SHIZUOKA -- A beverage maker here that produced the tea served at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima in May will launch 375-milliliter bottled teas for 5,400 yen (roughly $40) apiece on June 28
Benefitea Ltd., based in the city of Shizuoka's Aoi Ward, has created the high-end beverage using tea leaves produced in the city. The tea farmers are hoping that high-income imbibers around the world will take to the tea like wine.
For the G7 summit, drinks including the company's "Kawane tea" were selected and served at hotels where world leaders stayed plus other venues. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Benefitea has created three types of bottled tea using a proprietary extraction technique that maximizes the umami and aroma without any cloying taste: "sencha" green tea; "kabusecha," whose tea plants are covered with cloth before leaves are harvested; and "wakocha" Japanese black tea.
President Hiroyasu Nishizawa said, "The ranking system of bottled teas has not been established yet. We have created these products with the hope that they will become standard."
"This is a flavor that can be introduced to the world," said Shizuoka Mayor Takashi Namba, who tasted the teas on June 8. He jokingly added, "Because these are so delicious, if they become the standard, it will be hard for subsequent teas to follow."
The three types of tea will be available at the Matsuzakaya department store's Shizuoka branch in the city's Aoi Ward until July 4, and on Benefitea's online shop (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Koichi Tanno, Shizuoka Bureau)