A Tea Addict's Journal

Live from Japan

August 7, 2007 · 4 Comments

Here I am, sitting in Narita waiting for my connection to Taiwan. After having sat through a 13 ride from Chicago (itself a good hour from Columbus, plus transfer), I now have another hour before my flight leaves and I can have the pleasure of sitting through another 4 hours to get to Taipei. Fun.

We did actually see a little scenery on the way today, contrary to most such trips which can be just… boring

After getting here in Narita, the first order of business was to get a little ramen, which was nice enough. Nothing like a little warm soup plus some noodles to fix your belly. Then I decided to get some tea… some bottled Japanese green.

Made by, guess what, Coca Cola company.

No, it’s not sweetened. It’s 100% Japanese tea, as it advertises, with no natural or artificial flavours either. Just tea and water (and vitamin C — they always add a little of that). It also advertises that it uses some specially farmed tea, although it is really more just like “uses balanced soil and healthy inputs…” kind of advertisement. Besides, there’s only 10% of the leaves that uses this method. The other stuff… is probably just junk green tea.

Most of these bottled green teas taste quite nutty and I honestly can’t tell between one or the other, unless it’s got “flavourings” in them, in which case they taste odd and is noticeable right away. I suppose the fact that they advertise they use 100% Japanese green tea means that when a bottle doesn’t say so, it uses green tea from other places, most likely China. Even something form Shizuoka is probably too nice for such bottled tea. I can’t imagine it using other than the lowest grade possible, brewed in such a way as to avoid bitterness and getting as muc hof its natural sweetness and flavour as possible. I always wonder how such places look like — do they brew them in big vats? How hot is the water? How long? What happens in these factories?

The sweetened stuff is positively nasty, and unfortunately, in the States that’s pretty much the only ones available. Once in a while you’ll find the Itoen teas that are not sweetened, but only in major cities and usually in some expensive markets. This bottle is 150 yen — about $1.25. Not too bad for a quick fix.

Onward to Taiwan…

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4 responses so far ↓

  • HobbesOxon // August 7, 2007 at 4:56 am | Reply

    *Mumbles something about liberal arts students.*

    Have a safe trip! I look forward to reading about Taiwan.



  • Anonymous // August 7, 2007 at 1:08 pm | Reply

    Here in Oregon we are fortunate, or unfortunate–however you look at it–that we can get these bottled teas from the far east at a couple places. One being Uwajimaya and another being Fu Bon.  Both of these stores, located in the Portland Metro area, are Kroger/Safeway style and sized supermarkets with nothing but authentic asian consumables. 

    I have actually tried Saori.  It didn’t make much of an impact on me.  What I usually do now when I travel is take a bit of macha in a film canister that I can mix with bottled water both on the plane and in the terminal.  It ain’t ideal, but it certainly is better than the bottled sweet stuff you speak.

    Have a great trip!


  • MarshalN // August 7, 2007 at 1:56 pm | Reply

    I usually won’t get Saori, but there was no Itoen vending machine (Japanese are big on vending machines) and no store was selling it either

  • stevendodd // August 18, 2007 at 6:46 pm | Reply

    The vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is added as a preservative. It’s handy stuff.

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