While some may sneer at the third wave coffee movement, a generation of independent coffee roasters motivated to enhance the experience of coffee, it’s here to stay. They offer a higher quality coffee with emphasis on everything from beans to preparation and consumers are buying it.
Now, what could be called the third wave green tea movement is taking foot. And it’s happening in the heart of Japan’s green tea industry of Shizuoka, where, just about 1 year ago, a new green tea specialty shop and cafe called San Grams opened.
San means he number 3 in Japanese, although it can also mean mountain, which would explain the store’s logo. And 3 grams refers to the optimal amount of green tea leaves necessary for a pot of tea.
San Grams is owned and operated by one of Japan’s oldest tea shops Marumatsu, which began roughly 100 years ago. Most teas on the market these days are a blend of tea leaves from different farms. And while each are good and satisfactory, it’s left a vacuum of knowledge around the differences between green tea.
So San Grams set out to create a shop where people could come and learn about what might come to be called “single origin” tea. Clever and beautiful packaging design helps identify which tea maker the leaves are from. San Grams will tell you the optimal brewing method – everything from water temperature to steeping time – for each green tea leaf in order to bring out the unique characteristics of each tea.
San Grams also offers a cafe where green tea (obviously) is served, but also various seasonal dishes that compliment the tea. The cafe overlooks a garden. The entire shop design and visual identity for each of the products was created by Eriko Kawakami of Draft. And in addition, there’s also a shop that carries specially-curated tea supplies to help you jump into the third wave of green tea.