Cha-Chanoma 茶茶の間 : Meet the Japanese Tea Guru

If you think you know your green tea or Japanese tea very well, wait till you visit Cha-Chanoma and meet the master here. 

Opened in 2005 in the hidden back street of Omotesando district, Cha Cha No Ma is helmed by professional tea barista Yoshi Watada, who looks like any other salaryman except that he holds a tea pot instead of a suitcase. At this tiny cafe, Japanese tea forms the body and the soul with a display rack which stocked up with all sorts of tea leaves and equipment for retail. 

Every item on the menu comes as a set with your choice tea hence the price is more expensive than typical parfait alone. But it's not any floral tea or black tea. The tea served here seems to be predominantly Japanese green tea, each with a special ID card prepared by the tea sommelier that showed a detailed biography and analysis of the tea according to their levels of sweetness, fragrance etc. 

It was too "chim" for me, though truly an eye opener as the tea barista walked me through the different stages of tea appreciation. For the first time in my life, I could taste "umami" in Japanese tea. The first two rounds were meant to be sipped without the sweets so it did require some patience before I reached the final stage when my parfait was served. 
The Cha Cha Parfait may looked nothing spectacular but one particular component stood out--the azuki paste. It turned out to be slightly savoury, a pleasant breakaway from the standard cloyingly sweet mass. One can choose from either matcha, black sugar or vanilla ice cream to go with the houjicha Kanten, warabi mochi, shiratama, etc. 

During the course, a staff might just pop over, not to say hi, but to treat you with samples of their new tea-infused cookies along with cards containing the respective tea information. It was a good opportunity to expose myself to different kinds of tea, even though I had already forgotten the details of what I had drank by now. 

Cha-Chanoma  茶茶の間
5-3-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tue-Sun 11am-7pm
Lunch (11am-2.30pm)