Green tea addicts, this shall be your Mecca.
It seems to be a new trend, doesn’t it? Okay, perhaps it’s not a trend, but an evolution of the development of cafes in Singapore. Who’d have thought that Melbourne style cafes would be succeeded by, of all, places, Japan? Radiation fears aside, the declining Japanese economy and accompanying weakening currency has really opened up the nation to tourist traffic from Singapore. Visitors arrivals from the red dot are the highest it has ever been, leapfrogging 140% in 2011.
This post focuses on newcomer, Tsujiri, which is marketed as a maccha tea house “from” Kyoto – this is only carelessly accurate. The tea house was established in Kokura/ Fukuoka in 1923, but its methodology developed by Riemon Tsuji from Uji (outside Kyoto) is Kyotoite. Riemon is credited for establishing Uji’s local tea industry – devicing measures to enhance the flavor and sweetness of the tea, including a redesigned tea cabinet to keep the tea leaves fresh for a longer period of time. His legacy has made Uji synonymous with the highest quality of Gyokuro tea leaves. Tsujiri builds on this heritage, serving exclusively tea and confectionery made with Uji tea. Tsujiri’s Singapore venture at 100AM (by the grounds of a revived Amara Hotel in Tanjong Pagar) is the second after its first international endeavor in Taiwan. Tsujiri’s representation in Singapore is conservative – it’s rather small yet simple, although I suspect that considering its initial and ongoing popularity, they might opt for a full-scale cafe with its next locale in town (one can hope). Despite its pop-up presence, the menu is rather significant, ranging from teas, lattes and specialty drinks to parfait, shaved ice and sweets. They even have a small but adequate product selection to replicate the experience at home.
Tsujiri, as I mentioned, is very popular, but don’t let that faze you. You should, however, visit early. When Darren and I visited even before dinner, the famous “Sweet Selection” which includes the signature O-maccha Chiffon Cake, O-maccha Roll Cake, O-maccha Shiratama plate and Anmitsu were already long gone. Staffed mostly by English-speaking Japanese, they were graciously apologetic about it. Even so, there are still many things to be had. Darren ordered the O-maccha Float while I went for the Signature O-maccha. No matter what you order, you’re guaranteed a fine green tea experience. The staff advise that the Signature O-maccha is very bitter, but the premium Uji tea leaves used means that it is in fact, the sweetest straight tea one will ever have. The polite Japanese lady told me to give it three and a half sips a go each time. It was very refreshing, I must say. Darren’s O-maccha Float was similarly all kinds of amazing. The green tea ice cream was instantly the best I’ve had, while the float latte itself was sweet, but it never degenerated into a green tea “drink” – I never lost taste of the flavor and aroma of the tea.