Thank you to Makoto Honjo, co-founder of Saudade Tea, for providing information for this article! Saudade Tea is an organic tea retailer in Tokyo. For more information, visit SaudadeTea.com.
Makoto Honjo and Masahide Minami, Co-Founders of Saudade Tea, aspire to form a bridge between Japan and the world through green tea. But not just any tea, high quality, organically cultivated teas.
The partners have visited tea farms throughout Japan learning about green tea and sampling its many varieties. They felt the need to become connoisseurs to be able to properly select high-quality organic teas that would appeal to people all over the world.
The world has yet to experience authentic Japanese green tea. Japan keeps the majority of its tea for the domestic market, only exporting around 2% to the rest of the world. Up until now, tea retailers in Japan have been satisfied with domestic demand, so there hasn’t been a need to target the international market.
Makoto also describes how the perception of tea outside of Japan is different.
“I went to Singapore a few years ago and ordered green tea in a café, but when I took a sip, I was shocked. I thought I got the wrong tea because it had a lot of sugar. I had never had green tea with sugar in my whole life!”
Organic farming hasn’t really taken off yet in Japan. However, a shift is taking place. The general population supports preserving the natural environment, so it is just a matter of time for education and demand to catch up.
At present, only about 2.5% of Japanese tea production is rated as “organic,” even though the market for organic foods internationally has almost tripled in the past 10 years.
Saudade Tea decided to specialize in organic green tea to contribute to people’s health enhancement, to support farmers who grow their tea without relying on chemical pesticides, and to offer the best quality organic tea to the world.
Similar to wine or coffee, green tea has a lot of variety. It is difficult to know which types of tea you like unless you try many kinds.
Saudade Tea offers loose leaf variety packs, so it is easy to try many teas without the risk of having too much tea or spending a lot of money.
My beautiful box of tea.
The National Cancer Center in Japan conducted a study in the 1990’s showing that the consumption of green tea was associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes, including cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory disease, and injuries.
The study involved 90,914 Japanese people aged 40-69 years old who were followed for over 18 years. On average, the more green tea a person drank, the healthier they were in later years.
Founders Masahide Minami and Makoto Honjo.
Makoto describes his vision for the future.
“Through organically grown tea, we hope to contribute both to the natural environment and to human health. Our vision is to expand the organic green tea market not only in Japan but throughout the world.”
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Saito, E., Inoue, M., Sawada, N., Shimazu, T., Yamaji, T., Iwasaki, M., … Tsugane, S. (2015). Association of green tea consumption with mortality due to all causes and major causes of death in a Japanese population: The Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study (JPHC Study). Annals of Epidemiology, 25(7), 512-518.