidental plum.

  5. Hokie said,

    October 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    This “tea” is indeed Asian plum flavored and not the type of plums that you would typically find in America. I have read that the Asian plum is more closely related to the apricot. I really like this tea but I think it is an acquired taste as many of my “guinea pigs” don’t like it either. It does have a bit of a sour note to it and I think that to some people it tastes a bit metallic. However, if you like the flavor it’s a nice drink on a chilly evening since it doesn’t actually contain tea leaves so is caffeine free. If I am making a large mug I will use the entire packet of granules but if I make a normal-sized tea cup I don’t use the full packet to avoid that syrup-y-ness mentioned in the review.

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