What's the best way to deliver a glorious Japanese green tea experience?
Build a café!
And that's what we did. Making Japanese tea isn't as easy as dunking a bag in some boiling water. Don't get us wrong, it's not that difficult, but it needs to be made right in order to taste DELICIOUS! (By the way you can check these Chiki Tips if you need help steeping at home...)
By having a café to operate from, we can control how the Matcha is whisked and how the Sencha gets steeped. We can also offer wonderful Western treats to pair with it. This is an especially fun aspect of the Chiki Tea concept: Japanese green teas such as Matcha, Sencha, Genmaicha accompanied by American goodies such as cheesecake, brownies and muffins.
"Café" is often associated with coffee right? Not here it isn't! Japanese green tea is a sensitive so-and-so. It needs to be sheltered from the potent aromas that can make a coffee joint smell so good. So you won't be finding coffee or curry in a hurry. Our tea leaves are protected in airtight containers, away from the light, giving each serving we make all the umami, sweetness and complexity you can possibly pack into one yunomi!
Our first store was in Kyushu, close to where we find our teas. It was a proof of concept project to explore and develop the experience and menu. Our business attracted many local people and as word spread, more came to us from all around the Kyushu area and beyond. We were featured in many news articles and even had a short clip about the store aired on a local TV news spot...
But we wanted to try out the idea in a big city, and we were introduced to beautiful Kobe, which has a great mix of Japanese and foreign residents which is ideal for our blend of Japanese and western treats. So we have now opened our first Matcha Bar in Sannomiya:
And we are now planning for a larger cafe and bakery store to be opened sometime in 2019.