Not just any green tea is good enough to become Daijinsho Matcha ice cream.
As such an integral part of Japan’s beverage culture, green tea usually isn’t prohibitively expensive. Grocery store cooler sections are stocked with plastic bottles of pre-made green tea that sell for 100 yen (US$0.90) or less. However, if you’re looking to splurge, you can go to dedicated tea shops that offer high-end tea leaves, on a per-cup basis, cost a dozen times as much.
Likewise, in most cases, a scoop of matcha ice cream won’t set you back any more than a scoop of chocolate or vanilla. But one green tea ice cream specialist in Shizuoka Prefecture is about to roll out an ultra-premium green tea ice cream, pictured above, for 1,800 yen (US$16.20) a scoop.
Tea producer Oyaizu Seiichi decided to diversify by opening a cafe in 2006. As you might expect, it offers a variety of tea-flavored ice creams, including matcha, hojicha, and jasmine and Darjeeling teas.
Single scoops are normally priced at 360 yen, but this month Oyaizu Seiichi is introducing its Daijinsho (“Minister’s Award”) Matcha. The special ice cream uses tencha, a type of green tea grown in the shade before the leaves are steamed, dried, and completely removed of stems, stalks, and veins before being stone-ground. Oyaizu Seiichi’s tencha was awarded the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister’s Award at the most recent iteration of the National Tea Products Awards, and the Daijinsho Matcha ice cream makes generous use of this up-market ingredient.
However, as you might guess from the exacting production process, tencha isn’t easy to produce in large quantities, and so availability of the Daijinsho Matcha ice cream will also be limited, with just 150 scoops (available in cones or cups) to be sold on July 15. Even at 1,800 yen, it’s likely to sell out quickly, but fans of luxurious desserts who show up too late can at last take solace in knowing that on July 15 and 16 Oyaizu Seiichi will be offering gold powder as a free topping on all of its ice cream flavors.
Oyaizu Seiichi / 小柳津清一商店
Address: Shizuoka-ken, Shizuoka-shi, Suruga-ku, Mukoshikiji 1198-1
Open 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
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