Even though Japan has been widely enjoying green tea for centuries and Western-style desserts for decades, it’s really only in the past 10 or 15 years that green tea sweets have really exploded in popularity. Out of the many varieties of green tea, matcha is considered to be the most luxuriously gourmet, with a richly deep aroma, flavor, and color.

The problem, though, it that matcha can be strongly bitter, which is why it’s usually served with Japanese confectionaries to take a little of its edge off. As such, a lot of sweets are billed as matcha fumi, or “green tea-taste” to show that while they’ve got a hint of matcha flavor, they’re not so heavily loaded with the stuff.

But if you want to unleash the full, unbridled force of matcha on your palate while you satisfy your craving for dessert, this shop in Shizuoka Prefecture boasts it has the most matcha-intense ice cream in the world.

Officially, Nanaya, with one branch located in Fujieda City and the other in Shizuoka City, calls its ice cream “gelato.” Whether or not it’s actually made with the conventions of Italian ice cream or the owners just think calling it gelato sounds fancier, there’s no debating the fact that Nanaya’s frozen treats are absolutely packed with matcha.

And we’re not kidding when we say “absolutely.” Popular talk show Sukkiri claims that Nanaya’s staff has tried the matcha ice cream of every other manufacturer in the world, and that none can compare with the Shizuoka shop’s. While that sort of thoroughness seems hard to believe, it’s also difficult to imagine any other ice cream maker being this committed to green tea.

Still, Nanaya isn’t out to hammer your taste buds with more green tea than they can handle. Step inside the store, and you’ll find a freezer case with seven levels of ice cream. As the numbers go up, so does the matcha content, as the color gets deeper and the bitter green tea flavor become stronger.

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Nanaya is managed by Marushichi Seicha, a tea producer headquartered in Shizuoka, which is the number-three matcha-producing prefecture in terms of volume in Japan. As such, it’s not about to skimp on the quality of the tea it puts into its sweets, and the matcha powder used for Nanaya’s ice cream is said to cost three times as much as what’s commonly used by other brands.

While the vast majority of Nanaya’s ice cream selection consists of matcha and more matcha, there are two other flavors available as well. One is hoji-cha, roasted green tea, and the other is milk.

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While it might seem like a waste to come all the way to someplace so famous for its matcha ice cream and order plain old milk, some customers choose to cut the powerful matcha variety with one of the two milder alternatives, creating a mellower taste. Appropriately, Nanaya’s containers look a lot like tea cups (cones are available, too).

Those who’ve tried Nanaya’s ice cream describe it as either deliciously bitter or bitterly delicious. If you’re a first timer who’s unsure just how much matcha you can take, there’s always the option of hedging your bet by ordering two different levels of matcha ice cream, creating a pseudo half-step between the official strata.

Just be warned, though, that as great-tasting as Nanaya’s ice cream is said to be, it seems like everyone who orders anything under Level 7 finds themselves overcome with a need to go back again someday to try it.

Shop information
Nanaya Fujieda Branch / ななや藤枝店
Address: Shizuoka-ken, Fujieda-shi, Uchiseto 141-1

Nanaya Shizuoka City Branch / ななや静岡店
Address: Shizuoka-ken, Aoi-ku Ryogae-cho, 2-301

Source: Naver Matome
Insert images: Nanaya