The Secret of Oi Ocha's Superior Flavor and Aroma
|Tea Plantation (Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture)|
|Tea Plantation (Kitsuki, Oita Prefecture)|
Since it first developed ready-to-drink green tea beverage products in 1985, ITO EN has consistently used 100% Japanese-grown tea leaves for its Oi Ocha beverage products sold in the Japanese market. Making this possible is ITO EN's capabilities in raw material procurement as a specialist tea company. ITO EN not only provides ready-to-drink beverage products but also a wide range of green tea products, including tea leaf products and gift products. At present, ITO EN handles more than 20% of all the green tea grown in Japan. Based on its long-nurtured relationships with tea-growing regions and tea farmers, ITO EN is able to directly purchase tea leaves of the quality it requires on a stable basis.
Since 2001, ITO EN has operated its Program for Revitalizing Tea-Growing Regions, starting with a collaborative project with the Miyakonojo Agricultural Cooperative in Miyazaki Prefecture. This program's objectives are to contribute to the stable procurement of raw materials suitable for use in the manufacture of Oi Ocha beverage products, increased tea-growing production efficiency and the training of tea growers. The program's core is a focus on farm management that utilizes scale advantages, and seeks to reduce labor requirements through mechanization. The program provides production and processing technology unique to ITO EN, which helps curb production costs. In addition, all the tea produced through the program is purchased by ITO EN, meaning that it is not subject to market price fluctuations, thereby supporting the stability of the farmer's business. Currently, we are involved in a project in Oita Prefecture in which government agencies are party to the project agreement. In the future, we anticipate ongoing increases in the volume of high-quality tea raw materials purchased through the Program for Revitalizing Tea-Growing Regions.
Experienced Tea Buyers and Quality Testing Ensure the Best Tea
ITO EN's tea buyers have many decades of experience in procuring the best quality tea, which is one of the ways we ensure consistently high quality. We also conduct a broad range of tests and analyses to verify safety and quality backed by scientific data.
Secondary Processing at ITO EN's Shizuoka Sagara Plant
|Shizuoka Sagara Plant|
Green tea production involves two main processing phases. To preserve the freshness and flavor, color and aroma of the tea, primary processing is carried out very soon after the tea is picked, near the tea plantation. Through a steaming and drying method, the first processing steps prevent natural enzymes present in raw tea leaves from oxidizing (fermenting) the leaves, and also reduces the tea's moisture content. This process produces what is called "crude tea," which ITO EN procures directly from the grower after careful quality assessment by specialist staff and ships to its central processing facility, the Shizuoka Sagara Plant. Here, the secondary processing is carried out, and includes several drying and rolling steps. By carrying out this secondary processing at our own facilities, the flavor and aroma of Oi Ocha products are maintained.
ITO EN's Superior Manufacturing Methods
In addition to using high-quality, Japanese-grown tea leaves as ingredients, ITO EN also utilizes advanced methods for infusing green tea and packing it into PET bottles. Since it first developed techniques for manufacturing ready-to-drink green tea beverage products, ITO EN has tirelessly worked toward its ideal of a delicious, natural taste without the use of any additives.
ITO EN Technology Brings Consumers the Taste and Quality They Demand
An important unique feature of Oi Ocha products is the same flavor and aroma as tea brewed in a traditional Japanese teapot, or kyusu, made possible by ITO EN's proprietary manufacturing methods. New technology developed by ITO EN means Oi Ocha brings out the best from the ingredients—high-quality tea leaves. Under ITO EN's proprietary methods, a micro-filter made from natural materials ensures the tea remains in the best condition to drink, free from sediments and suspended solids. ITO EN's method of bottling and canning green tea beverages prevents the tea from coming into contact with oxygen, which is the greatest threat to its freshness. Oxygen is removed from the packages before they are sealed and special technology is used to reduce the amount of oxygen within the tea itself. Through these technologies unique to ITO EN, we ensure the flavor and aroma of the tea as it would be freshly brewed in a teapot.
Components of the Distinctive Green Tea Flavor
|Oi Ocha contains a wide array of natural components, which give it such a distinctive flavor, color and aroma. These components include catechin, amino acids (theanine), caffeine, vitamins, saponin, flavonoids, gava, fluoride, and others. Each of these components contributes to green tea's flavor, color and aroma, and have been extensively research by ITO EN over many years.||Distinctive green tea flavor