A morning stop called Mirume Dark Green Teahouse is colloquially known as the Green Tea Café. It’s located in Nagoya, Japan’s third largest city, in the heart of the morning work commute path of many. The café offers a line of zero-waste products meant to honor the tradition of enjoying green tea while catering to today’s hurried lifestyle. So in addition to “to-go” tea bags, loose leaf and powdered options, the café is open four mornings each week for curbside green tea pickup.
Customers purchase a bottle that is pre-packed with green tea leaves. They can then enjoy the tea at the office once they’ve had a chance to add water to the brew. Each bottle can be used three times for full-flavored green tea. At that point, customers return the bottle to the stand and get a new one.
The idea emphasizes serving members of the younger generation who are losing the tradition of morning tea. The flagship service, Asa Bottle (meaning morning green tea), offers a grab-and-go alternative to the more time-consuming authentic water drip method. The resulting system is good for those hustling to the office but also for the environment because there is no waste produced. Skipping the wasteful cups and single-use plastic bottles saves costs and avoids pollution, plus users don’t have to wash the bottles.
The café doesn’t charge a bottle deposit yet reports a 100% return rate. It credits culture and convenience for the perfect return rate, as the company has made it easy for customers to drop the bottle into a return bin on the commute home. In a release, the company said, “It can be said this is a unique product and service that can work only in Japan.”
The store has been in business since 2013 but saw the opportunity to revamp the space and add the additional morning service during the pandemic. Design firm Kenma developed the store design for the café, which is run by Japan’s top award-winning tea producer. The process provides a close replication of green tea brewed in a kyusu, which is a traditional Japanese tea pot.
Images via Kenma, Inc.