What is Umeshu?
Umeshu is a traditional Japanese liqueur made from ume fruit. A perfect balance between ume extract and alcohol is achieved by aging the whole fruit, with the stone still inside.
The addition of alcohol to the fruit during production means that the ume flavour can be extracted not only from the flesh and skin but also from the stone. It is this process which gives CHOYA Umeshu its unique fruity bouquet, with notes of almond and marzipan.
The delicious tang of Umeshu comes from citric acid in the fruit, and the refreshing flavour stimulates the appetite. Umeshu also contains malic and succinic acid. Refresh yourself by enjoying a glass of Umeshu when feeling tired.
Commitment 1: Nothing Artificial
CHOYA does not use any artificial additives in any of our products, such as acidulants, flavourings, or colourings.
As the leading producer of Umeshu, we are committed to the pursuit of unfailingly high quality and authenticity in all our products.
It takes at least one year of aging to produce CHOYA Umeshu. This careful maturation ensures that the essential ingredients can be fully extracted from the ume fruit. Our slow aging process allows CHOYA to produce authentic Umeshu with the best possible taste and aroma every time.
Commitment 2: Quality Always
Japan has four distinct seasons, each of which is essential for a rich ume harvest.
CHOYA uses only a few varieties of Japanese ume from the several hundred which exist in Japan today.
Nanko-ume, from Wakayama, is a premium variety with plump flesh and high acidity, making it particularly suitable for Umeshu production. Thanks to the decades of experience and expertise in ume cultivation shared by our Japanese farmers, at CHOYA we can be sure we are using only the highest quality ume fruit in the world.
These two commitments are at the very heart of the CHOYA philosophy. They are what drives the CHOYA team to continually strive to deliver the ultimate in authentic and delicious Umeshu, made with devotion, to you.
Ume is not plum
Ume (scientific name: Prunus mume Sieb. et Zucc.) is often mistaken for plum (scientific name: Prunus domestica L.), which is in the same group, namely Rosaceae Prunus. However, these two fruits have very different characteristics.
Ume has an acid content of 4-5%, compared to the 1-2% acidity found in plum. As ume fruit ripens, the level of citrus acid in the fruit overtakes that of other organic acids. The flesh and skin contains polyphenol (a kind of antioxidant compound found in plants), the amount of which increases as the fruit matures. In addition, the fruit contains multiple amino acids and other organic acids, such as citric acid. Our studies also indicate that GABA(Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, an amino acid that serves as a neurotransmitter within the central nervous system) may be produced from glutamine.
Throughout Japanese and Chinese history, there have been various medicinal uses for ume. In Japan, for example, there is a proverb which states that ume can kill three kinds of poisons: those in food, water, and blood.
Umeshu is not actually wine
Wine is fermented alcohol but umeshu is distilled alcohol. As umeshu is a distilled alcohol, it does not have an expiry date and can be stored after opening without affecting the taste. On the other hand, wine oxidize upon opening and the taste may turn sourish after some time.