In Japanese culture, tea is more than just a drink. The tea ceremony, also known as “Way of Tea,” has been an essential part of Japan’s culture for centuries. This high-valued celebration is matched with a performance that mirrors grace and beauty, accompanied by a ritual activity that strengthens the familial relationship.
For centuries, the country relies on its tea business — not just to adhere to its venerable tradition — but because drinking tea has been a part of Japanese daily routine. As companies continue to venture in tea business, creative approaches on how to spice up one’s tea packaging are also booming. One great example is the recent innovation of the Japanese company known as “Ocean Teabag” — which takes the challenge of creating a different and unique approach to tea bags.
For tea lovers, the new design becomes a “breath of fresh air” since traditional tea bags have not changed for many years. The company decides to team up with an oddity shop and a local bookstore called “Village Vanguard” to produce the new animal-themed teabags that can alter people’s mood by just looking at the cute design.
Ocean Teabag was created by Takahashi Shota, who launched the first-ever product with a dolphin design in 2015. It became the talk of the town, which transpired Shota to create another set of animals to the product line. The business gained orders from outside the country — making Ocean Tea Bag be the first and only company to introduce unique designs to teabags.
The custom of drinking tea, mainly for medicinal purposes, can now be associated with pleasurable reasons. From drinking the most boring bland tea comes to the new sea creature-inspired teabags. The design elevates the daily tea ritual into a zoological adventure; ranging from giant squids, otters, to red Pandas and cephalopods. Layers, folds, and perforations create the details of each creature’s body, while the outside packaging mirrors with that of the inside. So, customers will know through the wrapping what animals to choose for their tea sessions.
The tea bags can be bought online or through personal transactions at a sum of 1,820 yen or $16. These tea bags once dipped, add life to your daily tea routines, simply because of the delicate folds, which look like an animal is swimming in your tea.
Tea was initially valued as medicine because of its health benefits and was only available to rich people like the noblemen and emperors. The first documented evidence of tea session in Japan dates back to the 9th century when it was brought by the Buddhist monks after studying the tea culture in China.
The monks personally served “Sencha,” an unground Japanese green tea, to the famous Emperor Saga. Japanese nobles, later on, practice it, and through an imperial order in the year 816. And since then, tea plantations had become widespread in different regions of Japan.
Until today, tea becomes a daily beverage of both the affluent class and the ordinary people. It has become a symbol of a growing relationship among Japanese and their families, even nobles and commoners.
Aside from drinking tea as a way to bond and relax, one reason for the emerging tea businesses is the proven benefits of tea in our bodies. According to a study conducted by a group of researchers from Ohio State University in Colombus, tea, mainly green tea, has shown to help fight obesity and inflammation. The findings indicated that the said tea encourages the growth of good gut bacteria which lowers the risk of obesity.
However, today, Japan faces one of the pressing issues with regards to its tea farming. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 2016 indicated that the area used for tea farming declined from 46200 hectares to 43100.
Although Japan is the eight largest tea producer in the world, tea farming itself, unfortunately, decreased in the past years. One reason is the continued support of local government to private companies which build establishment and other infrastructures in areas where tea farming is mostly found.
With this, the country relies mostly on tea imports from other countries, including China. Ocean Tea Bag supports local tea producers and hopes that its newest sea creature-inspired tea bags will continue the country’s tea tradition and strengthen the bond between Japan and its people.