Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Are bottled teas real tea?

Is bottled or canned green tea popular in your country? Have you tried them? The first canned green tea in Japan was released in 1985. Now bottled teas have become widely accepted in contemporary life style. Some young households do not even have a teapot. They don’t prepare tea at home. They just buy brewed ones from supermarkets or at convenience stores.

Konnichiwa, it’s meヽ(^。^)ノ This weekend I joined a workshop for tea instructors and advisers. This time, we learned about canned and bottled green tea.

So, do you think bottled teas are real tea? Are they artificial tea?

Before that, what is real tea?

Yes, maybe the tea prepared with tea leaves and a teapot can be called real tea. Then, do you know how bottled teas are made?

** How bottled tea is made **
1. Extracting tea leaves
2. Filtration
3. Blending (To produce stable quality of bottled teas, tea concentrate is extracted and then it’s diluted)
4. Sterilization
5. Bottling and capping
6. Cooling

After attending the workshop, my understanding of bottled tea is that they are real. It is because bottled tea is made of extracted essence of tea leaves. Have you looked at the ingredients shown on the label of bottled tea? It usually says that the main ingredient is TEA.   There are some things in common and different between bottled teas and brewed teas. I’ll talk about it on the next entry. Jah!


  1. You are lucky to have this kind of bottled real tea in Japan - in Europe, most of the products sold as "tea" in bottles actually never seen a bit of real tea (or have tea content about 0,01%), they're just full of chemicals, aromas, colorants and things like that and therefore taste like... something very sweet, fruity and not refreshing at all.
    Luckily, there are some real teas in bottles sold nowadays, especially thanks to specialized Asian-food stores, but the offering is still (predictably) much worse than what you have in Japan. Even though, I find some of the locally available Japanese bottled teas really enjoyable and refreshing, especially in hot summer days :-)

  2. I love this bottles. My favourite is definitively the one made from Genmaicha. So refreshing during summer.

    I remember being amazed to find hot tea bottles. They were not so bad.

    It is good to know that all of this is made from real tea.

  3. Hello Kohei!
    I agree with Micha Tallo but I think it is not so big problem in whole Europe. I think this is a problem of the countries which are not absorbing tea culture yet and "Tea" as life style there is non-existing. It is so sadly true but there is comparison between constitution of your real bottled green tea and between constitution of "green tea" available here in Slovakia...
    Your green tea: Extract of tea leaves, water, maybe some preservatives and stabilizers,...
    Our "green tea": Extract of tea leaves (cca 0,2 %), fruit juice (apple, apricot, orange, etc. - cca 0,1 %), water, sugar, regulators, aromas, usually citric and ascorbic acid, sodium citrate,... (otherwise).
    There is no chance to buy real bottled or canned green tea in commercial, usual stores, markets and supermarkets. There we known only about commercial products for example of Coke company (Nestea). So ordinary people there have no chance to drink real and good green tea from bottle. And yes, there is possibility to buy something good in the special stores with Asian food. But this is only about coincidence and not the rule. So we can only envy...

  4. Hi Kohei!
    Thank you for your informative entry!
    I had the same question about bottled teas in Japan too. Glad that they are real teas because I was kinda doubting it a little because of the shelf life of the bottled teas. I never really did try storing fresh tea in a bottle before though. I also see Ascorbic Acid added into the teas in bottled teas, so i deem that as a preservative to keep them fresh?
    I miss the Japanese bottled teas as they contain no sugar. The bottled teas in my area, are full of sugar and i hate sugared tea... But thank goodness there's Japanese supermarkets around, so i can grab these japanese bottled tea when i'm out and about!

  5. Hi, Michal-san, David-san, Tomáš and jun.-san

    I see … it seems difficult in other countries to find the same kind of bottled green tea we have here. I guess I need to realize how lucky we are^^.
    When I visited to the US about two decades ago, I found bottles of green tea at a convenience store and grabbed one from the shelf. Without checking the label carefully, I poured it straight down my throat. “What!!” I was so shocked. I as Japanese never thought that sweetened green tea exists. Hahaah…

  6. I tried bottled green tea yesterday, tasted close enough to what I'd brew from loose leaves to surprise me. The bottled tea in England indeed only has around 0.001% tea which is pathetic. The bottled tea I had yesterday tasted pretty legit.

    1. It is interesting to learn that you can find the bottled tea with 0.0001% tea in England as well as the legit one (^-^)

  7. I realize this is a very old thread but, if it is possible you should read this http://ameblo.jp/marijulog/entry-11678667505.html
    It is basically a blog, but it describes the process of how bottled teas are made in japan. You could call it tea.. or a drink made from tea and chemicals from china... lol :)

    1. Thank you for sharing the link!! I was aware that they contain vitamin C. However, I didn’t know that monosodium glutamate are also used. When I wrote this post, only one bland out of four major brands indicated some kinds of chemicals for flavor on their ingredient list and others didn’t. I wonder if they don’t have a responsibility to indicate those chemicals on the list.

  8. マイリンガー・ユーMay 27, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    I'm happy to see that my favorite bottled tea is in your picture. Whenever I'm thirsty in Japan the one on the far right is my first choice. For some reason when I was in the Kansai area I would occasionally prefer the second from the right (生茶) - maybe its related to the hotter temperatures during that time.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi, マイリンガーさん
      I prefer 生茶 when I’m thirsty, too! It’s mild and has nice aroma. I’ll pick おーいお茶 or 伊右衛門 for meal. It has richer flavor with bitterness.
      Thanks for your comment!

  9. Hello,

    Are any of the bottled teas above offered without the addition of vitamin C? I love bottled green tea but most contain a massive dose of vitamin C and give me an upset stomach!

    1. Hi, Joseph-san, Thanks for leaving comment. Unfortunately, all of them contain vitamin C. Vitamin C is added to prevent the tea from oxidation and keep it fresh. It seems a must-have ingredient for bottled green tea.

    2. Thank you for your reply. Oi Ocha is the worst one for me as it contains roughly 400% of daily Vitamin C - I get an upset stomach every time I drink this tea. I've recently found a bottled green tea from Singapore called Pokka that contains only trace amounts of vitamin C. If it occurs to you the next time you purchase any of the teas above please look for me to see if any of them contain only trace amounts of Vitamin C. I would be very grateful to find a proper Japanese bottled tea that contains very little Vitamin C.

    3. In Japan, you can know the ingredients from the label but it doesn’t say its amount or percentage. I also checked the webpages of the makers but there is no indication of the amount of ingredients. It's a surprise to know that Oi Ocha contains 400% of daily Vitamin C. Thanks for the information!

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