SHIZUOKA, Aug. 2 – How about choosing your favorite temperature to roast green tea leaves, or enjoying green tea made with an espresso maker?
In an effort to spread green tea among young people who tend to drink coffee at cafés, tea dealers of Shizuoka Prefecture, a major tea producing region, are coming up with new ways of serving green tea.
Maruzen Tea Roastery
Last year, Maruzen Seicha Co. Ltd., a tea dealer in the city of Shizuoka, opened a green tea café in the city center full of coffee shops. Maruzen Tea Roastery lets customers choose the temperature to roast tea leaves from five different degrees between 80 and 200 degrees Celcius.
Green tea made from leaves roasted at high temperatures has a deep-roasted aroma, while tea made from leaves roasted at low temperatures tastes refreshing and sweet. The tea leaves are roasted by experts at a roastery adjacent to the café.
Green tea served at the café, priced at 500 yen a cup, is made from locally-produced, high-grade tea leaves. Each cup of tea is brewed after the café receives orders to offer tea at its best. The café also serves a variety of gelato made from green tea using leaves roasted at different temperatures, as well as matcha (powdered tea) and aracha (unrefined tea) which are made from unroasted leaves.
“We hope customers can experience the joy of tea by comparing the differences in color and taste,” said Maruzen Seicha President Katsutoshi Furuhashi.
Chagama, a café run by a local tea dealer Marumo Mori Co. Ltd., serves sencha (green tea) and hojicha (roasted green tea) extracted using espresso machines. Usually, about 2 or 3 grams of tea leaves are used to make a cup of green tea, but the café uses more than 10 grams of leaves to make a cup of green tea espresso with strong taste and flavor.
The espresso, served in a shot glass, is priced at 324 yen. Tea leaves, as well as green tea latte and green tea brewed in teapots, are available for takeout.
“I took the first sip and it was strong,” said a man who tasted the espresso. “You will be surprised if you drink it thinking it’s green tea.”
Green tea vs. coffee
According to estimates made by national tea industry associations based on government statistics, domestic green tea consumption totaled 79,710 tons in 2016, maintaining a downward trend from 116,823 tons in 2004.
On the other hand, domestic consumption of coffee has been increasing every year. According to All Japan Coffee Association statistics, domestic consumer intake of coffee stood at 472,535 tons of raw beans in 2016, showing an upward trend since 2011, thanks to the recent popularity of freshly brewed coffee served at convenience stores.