Jan 14, 2019
Step into Sakuraï and you are instantaneously met with an abundance of light and contemporary fixtures. You might be forgiven for thinking you’re gracing a Manhattan kitchen and not one of Tokyo’s most esteemed, albeit up-to-the-minute, teahouses. Advertised as a tea experience, this exquisitely finished café only seats a few people and puts an emphasis on personal familiarity. As you seat yourself at the black, marble island you can sample the best Japanese tea in a stylish but relaxed setting as you’re taken on a journey of this iconic beverage.
The eponymously named store is the brain child of Shinya Sakuraï who studied for over a decade to cement his knowledge of tea. Sakuria personally takes customers through some of the most famed Japanese teas which have historically been used for medicinal purposes. The high-quality teas are elegantly lined up and you can opt to taste them individually or enjoy the tasting course, compromising five different teas, curated by Sakuria himself. Tea is more than a drink here; it’s an art form. The water is cooled to a specific temperature to perfectly brew each variety, enhancing its taste and maximizing its medicinal properties.
A must try when you visit Sakuraï is Gyokuro – regarded as one of the most lavish teas native to Japan. The unmistakable notes of umami are Gyokuro’s defining feature. Teas can be served at different strengths to adhere to personal palates and used as quasi-liquor when mixed with juices and other ingredients to make innovative tea cocktails. Local Japanese snacks are perfectly matched with the beverages and you can even eat the leaves which are akin to flavorsome spinach. To finish your visit to Sakuraï, sip on one of the vodka and rum infused teas which are blended to perfection and offer a new take on this favorite breakfast beverage.