“The demands of Japanese green tea as a non-alcoholic beverage are increased not only in household consumption but also restaurant consumption among the sober-curious, a group of people who don’t drink alcoholic beverages or consume fewer of them,” said Zach Mangan, a Japanese green tea specialist and CEO of Kettl.
Many restaurant clients of Kettl, including fine dining restaurants such as Sushi Noz and Sushi Nakazawa, started offering Japanese green tea menus and food pairing menus with Japanese green tea due to the demand. Mangan said, “Japanese green tea offers remarkable texture on the palate with a pleasing depth that easily pairs with both sweet and savory foods due to elevated levels of L-Theanine. Whether brewed hot or cold, Japanese green tea can enhance and inspire the table experience by adding a level of unexpected depth while either contrasting or complementing a dish in the same way wine can.”
Torien, the first international branch of Michelin-starred yakitori bar Torishiki, located in Tokyo Japan, is one such restaurant that offers this tea. The restaurant offers entire Japanese green tea menus as well as tea pairing menus including Japanese green tea. Akio Matsumoto, a sommelier at Torien, mentioned that there are two advantages of including Japanese green tea in drink menus: restaurant perspective and customer perspective.
From a business perspective, even customers who don’t order alcoholic beverages often order from the Japanese green tea menu, which helps retain profit margins because restaurants can maintain average customer spending. From customers’ perspectives, they can be satisfied with a wide range of variations based on their preferences, and special dining experiences with Japanese green tea pairings.
Matsumoto said, “40% of our customers order a single tea item including Japanese green tea, and 10% of them order from the tea pairing menu.” One of the other advantages of offering the menu is the highprofit margin. The cost of preparing Japanese green tea is inexpensive compared to other drinks such as wine and Japanese sake, but the restaurants can offer the menu with decent prices similar to the other drink menu. The average price of a single tea item is in the range of $10-$40 depending on the kind of Japanese green tea and the grade. At Torien, they offer the tea pairing menu at $90-$100.
In order to aim the expansion of the demand, JFOODO, a Japanese government organization promoting Japanese food products to overseas markets, organized Japanese green tea seminars that targeted restaurant owners and beverage managers in Los Angeles and New York City. In the seminar, Mangan explained the fascinating points of Japanese green tea and each unique feature, and Matsumoto described the advantages of offering Japanese green tea at the restaurants and approaches of how to pair foods with Japanese green tea. For more detailed information and the video of the seminar, click here.
This post is sponsored by JFOODO - The Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center