Tea Tasting in Tokyo

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take a brief trip to Japan, where I was able to visit a a few teahouses. I even paid a visit to a tea farm in Shizuoka, which I'll detail in a separate post!

Each tea house I visited had its own style and methods of preparation. I loved getting a little bit of inspiration from each place.

Here's a quick roundup:

1. Cha Cha no Ma

Cha Cha no Ma is tucked away on a small street in Omotesando, away from the busier parts of Harajuku. The staff spoke limited English, but they did have an English menu available. Tea tastings are by request.

For my tea-tasting experience, I chose sencha, a type of green tea made with whole tea leaves. I enjoyed five different preparations, but before that, I got to nibble on some raw tea leaves.

Highlight: Sipping on sakuya sencha cold brew from a wine glass. 

Raw green tea leaves at Cha Cha no Ma

Kyusu teapot, used for brewing green tea

Sakuya sencha cold brew

2. Aoyama Flower Market Tea House

Located in the fashionable Aoyama district, this greenhouse-like tea house boasts femininity and elegance, which isn't very hard with florals and tea!

They specialize in herbal flower teas. To give you a taste, one of their signature teas is Ispahan, a green and black tea blend mixed with violet and rose.

I ordered a fresh herbal tea made with rosemary, lemongrass and mint. It was light, delicate and bursting with fresh flavors.

I also tried their rose granola parfait, which featured a lovely serving of rose jelly. For you rose lovers, this is definitely the dessert for you!

Highlight: The pink Dahlia flowers in the windowsill helped create the perfect tea-tasting atmosphere.

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House in Tokyo

"Refreshing blend" with fresh rosemary, lemongrass and mint

Rose granola parfait from Aoyama Flower Market Tea House

3. Tokyo Saryo

Ever try drip sencha? If not, head to Tokyo Saryo, located in Sendagaya, Shibuya. This green tea shop is fairly new to the neighborhood, but it seems to be doing quite well. The owner expressed an interest in expanding to the U.S., starting with the East Coast.

Minimalists will appreciate the simple, white decor, which adds to the sweet and simple experience. After I was seated, I was given a map, which details each tea's level of bitterness, umami and sweetness. The teas are presented side-by-side so that you can easily compare them.

Reservations recommended.

Highlight: After the tea tasting, the host asked me to choose which tea I preferred and sprinkled a special batch of genmai (roasted brown rice) over it, creating a fresh genmaicha. The presentation was absolutely stunning!

Tokyo Saryo tea map

Personalized tea tasting in progress

Side-by-side sencha presentation. L: Z1 with genmai, R: Yamanami

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