Posts Tagged ‘tea’

Warm up with these winter drinks trends

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Hot Calpis

Hot beverages in cans or pet bottles are one of the best things about winter in Japan. Warming up your hands as well as your tummy, they’re a great way to beat the cold during this setsuden (power saving) winter. Sold in vending machines or heated displays in convenience stores, product lineups are ever-evolving and this year is no different. Here’s a quick look at what’s trending:

Hot Calpis: Stop sniggering. We know what the name sounds like. Unpleasant connotations aside, this sweet milky drink has been popular as a cooling beverage for years in Japan. Released on the market on Nov. 7, the heated version is milder than the summer drink and a dash of honey gives it a nice wintry touch. It’s one several products added to Calpis’ winter range of heated drinks. Another is Hot Fruits au Lait, a milky blend of sweet fruit juices.

Suntory Iemon Green Espresso

Suntory Iemon Green Espresso: Matcha in a black can for manly men; Suntory is targeting businessmen who would normally warm up with a hot can of coffee. The product has been reasonably successful, according to Nikkei Trendy: During the first month of sales after its launch in September, 600,000 cases of the stuff were sold. The espresso part refers to the fact that this is very strong, gritty green tea, just like the kind made for tea ceremonies. Containing 20 mg of caffeine in every 100 ml, it’s just the thing to give hard workers a boost.

We see some similarities to a product Georgia launched last year. X Green Tea Style Coffee does exactly what is says on the tin, i.e. blending together green tea with coffee. The product also contains sugar and cream and we reckon is the natural, if not mouthwatering, progression on from the popularity of the matcha latte.

Kirin Poppo Cha

Kirin Poppo Cha: Ginger is very much in style at the moment. According to J-Cast, hot ginger drinks have been trending, especially among women, over the past few years. Asahi Newspaper also reports that ginger is trending as a health food. Some women are even carrying around tubes of grated ginger to add to meals as the seasoning is thought to improve circulation and prevent colds.

A non-caffeinated blended tea with a dash of ginger, Kirin’s Poppo Cha is just one of many products on the market. In October, Calpis also released a hot ginger drink onto the market and this year Ginger Chai from Nagatanien has become more widely available in conveninece stores throughout the country following on from its success as a mail order product.

You want that green tea to go?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Twist, shake and drink: Karatsuya's bottles of Marugoto Rokucha Benifuuki come with tea powder in the cap

Hot black tea may be the ultimate make-anywhere beverage — what’s easier to carry than a tea bag? But green tea is almost always made in Japan from loose tea, the leaves either dried for basic rokucha or powdered as matcha. This requires a small pot with a filter, or, at the least, a mesh strainer. As the centerpiece of the tea ceremony, matcha usually comes packaged in a pretty – but not particularly pocket-friendly tin. Don’t tell the nice lady who taught you about the traditional tea ceremony, but there’s a movement afoot for tea that is shaken, not stirred.

Some new kinda kick: Green Tea Espresso from Birouen

Manufacturers at this year’s international food trade show Foodex had a few solutions for making fresh green tea on the go. Green Tea Espresso, on shelves this spring, comes in six single-serving envelopes of intense powdered tea packaged in a plastic cup with a domed lid, a cross between a coffee cup and a martini shaker. Shake a packet of the powder with some milk and ice, and you’re good to go.  Don’t expect the syrupy green tea latte you find in convenience stores or coffee chains – this stuff has a bitter kick. “Just like only a small percentage of coffee drinkers like espresso, we only expect a small percentage of people who like green tea to like this,” said a Birouen rep as he whipped up a batch at Foodex. “But those who like it, really like it.”

Karatsuya has another shake-and-go tea option that’s a little milder. Despite the delicate sakura petals on the bottle, Marugoto Rokucha Benifuuki [whole leaf benifuuki tea] has just a touch of a chem-lab feel to it. It’s a bottle of spring water from Kirishima in Kyushu with a dose of powdered green tea sealed into the cap. A strong twist releases the powder into the bottle. Shake and drink for dark, cold green tea that’s always freshly made. The company claims that using the entire leaf doesn’t waste the vitamins, fiber and allergy-fighting properties that get left behind in brewed tea. To combat hangovers, another type has liquid turmeric extract (ukon) in the lid.

Sukidaccha's pen-like containers for powdered tea

The Sukidaccha portable tea containers look like fat magic markers, but they’re actually is filled with powdered tea, which can be release via a soft rubber opening. One pen can hold enough powdered tea for about 24 cups. It comes in a variety of teas, such as oolong and rooibos. The container can be bought by retailers in lots starting at 500 units and filled and decorated as they like, so keep an eye out for pens with original decorations and fillings.

A representative from Asahara Manufacturing pointed out that it doesn’t have to be used just for Japan’s most traditional drink. In addition to various powdered beverages (caramel hot cocoa, for example), he said it will be sold filled with spicy wasabi salt by Tamuraya. Just be careful not to mix it up with the tea, OK?

Click for more treats from Foodex 2011 …

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