Do you really like green tea? Lessons from Japan and meeting the locals

Learning to love green tea in Japan

Everyone who knows me well in person knows that I like green tea. Some of my best friends (and yes, this is probably a criteria you need to satisfy to become one of my best friends) buy green tea especially so that they can offer it to me when I visit them. (Love you guys.) But the other day someone asked me a very sensible question:

Do you really like green tea or do you just drink it because it’s healthy?

I know, it’s kind of bitter at first. Maybe even makes your mouth shrink a little bit. But the fact is, I genuinely like green tea. And there’s a story behind that. (Bloggers always have a story!)

Learning Japanese from the Japanese

When I lived in Osaka and Nara, I was always keen to learn the Japanese language. Firstly, because I was living in the country, so it seemed like a smart thing to do, and secondly because once I began, I found it a totally cool language to learn. It was so different to English or German, in pretty much every way, plus I really loved learning to write the different characters. I know, call me crazy, but it was very satisfying!

In my second year there, a colleague introduced me to the most amazing group of volunteers. We met near Ikoma station each Thursday morning, if I remember rightly, and there were about twenty Japanese women (mostly housewives) who had completed a special course in teaching Japanese to foreigners, and we spent the morning learning from them in a one-on-one setting. It was brilliant! My teacher, Sachiko, was perfect and I just loved those lessons.

Japanese treats and green tea

green tea and mochi sweets

Traditional Japanese sweets – mochi – SO delicious!

In the middle of each morning, of course, we would have a morning tea break. These housewives delighted in bringing along various Japanese treats for us to try, and of course, the obligatory drink was very traditional green tea.

What better situation to be forced into drinking a lot of green tea than when a bunch of the nicest ever Japanese women are pressing cup after cup of it into your hands?

Needless to say, a year of Thursday mornings changed my taste buds. I also learnt quite a lot of Japanese, but sadly I haven’t practiced it much and have forgotten so much again. But some lessons stick and one of them is the acquired taste of green tea.

Green tea in the pot

I’m so addicted to green tea these days that I often make it twice a day by the pot full!

 

 So do you really like green tea or do you just drink it because it’s healthy?

So to answer the question, yes, I really like green tea, but I do admit that the reason I often choose it over something else is because it’s healthy (apparently. Hope that’s not disproven any time soon!). Quite often, when I drink it, I really do think back to those mornings with the room full of Japanese housewives. I was so privileged to experience that, very grateful to those lovely ladies, and glad to learn all kinds of lessons from them.

So, my question:

Do YOU like green tea??

 

 

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Comments

  1. I do like green tea, and I don’t drink it as often as I should. I choose English breakfast tea first. But, I got in the habit a few years ago of drinking more green tea…then I got out of the habit. I need to do it again.

  2. I love green tea – we started drinking it a lot when living in China and never stopped….

  3. Love this story…I’m sure your love of green tea continues as you are taken back to that fun time every time you have a cup! How awesome.

    Anyway, I used to like green tea, but admit I haven’t had it for ages!!! I really should…

  4. I’m addicted to the stuff.. I love the ceremonial element (I learned how to make it during a tea ceremony in Japan) and I love the taste. I drink litres of it and have a million varieties. I’m currently sucking back a nice steaming cup made from tea leaves I brought back from Taiwan. YUm x

    • Oh Aleney, a girl after my own heart! Tea ceremony stuff is so cool, complicated but cool. Well, I can certainly pop around to your place sometime and be more than happy 😉

  5. Stefanie Liling Ong says

    I love green tea too, but then again I’m Chinese and quite used to horrible tasting things. I make my green tea by the pot as well, extra think and then strain it into a 1.5L soft drink bottle when cooled, top it up with water to make it drinkable and then into the fridge. I especially love my iced green tea. it’s a must have for those hungover mornings!

  6. I quite enjoyed this article. Good to see there are others out there who can become enthused about green tea! I love going to T2 and getting my latest fix …… need to make that plural as I never walk out with only one tea purchased 🙂

    • Thanks Debi – oh yes, I have the same issue with T2. (They had free shipping online last week and that made it even worse!). My favourite T2 green tea is “green rose” – have you tried it? SO tasty.

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