While green tea and products made with it continue to gain international attention, domestic consumption of simple green tea in Japanese households is sadly on the decline. In order to fight this trend and to lend a helping hand to the tea industry and the hard-working tea growers of Shizuoka Prefecture in particular, local company Showtime Inc. has created a new product called Chabacco.

Reinterpreting the word chabako 茶箱 (literally meaning "tea box" in Japanese), which originally designated wood or lacquer boxes used to store items related to serving tea, Showtime Inc. has packaged sticks of powdered green tea in "boxes" clearly inspired by cigarette carton design. The sticks are even designed to look like two cigarettes with the burning head colored tea green. According to their press release, they hope Chabacco will provide an entertaining new tea-drinking experience that can bring a smile to your lips and maybe even relieve some of the stress of modern life, while also helping to revitalize the tea industry.

Available in three varieties, regular, hojicha and organic, all Chabacco products are made entirely from tea grown in Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture, with no preservatives or additives, in the chagusaba 茶草葉 cultivation style, a labor-intensive agricultural practice dating back 10,000 years in which mulch and other resources from fields of grass maintained in the tea field's perimeter are used to enhance the quality of the tea. Chagusaba is recognized by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).

Chabacco Experience Week

To launch Chabacco at its first brick-and-mortar sales location in the Nihon Hyakkaten Shokuhinkan inside the Chabara arcade near the JR Akihabara Station in Tokyo, Showtime is organizing a special week from March 4th to March 11th where you can sample Chabacco, learn about the various ways you can use it and even purchase Chabacco from a one-of-a-kind vending machine with a decidedly Showa era vibe.

If you're unable to visit the shop in Tokyo, Chabacco products are also on sale at Showtime's online shop here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.