matsuko Matcha latte with almond milk

summer time
Green Tea


How to Get through Summer in Japan

Summer is finally back, and green tea is the perfect drink to keep your energy during sizzling hot days! We’ve got everything you need to gear up. Running from end of May to the end of September, summer in Japan, especially in Kyushu, is long, humid and really hot. It can drag you down, so much in fact that there is even a name for ‘summer sickness’ here: natsu bate, meaning being worn out by the summer heat as you lose minerals, vitamins and don’t feel good enough to eat anything.

So you can be sure that over centuries, Japanese people came up with many ways to grit through this period and fight against natsu bate — unfortunately, it wasn’t by going on holidays for three months in a row (we wish!).

Food is the best way to help your body dealing with humidity, heat and the temperature shocks that your body goes through when you turn on the A/C. That’s when green tea, with all its health benefits and refreshing boost, becomes your best friend. A good and effective combination : Umeboshi (pickled and EXTRA salty Japanese plum) with green tea !

MIZUHO, a blend of organic Sencha and Matcha.
The perfect blend exclusively made for IKKYU !
Japanese pickled plums (Umeboshi)

To be fair, some of the sourest umeboshi would raise the dead. By the way, the Samurai put an umeboshi in their green tea before battle. Well, we have tried that, with mixed results... so we ingest them... separately. Like on the above picture.

The benefits of green tea in summer are many. Its catechins (antioxidants) will help your skin against exposure to harmful UV rays. Green tea also improves your skin elasticity, another boost to protect you against sun damage. Its vitamins and minerals help your immune system challenged by sleep disruption and loss of appetite when it’s too hot out there. Remember that there is three times as much vitamin C in green tea than in spinach!

Of course, drinking hot tea is known in warm countries all around the world for helping with handling high temperatures. You need more energy to compensate between icy cold drinks and scorching hot weather, so don’t put your kyusu away! You will need your three or four daily cups more than ever. Hot green tea will help you avoid heat stroke by making you sweat more, lowering your body temperature in the process. 

But sometimes, we all need a refreshing kick, and the great news is, you can prepare cold green tea very easily: ice brewing is one way (you need a bit of time ahead of you), pouring hot tea over ice in a glass is another good and super quick solution, or simply use a bottle with an integrated filter at the top, like this one, where you pour leaves and cold water inside and wait for a couple of hours. This third option is great for preparing large quantities of tea that will last the entire day!

How to prepare cold brew Tea ?

cold brew bottle

Using a cold brew bottle (see video below) is an easy way, since the filter is integrated at the top of the bottle so that when you pour the tea, the leaves stay in the bottle. For this, simply put 5g of loose leaves for 500ml of filtered water in the bottle. For a 750ml bottle, we usually put 10g of loose leaves, depending on taste.

You can shake the bottle a bit, a few times, very gently to accelerate the brewing. Then put the bottle in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and here you go! After finishing the content, fill the bottle again with water for your second brew.

If you don’t have a filtered bottle, the process is the same, just use a water pitcher and be careful when pouring the tea into the glass. You can use a small meshed strainer so that the leaves that fall in can be put again in the pitcher. With 10g of leaves and 750ml of water you can prepare two cold brews.

What we usually do is that we prepare our cold brew the night before and then fill our thermos in the morning. If we want different teas, we use our small cold brew bottles.

Iced tea

Nothing beats an instant iced green tea ! And it is as easy to prepare as it sounds. You only need to fill your glass with enough ice cubes, then brew your preferred green tea with only slightly more water than usual in order to get at least 200ml of water in your teapot. Once finished, you simply pour the brewed tea into your glass and wait a few seconds in order to have it as chilled as desired.
There is absolutely no matcha cake in this picture.

Matcha Latte

- 2 matcha spoons of your preferred matcha
- 80ml of hot water
- 120 ml of coconut water, milk or almond milk.
- Any natural sweetener of your choice like maple syrup, honey or stevia

Prepare your matcha as usual, with hot water. Then, mix the ingredients together as explained...and voilà ! A fresh drink to help you start your day focused and relaxed.

We usually take another drink around 3PM to get over the second part of the day, knowing that in between we serve 3-4 cups of tea at the office.

Our tea recommendations

A short selection to begin with !

One of the great perks of tea brewed with ice or cold water is the pleasure of discovering something new, maybe even new flavors, with your favorite teas. You are welcome to try any green tea like this, but if you don’t know where to start, here are our recommendations you want to go with cold-brewed tea this year:
SHOP our summer selection
premium organic
sencha & matcha
FROM 14 USD for 50g
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organic matcha
FROM 18 USD for 40g
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premium ORGANIC
FROM 15 USD for 50g
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FROM 12 USD for 50g
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FROM 12 USD for 100g
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FROM 11 USD for 50g
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FROM 16 USD for 50g
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leaves blend
FROM 20 USD for 30g
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FROM 25 USD for 50g
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FROM 25 USD for 50g
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Cold brew & Health

Latest Research information

Green tea is just as nutritious cold as when brewed with hot water and... contrary to popular belief, green tea does not lose antioxydants and other phytochemicals when cold. Scientific research clearly shows that cold-brewed green tea is higher in catechins, flavonoids and other antioxidants than hot-brewed tea. Furthermore, it contains less caffeine, which may benefit those who are sensitive to this compound. You may have a look at this study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, concluding that cold extraction allowed the highest antioxidant activity, total phenolics and gallic acid content.

This is why cold brew has gained such popularity in Japan and all around the world in the last 5 years and continues to rise.

Another point we have been discussing many times at IKKYU is the importance of water quality. When we first visited tea producers in Kyushu, every single one told us to always use fresh water, either filtered (best solution) or bottled with as less minerals as possible. Some of them even wanted to ship water from their local source along with the tea... And while mineral water can greatly alter the taste of green tea, it can also reduce its benefits!

According to an article published in the journal Nutrients in January 2019, calcium, magnesium and other minerals in tap water may reduce the amount of EGCG. Purified water, by comparison, is lower in minerals and trace elements, allowing you to get the most of your tea. The article also shows that brewing the tea in bottled or deionized water (water with no minerals at all) may double its EGCG content and hence increase its antioxidant capacity, 

At IKKYU we use simply filtered water (there are many filters in Japan that you can simply attach to your water faucet), and a Brita filter pitcher will be your best friend for your brewing times, either cold or hot.


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