Cha Cha No Ma - The green tea experience in Omotesando
Whether you consider yourself a Japanese tea connoisseur or a complete newbie to the green-tea scene, a visit to Cha Cha no Ma in Omotesando will no doubt have you agreeing that the cozy tearoom’s got the nihoncha craft down—to a T.
With over 30 varieties, carefully selected from throughout Japan, the tea really is the main focus here—as everything revolves around enhancing the drinking experience. The tea is never a blend of different varieties from varying tea farms, as is the current norm, but is purely from a single farm, and of a single variety. Expertly prepared by a Japanese tea sommelier, each type is served not just once, but several times, with each brew producing different variations of flavor. The result is a truly fun and unique visit.
A savory menu (¥1,100-1,400 on weekdays) is available during lunch hours from 11am to 2:30pm, outside of which a selection of desserts is offered. The lunch sets include rice, soup, and two sides, with a choice of a main vegetable, pork, or chicken dish, all prepared using fresh, organic vegetables that are in season at the time.
The desserts (from ¥1,100) are not overly sweet, so as not to overpower the tea they are paired with. Choices include a Japanese-style parfait with green tea, vanilla, or brown sugar ice cream together with azuki (red bean) paste, kanten (agar), shiratama (rice-flour dumplings), and warabi mochi (bracken-starch dumplings); hōjicha (roasted green tea) flavored kanten with azuki, shiratama, and ice cream, and a cold zenzai, or azuki soup, with a side of matcha chocolate.
Once a choice of dessert is ordered, the tea-drinking commences, starting with a small cup of dried tea leaves, which are to be munched on and savored for their aroma and flavor. Next comes a strong brew, followed by another, milder one, finally to be enjoyed with the dessert—the combination of sweet and bitter a perfect pair.
If you’re looking to transport the luxurious break to your home, a selection of tea is available to buy in-store, and the friendly specialists will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Whenever you’re feeling in need of a quality green tea experience, visit Cha Cha no Ma—you’re sure to be feeling Zen in no time.
Open 11am-7pm, closed Mon. 5-13-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Nearest station: Meiji-Jingumae. Tel: 03-5468-8846. www.chachanoma.com
Photo by Momoko Mochizuki