As well as coffee – sake, matcha, shochu, and green tea are all popular beverages in Japan, and each one has its own unique flavour. In this blog post, we will explore the history and flavour profiles of each drink
One of the most popular drinks in Japan is green tea. It has a rich history having been enjoyed in Japan for centuries. It is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant and typically has a light colour, mild aroma, and earthy taste. Green tea is high in antioxidants, making it a great choice for those looking to improve their health. High quality Japanese green teas are naturally sweet and tend to not require sugar to be added.
Matcha has also been enjoyed in Japan for centuries and is known for its numerous health benefits including boosting the immune system, increasing energy levels, and detoxifying the body. It is made from specially grown and processed finely ground green tea leaves and comes in a powdered form. It can be enjoyed with water and consumed hot, but not boiling, or cold, and has a distinct savoury taste. Combine matcha tea with a milk of your choice to create a latte-like drink. In Japan, matcha is used for traditional tea ceremonies, where ceremonial grade matcha of a higher quality is used. Matcha is versatile and can be used to dye and flavour a variety of foods, such as mochi or ice cream.
Ready to drink coffee
In Japan, ready to drink coffee can be found in local stores and vending machines in a number of convenient formats ready for you to drink anywhere. This type of coffee is often sweetened with sugar or milk, giving it a unique flavour profile that many people enjoy. Our founder, Tadao Ueshima, also known as the 'father of coffee' in Japan, invented canned coffee in Japan in the 1960s. Since then, we have held a Guinness World Record for the longest-selling ready-to-drink canned coffee. This type of coffee comes in many different flavours from black coffee to matcha flavoured. Its usually consumed cold, but some vending machines offer heated cans in colder months.
Sake is a traditional Japanese rice wine made from fermented rice, koji and water. It is considered a ‘national drink’ in Japan and can be enjoyed both hot and cold. Sake has a smooth texture and, similar to wine, can have a wide variety of flavours. However, when served hot it allows for more of the flavour profile to be tasted. Sake breweries have a craft concept linked to local production. Regional rice varieties, new rice varieties, the type of water (hard or soft) used in different parts Japan’s varied landscape and yeast varieties all impact sake taste.
Some sake brands like Dassai from Yamaguchi Prefecture are known for their signature 'umami' flavour. Umami is a Japanese term for the savoury taste of food. This sake has a rounded sweetness and slight dryness, which make it one of the popular sake brands in Japan.
Shochu is a distilled liquor dating back to the 16th century made from sweet potatoes, barley or other grains such as rice. However, it can also be produced from many other ingredients such as chestnuts or even carrots. It has a powerful flavour enjoyed best on its own or mixed with soda water, juice, or in cocktails. Its flavours have been compared to a vodka-whiskey hybrid.
For more tips to help you in your pursuit of coffee perfection, or to learn to make other drinks like a coffee tonic, visit our coffee blog.