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Monday, April 07, 2008

Oi, ocha!

Mmm, green tea. I've been a tea drinker for years, and my tea of choice is green tea, whether it's hot or cold. My favorite is Itoen's classic "Oi Ocha", which you can often find in specialty markets (I believe I've seen it in Whole Foods), some Japanese restaurants, and (naturally) vending machines everywhere in Japan.

Plus you get all sorts of health benefits from green tea, too. So it's no wonder that beauty products are feeling the green tea love, both as an ingredient and an inspiration.

For example, green tea is high in vitamin C, so it's used in skin care serums such as Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum. I haven't tried it, but the reviews at
MegsMakeup.com are glowing. It's also used as an ingredient in a lot of powder products, such as Fresh's eyeshadows, which I do own (the Mission Fig trio). Do I notice a real difference in application or wear due to the green tea? I can't really say, honestly, but I do like their eyeshadows on their own merits with or without green tea as an ingredient.

In addition, green tea is also an ingredient in Boscia blotting linens for oily skin. Beauty Addict loved the linens in lavender, so I've definitely been curious to try them in the green tea variation. (I don't really use blotting tissues, though -- I have some, but I think they're in one of my gazillion purses and not the one I'm currently carrying.)

But here is my question: why can't we get the scent of green tea right in perfume? I had high hopes for CB I Hate Perfume's Japanese Green Tea, since I know he's someone who wants to get scent down right. But instead it's this sweet, almost floral scent that we've come to accept as "green tea". You know what I mean? Creative Scentualization also offers a green tea scent that just isn't right -- it's still too sweet and too fruity. What kind of green tea are perfumers drinking??

Maybe it's because so many of us are drinking sweetened green tea that we don't recognize the actual flavor of green tea any more. Even Starbucks alters its offerings to cater to what we believe is green tea: they add melon flavoring to their green tea lattes. Seriously! Melon! If you are a Starbucks green tea latte drinker, ask them to leave out the melon next time for a real green tea latte. If you still like it sweet, ask to add white chocolate (delicious!).

One company that gets it right: Vosges Haut Chocolat's Macha milk chocolate bar. It is awesome and delicious and a great blend of milk chocolate and green tea flavor, without that fake melon-y taste.

And let's not forget that you can bake with matcha (powdered green tea), as Cupcake Blog did with her two types of matcha frosted cupcakes. Raspberry Eggplant made Pomegranate Matcha cupcakes as well -- two of my favorite flavors combined, ooooh yes please. And these matcha shortbread cookies look delicious too.

And now I'm hungry (and thirsty!). Time for another cup of tea...

images from itoen.com and mapetiteshoe.com


Kati said...

This post makes me wish Green Tea Oreo Ice Cream actually existed. :D

Karen said...

Holy god above, if a glorious delight like matcha shortbread cookies'n'creme ice cream existed in my universe, I would just die of happiness.

Also, I take issue with Vosges' misspelling of "matcha/maccha". Hello, world, the extra consonant in the middle there transliterates the glottal stop in the word! Get it together!

I remember being so shocked when Starbucks first introduced their matcha latte/frappuccinos, I was in Japan and thought it was the hugest stroke of genius ever, but came back to the US and was so, so disappointed. Bastards!

gilda said...

oooh. this was one of my favorite drinks when i was living in japan. yummy yummy! i still go to the japanese supermarket nearby in new york to buy this.

Dominican Enigma said...

I'm a huge green tea drinker. I will have to try the Oi Ocha.

Dr.Gray said...

From my experience with Itoens green teas, the quality just isnt there. If your really into green tea do yourself a favor and get some quality loose leaf tea. It only takes a couple of minutes to make and the flavor is just so much better.

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