Shimokita Chaen Oyama – run by highest ranking tea connoisseur siblings

Shimokita Chaen Oyama –
run by highest ranking tea connoisseur siblings

Determining the type and origin of the tea from its aroma and flavor.

This is a method that is used by tea connoisseurs who place a specified amount of tea leaves into a teacup and add hot water to discern the various features of the tea such as shape, flavor, color of the water, and aroma.
There are only a handful of those who are certified at the highest level (level 10) of “cha-shi” certification.
These experts identify the characteristics of the tea leaves by region and year and design the best way to bring them out. They also take time to provide helpful advice to their clients and share feedback with the growers.

Two of the tea experts reside in Tokyo, at Shimokita Chaen Oyama in Shimokitazawa. The shop was established in 1970 and is run by Takuro Oyama who was certified as a level ten “cha-shi” in 2003.

“While I grew up in a green tea shop, I didn’t really like green tea as a child. Tea that isn’t carefully handled isn’t suitable for a child’s palate. You can bring out the best in tea leaves if you understand its features. And you can make the tea suitable for even children if you prepare it with them in mind. I really enjoy preparing tea thinking about the individual who will be enjoying the tea, their surroundings, as well as the occasion.”
The aroma and flavor changes drastically with even a 5 degree difference in the temperature of the water.
It’s often said that you shouldn’t use hot boiling water when preparing green tea, but the flavor can be maintained with quality tea leaves, even if you use hot water.
For instance, hot water is suitable if you’re getting yourself ready for work. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be as hot if you’re trying to relax.
I try to prepare tea that is can be enjoyed repeatedly.
Even if the tea’s characteristic isn’t immediately evident, you can still enjoy it.
And if it tastes good even after it has cooled down, that’s a sign of great quality.”

The most a tea connoisseur can do is to bring out the full potential of the tea leaves.
“I feel I still have a way to go with even the most popular ‘Yabukita` brand. There has to be a way to enhance it’s enjoyment.”
There are no tea farms in Shimokitazawa. Yet, many of the best tea leaves in Japan are available here. The tea masters carefully analyze the tea leaves and blend them to create delicious tea that is loved by many.


Shimokita Chaen Oyama
2-30-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0031