Ito En the Green Tea Journey of a Life Time

Ito En Green tea

Ito En is a company that was created in japan back in the 1960s and has been and still is the most popular green tea distributor in Japan and some of North America.

Green tea itself originates back 30004000 years ago in south east China. In the past, the green tea leave were most likely used for chewing and eating like most herbs and spices were, this eventually changed with the times and people started to apply the tea to boil water and drinking the concoction. The earliest documentation of green tea cooking and drink was found in the 8th century where steaming the tea leaves was found to have good oxidizing properties and later in the 12th century where frying the leaves was also largely well responded as it gave a very similar green tea flavor (www.teavivre.com).

In the third to sixth century China is when the popularity of green tea took off and it slowly shifted from a luxury drink to a drink the was consumed by the greater population. Tea became such a popular thing that it ingrained itself into the culture of Chinese tradition so much so that tea ceremonies and by the 10th century the Chinese had tea times similar to the english. Tea had become a huge commodity, it was taxed and spurred and build a large economy with lead to large innovations. Still tea was a from of tribute to the royal families and many rare and wonderful tea were given as gifts. Later during the ming dynasty this giving of tea was abolished and tea was spread throughout china. This lead to a “golden age of green tea” as people tried different techniques on how to brew the tea.(www.teavivre.com)

The most interesting story were how tea was brought to japan. In the 10th century, monks and priests that had traveled to china and returned to Japan with seeds, specifically by a man named Eisai who was the main reason for tea reaching Japan in the first place. Upon his return from his second trip to china he wrote a manuscript teach other the health benefits of tea, the first of the two volumes explain the health benefits as wells as how to identify the plants and how to cook and process the leave for the best tea. the second volume talked about how much tea is supposed to be consumed for certain ailments. Tea spread slowly but surely and became a popular drink. During the Ming dynasty in China, Japan flourished in the cultural traded which made tea popular in Kyoto and among samurai as tea was enjoyed while doing activities like poetry writing, discussing political and philosophical situations, writing calligraphy (Japanese and Chinese characters), and painting. These tea gathering turned in to ceremonies and eventually lead tea to be used in diplomacy (www.wikipedia.com).

In 1966 “The Frontier Tea Corporation, was established in Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture” (http://itoen.co.jp/eng/about/history/index.html) and started off as a small company with minimal sales and a prosperous first two years. In 1968, the company expanded a little more and open another sales branch in Yokohama city. A year later, in 1969, the Frontier Tea Corporation change their name to what is now known today and Ito En, LTD. In the next decade, Ito en would move it’s headquarters to Tokyo as it was expanding rapidly, would implement vacuum packing in to the preservation process, Construct a new plant in Makinohara city, managed a speciality store chain back in yokohama city, and sign a contract with The China National Native Produce and Animal By-Products Import and Export corporation, this Company was the first to export oolong tea to Japan.

In the 1980s, oolong teas sales took off as did the black tea in the Japanese tea market as it was directly imported from Sri Lanka. The technology got better as they found a way to harvest from organic soil and became the first tea company to give consumers a “best by” date. by the middle of the decade, Ito En had successfully developed can green tea and implemented it to the market and two year later they established their first american branch in Hawaii, Ito En (USA) as it was part of their marketing expansion. In the end of the decade, Ito En chanced the name to “Oi Ocha”.

In the Beginning of the 1990s The Ito En company surpasses ¥50 billion and implement a coffee roasting plant. They established a branch in Australia as well as when in to a joint venture in china under the name Ningbo Shunyi Tea Products Co., Ltd. Ito En Surpasses ¥100 billion by 1995. Throughout the next decade and a half the Ito En tea campy remain a giant as it continued to monopolies the tea industry and in 2001 Ito En came to North America.

Ito En has published a health benefit guid to their green tea. The website states that their green tea contain a different astronaut of vitamins and minerals, caffeine, fluorine , and Catechins that have a wide array of health benefits such as: Decreases blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat reduction, cancer prevention effect, Antioxidant and much more (http://www.itoen.co.jp/eng/allabout_greentea/components_benefit.html). Similarly, I went to to other websites to try and confirm when Ito En had boldly stated. I found that most of what they where talking about was true as most tea had vitamins, minerals and some caffeine, but what stuck out the most was the different websites that said Green tea has Cancer preventative properties which through me for a loop.

  • Jack Merrett
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