Sunday, May 07, 2006

Green Tea Magnate

It hasn't been that long since our last article about green tea and Japan. In fact, its only been two days since this piece about a Japanese firm bringing green tea cafes to the United States.

The (London) Times recently featured an article with the somewhat overblown title, The Man Who Plans To Turn The World Green With Tea. The piece appeared in the business section so I guess that overblown stuff is to be expected.

Anyway, the article would have us believe that one Hachiro Honjo is poised to take bottled green tea and make it the drink of choice worldwide, even going so far as to knock Coca-Cola from its current position of prominence. Well, be sure to lift your feet, as the old saying goes.

Honjo is president of Ito-En, said to be the world's largest green tea maker. He "has waged a relentless campaign in Japan against Coca-Cola", since sometime in the Eighties and the firm's Oi-ocha bottled green tea actually captured the title of top soft drink there recently. Now Honjo has set his sights on the rest of the world and...well...go ahead and read the whole thrilling tale, if you're so inclined.

I've actually tasted one of Ito-En's bottled green teas. I don't know if it's the same as the one under discussion, but I found it quite satisfactory, thanks to the fact that it used a good grade of green tea and was not sweetened - no, not even a little bit.

Now, whether an unsweetened green tea is going to unseat Coke's sickly sweet candied water here on these shores is anyone's guess, but I'm not putting up any money just yet. This is the real world, after all.


Image: Ito-En

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1 comment:

Kevin said...

You'll notice a couple of things about these bottled green teas. First, they usually have green plastic overlay. Second, if you pour them into a clear glass, they're usually not green. Itoen is the biggest tea producer in Japan, but then again, Walmart is the biggest store in the USA. A bottled green tea may be a nice substitute for a cola when you're on the road, but these drinks will never matcha a properly brewed, fresh green tea.