Interview with one of world tea companies, ITO EN from Japan

Writer: Siobhan Costello

Please tell me about the ITO EN Australia Pty Ltd business.

ITO EN Australia Pty Ltd was first established in 1994. The business is now well known as a business offering Japanese tea around Australia and is known as the manufacturer of the tea.

What was the reason to start selling green tea in Australia?

From long ago in Western countries, having afternoon tea was a part of their tradition. From the immigration of Italy the popularity of coffee became significant and gradually a shift in Green tea started in Australia. With the rise of popularity in Green tea, the company was already organising the oversea branches for cultivation and manufacturing and with the suggestion of the product being sold in Australia, has became the start of selling green tea.

What kind of activities have you been doing in Australia?

Australian people tend to use tea bags and the cold tea packed in plastic bottles are still not common in Australia like they are in Japan. Therefore we have been introducing drink in a bottle to the market and suggesting Japanese modern culture in which we can enjoy the authentic tea easily. Of course we have been working on introducing old style of enjoying tea by extracting the tea from leaves with a tea pot as we are manufacturing home grown green tea.

When I drank cold drink tea in front of my friends from Australia the other day, they wondered why I didn’t warm up the green tea. From this experience, I thought that would be good if I could let foreigners know the fact that there were various ways of enjoying tea.  And now, what is the most appealing thing of  Oi Ocha?

The most appealing thing will be that Oi Ocha never contains any artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, sweet spices, colourings and preservation agents which are commonly used in ‘Aussie soft drinks’. In other words, Oi Ocha is ‘Japanese natural tea’.

I found it so hard to find unsweet tea in Australia. Also I feel really safe about the fact that Oi mocha doesn’t contain any colourings and preservation agents. Can you tell me the best way to enjoy drinking such a tasty tea like Oi Ocha?

The best way to enjoy Oi Ocha will be just drinking  the tea in big gulps with your meal!

Compared to selling your products in Japan and other countries, what have you changed to suit Australian buyers?

Starting next year, whilst selling Oi Ocha, the cultivation and manufacturing taking place in Australia for green tea will be used.

What is the reason in joining the festival this year?

After finding out last year’s festival was such huge success, alongside the food and businesses encountered on this special day, we realised how influential the participation of this festival was in order to spread our love for green tea alongside other Japanese foods.

Thank you very much. Are there any plans of new products being introduced in the near future?

Following our Oi Ocha we will be introducing “Jasmine Tea” starting early next year.

That is so exacting. What kind of promotional activities will you be planning on the day?

We plan on spreading the word of how our Japanese company became a brand in which Australian production was possible. We also plan on promoting our most loved product Oi Ocha.

What is your definition of a “Matsuri”?

A very exciting atmosphere with a lot of childhood filled memories.

Lastly please give a message to visitors on the day of the festival as well as supporting staff.

This year will be our first time participating in “MATSURI Japan Festival” and hope this can help spread the influence of Japanese products to bigger audience.

Thank you for participating in this interview.

As the festival will be held during December; summer season, we wish to use this as an excuse in introducing cold green tea and its amazing aspects of it. The impact of Japanese green tea is globally recognised however, through this event we hope in introducing tea as not only a hot beverage but also a cold beverage.

We look forward in enjoying the day of the festival as well as the cooling Oi Ocha as well as the Japanese food of the day.

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