Say what you like about our local supermarket, (and I do have plenty to say, and not all of it complementary), but somebody there has their finger on the pulse.
At some point fairly recently, that certain someone must have noticed that our neighbourhood now boasts three thriving sushi joints, and decided that it was about time that they themselves got a piece of that action.
As part of a fairly major in-store makeover, they moved a lot of the freezer cabinets back to the wall, thereby freeing up a lot of floor space. They utilised a fair chunk of this by building their own, in-house sushi bar.
I hadn’t paid this new venture of theirs a lot of notice seeing as I am not the greatest fan of seafood even when it’s cooked, let alone if it’s raw, but the other day I just happened to notice that they were selling tetra-paks of Japanese green tea, namely the subject of this post.
As I understand it, Oi Ocha is a range of bottled teas produced by Ito En. This particular product seems to be one made for the domestic market, however, judging by the fact that it doesn’t appear on the Oi Ocha English language website, and virtually all the text on the packaging is in Japanese.
That in itself is really interesting – this tea is more likely to be “the real deal“, rather than something played around with to fit more into Western expectations and tastes. I think it’s quite telling, for example, that the Western packaging seems to need to make use of the word “unsweetened“…
Presumably to meet with Swedish labelling regulations the importers have made a food declaration sticky label, that lists the ingredients as water, green tea, and vitamin C.
The 250 ml sized tetra-pak comes with a handy telescopic plastic straw, easily long enough to enable you to get to every last drop.
The initial taste impression here is one of sweet garden peas, with a secondary layer to the vegetal theme in the form of asparagus and broccoli.
It would be interesting to know more about the cultivar used and how it was processed, as this beverage lacks that marine, fresh taste of the sea typical of a lot of Japanese green teas.
There’s a slight grassy, astringent nip, but it’s always sat behind that sweet thing, and never dominant or pushy. I guess if you were expecting some sort of syrupy, sugar loaded drink, even that might be a bit much, but it probably won’t be if you prefer to take your tea au naturel.
I see this little tetra-pak coming in extremely handy during the summer. I might just have a fair few of them sat in the fridge, chilled and ready for quaffing on our balcony under the sun shade, or for dropping into a rucksack for an impromptu lunch-time beach or park picnic.