Popular Bottled Tea Brands
Here are 9 popular bottled tea brands divided into three categories: Japanese green tea, oolong tea and caffeine free tea.
Japanese Green Teas
Japanese bottled green teas sold chilled are extremely refreshing and healthy. Unlike many bottled teas in other countries that are health drinks only in appearance, the Japanese ones have no additives (except for ascorbic acid for preservation purposes), are generally devoid of weird artificial flavors and are not sweetened.
If you are new to Japanese bottled green teas, you should start by trying the green tea by Oi Ocha. It is the number 1 green tea brand in Japan. It is made of 100 percent Japanese green tea. Plain and simple, the flavor and the aroma is just right. It has a light green tea taste that is very refreshing. An excellent choice you can't go wrong with.
Namacha by Kirin is another great tasting green tea. Because of its higher concentration, it is darker than the regular green tea, such as the one made by Oi Ocha, and the flavor is a little more intense, but not too bitter. It has a refined aroma and is very refreshing!
This green tea called Iyemon is made by Fukujuen, a Kyoto comapany founded in 1790. The water to make this tea comes from an area around Tokyo renowned for being one of the best sources in Japan, and the method to make is is by the traditional stone mill. It contains matcha, which makes it a little more bitter and fragrant than the regular green tea. The bottle is recognizable by its elegant bamboo-inspired shape.
Another nice tea by Oi Ocha is their hojicha. This green tea is quite different from the other green teas. Unlike the others that are steamed, the leaves of the hojicha are roasted. This gives the tea a reddish-brown color, and a slight pleasant roasted taste with caramel notes. Because of the roasting process it has less caffeine than the steamed green teas.
Oolong teas are traditional Chinese teas, but they are also very popular here in Japan. The production technique differs from the Japanese green tea in that the plants are withered under strong sunlight, and the leaves are partly oxidized, which makes them turn black.
Suntory makes a popular product simply called Suntroy Oolong Cha. It's been a popular product in Japan since its release in 1981. Oolong tea is known to be extremely healthy: it boosts metabolism, reduce stress and is packed with anti-oxidants. Its commonly drank in Japan at yakiniku restaurants because it is said to help with fat digestion.
Suntory also has a stronger, even healthier version of its regular oolong tea called the Kuro (black) Oolong Cha. It is indeed darker and stronger in taste than the regular one. Suntory claims that it is effective in preventing fat absorption and making you lose weight. A great choice if you are dieting.
Non Caffeinated Options
If you are sensitive to caffeine, these might be good options for you as they contain none. They are good refreshing drinks to drink before going to bed.
Aside from its green teas, Ito En also makes a popular mugi cha (barley tea). The mugi cha is made by roasting barley grains. The color is brown and the flavor can be described as toasty. The mugi cha may be an acquired taste. Foreigners unfamiliar with the taste tend to find the toasty aroma and taste a bit too intense. Mugi cha has many minerals which makes it a nice healthy choice.
Asahi makes an interesting product called Juroku Cha. Juroku means "16", which refers to the 16 ingredients that the tea contains. The main ingredients are adlay, barley, senna tea, corn and brown rice. A very interesting and refreshing mix that is inspired from oriental traditions in improving health. It has a light brown color, and the taste is not as strong as the mugi cha.
Sokenbicha is another popular caffeine-free drink by Coca Cola. Similar to Asahi's Juroku, it is made primarily from barley, brown rice and adlay. The color is light brown and the taste is also not as intense as the mugi cha. It is said to be good for eliminating fat, and is branded as a health and beauty beverage because of the minerals it contains.
There are many more from which to chose from. Head to your nearest convenience store or find a vending machine to discover these delicious, healthy cooling teas!