In Japan, the flavor of green tea is as prevalent as vanilla in the United States. Green tea or matcha flavor is in EVERYTHING, from donuts to noodles and everything in between. Our group of tea lovers has excitedly tried a number of new treats on our five-day tea journey of Japan and haven’t been disappointed yet.
Green tea’s popularity is not surprising given Japan’s intertwined relationship between tea and culture. Nearly every historical place we’ve visited includes tea as part of its rich history. We learned how Buddhist monks began incorporating tea into their daily life to keep them focused throughout their prayers way back in the 9th century. We learned how samurai warriors would drink tea before battle. And we learned how a geisha’s evening of entertainment, even today, begins with a tea ceremony. Tea touches just about every cultural aspect of Japanese life, and has for many centuries. And with Japan’s fondness for culinary innovations, it’s no surprise that green tea has made its way into so many snacks, treats and dishes.
Green tea is a vital part of today’s food scene in Japan. Every meal we’ve had has included tea, primarily at the end. For one lunch, we all had hot noodle dishes, so the chef made sure we were served iced green tea at the end to balance the meal’s temperatures. At others, we were served more roasted genmaicha style green teas that paired well with the various foods. You may have to ask for a glass of water with your meal, but green tea will always be included.