Ippodo Tea Co.: A Taste of Ancient Kyoto
Ippodo Tea Co. | A Taste of Ancient Kyoto
The renowned tea merchant Ippodo Tea Co. has been serving premium Japanese green tea in the ancient city of Kyoto for three centuries. Located on the historic Teramachi street – just south of the Imperial Palace, Ippodo originated as a seller of Japanese tea and ceramics in 1717, and was later blessed by the imperial family with the name Ippodo: ‘the preserved one’. Ippodo’s expert tea growers cultivate their finest tea leaves in Kyoto’s Uji, a region long-reputed for its tea production. The result is an authentic flavor that delicately blends the rich umami taste with a refined sweetness. Imbued with each brew is the concept of ichi-go ichi-e (meaning: one opportunity, one encounter), a wisdom taught in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony that embraces each fleeting moment with tea.
In the picturesque and idyllic mountains of Uji, lies some of the finest and oldest tea fields in Japan. It is here, in the heart of two river basins and the neighbouring misty hills, that the high-grade tea leaves are freshly harvested during spring. Drawing from 300 years of expertise, Ippodo’s labor-intensive production process involves carefully handpicking, shade growing and stone grounding the tea leaves which gives them their full-bodied and umami-filled flavour.
In keeping with the imperial family’s wishes, Ippodo continues to preserve Japanese tea traditions to this day. Ippodo is also dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the art of Japanese green tea in modern day life. Their wide-ranging selection of teas each come with their own unique brewing techniques and we have brought together a selection of four classic Ippodo teas to suit every occasion.
A high-grade, powdered form of green tea made from shade cultivated and stone grounded tea leaves. Characterised by its full-bodied and umami rich flavour, matcha is reputed for being high in antioxidant qualities such as catechin. Matcha is typically prepared in the tradition of a Japanese tea ceremony by whisking the fine powder in a bowl with a chasen (traditional bamboo whisk).
From high grade to regular sencha for daily drinking, this non-powdered form of green tea is the most commonly consumed tea in Japan. Sencha is made from brewing the entire tea leaves which are steamed, dried and rolled - resulting in a smooth texture that is both savoury and mildly sweet. Depending on the brewing technique, the variety of notes present in sencha can be intensified to suit your tasting needs.
Hojicha is a type of bancha (meaning coarse or common tea), made from roasting green tea at a high temperature. Hojicha has a unique dark amber tone and a smoky aroma that is both light in taste and low in caffeine, making it ideal for daily drinking.
Genmaicha is a type of bancha that is made from a mixture of roasted brown rice and sencha. Characterised by a toasted, nutty flavour with an aroma akin to popcorn, it is also naturally sweet and without astringent qualities. Genmaicha is also very easy to prepare and recommended for drinking before or after a meal.