Jan 8, 2023

CULTURENo More Sweet Green Tea! Oi Ocha’s American Dream

Oi Ocha, a mainstay tea brand in Japan, got their start in America thanks to the help of IT companies in Silicon Valley. Let’s explore the unsweetened version of one company’s American dream.

Jan 8, 2023

Teas common in the United States

From the relaxing chamomile tea to Chinese oolong variants and even herbal fruit mixtures, a wide variety of teas are available in supermarkets across the United States. Broadly, the word “tea” to Americans at large conjures one of two images; a coffee mug housing hot water and tea-bag steeping inside, or tea-flavored beverages jam-packed with corn syrup and other sweeteners. 

The latter (typically canned or bottled brands like Arizona, Brisk and Snapple) popularized the idea that tea should be as sweet as soda, silently suggesting unsweetened tea wasn’t the default! Thankfully American tea drinkers have new, healthier options available in recent times.

Unsweetened green tea is a healthy alternative to sugary juices when you want something more flavorful than water!

Oi Ocha’s early beginnings: Unsweetened tea in the land of sweetened beverages

ITO EN, the producers of Oi Ocha, first established themselves in Japan in 1969. Less than 20 years later, they established ITO EN (US) Inc. in Hawaii, perfect for its Japanese population. The Oi Ocha brand green tea first appeared in Japan in 1989 in cans, but just one year later, ITO EN bottled their product, making it the world’s first bottled green tea.

Just knowing that this tea is healthier than juice is enough to bring a smile to this little girl’s face!

ITO EN began their international expansion when they began cultivating tea leaves in Australia, taking the Oi Ocha product to the market along for the ride. This culminated in 2001 with the launch of ITO EN (North America) INC., who would bring their Oi Ocha unsweetened green tea to many far corners of the continental US, inviting people to take their tea without sugar.

Silicon Valley embraces green tea

Upon reflection, Oi Ocha not-so-surprisingly caught on in Silicon Valley over the past 20 years. Americans working in the Silicon Valley are a particularly health-conscious segment of the United States, yet have historically relied on energy drinks to help combat the long hours of coding away. When word of ITO EN’s healthy yet energizing premium Oi Ocha hit the tech capital of the world, unsweetened tea quickly became as American as apple pie. 

It’s said that Googlers alone consume over 60,000 bottles of Oi Ocha green tea every single month! Other Oi Ocha variations available stateside include roasted green tea, aromatic roasted rice tea and dark green tea, which helps boost metabolism. The wide selection of tea with various health benefits means that everyone in Silicon Valley has the chance to find nutritious sugarless tea that suits their tastes and needs!

Unsweetened tea = Oi Ocha: Has their dream come true? 

Oi Ocha currently claims a Guinness World Record as “the world’s top selling brand of green tea drink.” Seeing that honor go to ITO EN instead of, say, a Coca Cola owned tea product or a bigger Japanese beverage distributor like Kirin speaks to both how far the company has come with their vision for green tea and the deliciousness of their drink. 

While Oi Ocha hasn’t entirely eliminated their sugary competition, it’s now become a staple not just at home in Japan but also on shelves across America and beyond! No matter where you buy a refreshing and nourishing bottle of Oi Ocha, we guarantee it maintains the same authentic Japanese green tea flavor, so why not try a bottle for yourself?

Only the cool kids drink unsweetened green tea now.