Research formula adds taste of local charm to Sayama tea

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Flavored Sayama teas developed through the collaborative efforts of tea manufacturers in Iruma, students at Nihon Pharmaceutical University, and others

SAITAMA — Three entities have joined forces to develop what they hope incorporates a taste of local charm and becomes the perfect cup of tea for the younger generation.

The city government of Iruma in Saitama Prefecture, Nihon Pharmaceutical University and NTT East Corp. have worked together to put a new spin on Sayama tea that features fruits and mint flavors to create products that target young consumers.

The three organizations have signed a collaboration agreement to revitalize local industries. In an effort to make the best use of Sayama tea, a specialty in Iruma, students at the university were tasked to analyze the kinds of tastes and flavors young people prefer, while four tea manufacturers and sellers — Shimizu-en, Tanaka Seicha-en, Chitose-en and Hoshi-en — in the city have put forward their opinions.

The four types of teas have distinctive flavors. Two examples are a green tea mixed with a hint of strawberry, rose, mint and Chinese wolfberry; and a roasted tea that contains the taste of apple and koji, a starter in the fermentation process in the production of sake and soy sauce.

To make it easy to prepare even for those not accustomed to handling tea leaves, the product comes in tea bags weighing 2.5 grams to 5 grams each. They come in a pop-design package, created by local junior high and high school students.

The demand for premade teas in plastic bottles is growing, while that for tea leaves, which require the process of steeping leaves by pouring water — hot or cold — into a pot or a cup to bring out a flavor, is said to have been on the decline.

But the area has visions of tea parties on its agenda.

Iruma Mayor Riichiro Sugishima said he hopes the flavored teas “will also lead to an increase in the consumption of Sayama tea as a whole.” He also said that the city government will look to invite other tea manufacturers and sellers to participate in the development of new products.

Flavored teas cost about ¥650 to ¥1,050 per package. The items are sold on the tea sellers’ websites, and purchases can also be made at AZLM Connected Cafe in the underground shopping area at JR Shibuya Station.