Friday, December 12, 2014

Is premium bottled tea really premium?

Bekkaku, premium bottled beverage

The price of bottled green tea (500ml) is usually around 150yen. You can get them at supermarkets even for less than 100yen. Kirin introduced a new brand of bottled beverage called Bekkaku. They are highly priced at 216yen for a bottle (375ml). They have green tea, coffee, ginger ale and Chinese tea. For the green tea, they use carefully collected leaves including kabusecha. They use about 2.5 times of amount of leaves than regular products. I would like to know if it is really premium and worth the price.


I could find gentle sweet aroma in green-tea smell. It has a good body with decent umami. It changes into sweet kabuse flavor, leaving a rounded glassy aroma in the after taste. It has a certain bitter taste all the way. I thought that I might be able to notice something special more about this tea if I compare it with other brands.

Comparing with other brands

I tasted the Bekkaku with three major brands, Oi,Ocha, Ayataka and Iyemon. Surprisingly, the bitter flavor of Bekkaku was the strongest among the four. However, it was also rich in other flavors. It was not astringent only, but also I could always relish matured umami and some other flavors behind. Bekkaku is the tea with the most profound flavor. It is the aspect that Bekkaku should be highly evaluated for. My impressions of other teas are as follows.
Oi,Ocha: Rich and distinct, Mouth filing roasted flavor
Ayataka: Well-balanced flavor, Aroma is week but I like it the best among the four.
Iyemon: Smooth with light grassy bitterness.


If the aforementioned teas are served in a small tea cup as you enjoy premium tea, I would be able to find Bekkaku the most flavorful. I found that the other three don’t have the flavor and profoundness that premium teas supposed to have. Bekkaku definitely has a richness in its taste. It’s not bad at all. However, I didn’t find an appealing sensation from it as a premium tea. I wonder if a customer can find Bekkaku significantly delicious when getting a bottle at a convenience store. He might not be able to appreciate its value.    I think it might be tough to develop a new market of premium bottled tea. At least, I am happy to have a new choice and hope some other makers will follow this trend. 

Kirin Bekkaku (Japanese)  >>>


  1. Replies
    1. 文学少女san, Thanks for visiting my blog!!

  2. I am able to have Oi Ocha at a cafe here but have found it tastes slightly roasted and dusty, really it tasted like instant or tea bag tea. Probably plastic bottles adversely affect the tea too and it is more obvious with a delicate green tea. There is the same taste differences with black teas in plastic containers. Often the adverse flavors are disguised with sugar, lemon or other fruit.

    I wonder if these teas would be better really, really, cold over ice cubes. It would be interesting to try Bekkaku. The search goes on!

    1. Hi, Lin-san,
      The bottle for bekkaku is not made of plastic. The bottle is made of some kind of metal. Should I call it can? I’m not sure if can has an advantage regarding the influence on flavor. But, the bottle has a wider opening than plastic bottles. It definitely has an advantage to provide rich aroma when you drinks from it.

  3. Maybe the bitterness was a little too overboard? Maybe that's why you weren't able to appreciate as much as you would a nice cup of high quality sencha brewed in the traditional way.

    1. Thanks for leaving your comment, AngerinDoll-san,
      You may be right. The bitter taste might have disturbed to relish other pleasing flavors.
      It is difficult to impress people with flavors. You have to provide better than what people expect.

  4. What is your take on weight loss teas? I've tried quite a few now, many of them disappointing, especially the bagged versions. I'm starting to think loose leaf is the way to go to get the most out of them. My favourite so far is from a brand called Nude Tea Australia ( they only sell organic loose leaf and each one also comes with a bag of powdered herb concentrate so the tea is super gutsy after it's brewed. I love the ginger/cinnamon flavours, the tea keeps my toilet visits regular and has the bonus of fresh breath all day too haha. So far I've lost about 5 kilos in the last 2 months. Slimming Tea had some good ones too, but they were bagged and I feel lost a little of their potency, although they did taste great. There's some other interesting combo's out there, but a lot of companies seem to find being effective yet still tasting nice hard to balance.

    Let me know any others anyone has had success with as I'm keen to give them a try.

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