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Do Japanese prefer tea or coffee?


Japan has a rich culture and history of tea ceremonies, but does that mean that the Japanese prefer tea over coffee? This article aims to explore the preferences of the Japanese people when it comes to these two popular beverages.

The History of Tea in Japan

Tea has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, with the first seeds brought over from China in the 9th century. The tea ceremony, or chanoyu, has been a ritualistic practice in Japan since the 16th century and is still popular today. The ceremony involves preparing and serving matcha, a powdered green tea.

Japanese Snack Box

The Rise of Coffee in Japan

Coffee was first introduced to Japan in the 17th century by Dutch traders but didn’t become popular until after World War II. The post-war period saw an influx of American culture, and coffee shops became a symbol of modernization and Westernization.

The Current State of Tea and Coffee Consumption in Japan

While Japan has a strong history with tea, coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to a survey conducted by the All Japan Coffee Association in 2019, 60% of respondents said they drink coffee daily, while only 36% said they drink tea daily.

Tea Culture in Japan Today

Despite the rise of coffee consumption, tea remains an integral part of Japanese culture. Traditional tea ceremonies are still practiced, and there is a growing interest in high-quality teas such as sencha and gyokuro.

Coffee Culture in Japan Today

Coffee culture has also evolved in Japan, with coffee shops becoming a popular place for socializing and relaxation. Specialty coffee shops have gained popularity, offering unique brewing methods and high-quality beans.

The Role of Convenience Stores

In Japan, convenience stores play a significant role in beverage consumption. They offer a wide variety of both tea and coffee options, including canned coffee and bottled tea drinks.

The Impact of Health Trends

In recent years, health trends have influenced beverage choices in Japan. Matcha, for example, is touted for its health benefits such as high antioxidants and calming effects. Similarly, cold brew coffee has gained popularity as a healthier alternative to sugary iced coffee drinks.

Regional Differences

Regional differences also play a role in beverage preferences in Japan. In areas with colder climates such as Hokkaido, hot drinks like tea are more popular. In contrast, regions with warmer climates such as Okinawa tend to prefer iced drinks like coffee.

Social Factors

Social factors can also influence beverage choices in Japan. For example, businessmen often meet at coffee shops for business meetings and negotiations. On the other hand, traditional tea ceremonies are often associated with more formal occasions such as weddings or funerals.

The Future of Tea and Coffee Consumption in Japan

It’s difficult to predict the future of beverage consumption in Japan, but one thing is clear: both tea and coffee will continue to play important roles in Japanese culture. It’s possible that health trends may lead to an increase in tea consumption, but coffee’s popularity shows no signs of slowing down either.


In conclusion, while tea has a rich history and cultural significance in Japan, coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years. Both beverages offer unique flavors and experiences and will continue to be integral parts of Japanese culture moving forward.

Why do Japanese people like tea so much?

Japanese people drink green tea for two primary reasons. Firstly, they believe in the healing properties of the tea, rather than simply drinking it for pleasure. It is common for individuals to drink green tea when they are feeling unwell or to gargle with salted tea when they have a cold.

Do the Japanese drink a lot of tea?

In Japan, tea is a highly valued and widely consumed beverage that is deeply ingrained in their culture. It is readily available in most places, including restaurants where it is often served at no charge, similar to water.

What type of tea do Japanese drink everyday?

In Japan, green tea is a popular and widely consumed beverage known for its health benefits. It is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, with most meals being accompanied by a pot of freshly brewed green tea.

Do Japanese drink tea at night?

Despite the presence of caffeine in most teas, there are some varieties with low or no caffeine that can be consumed in the evening. Interestingly, in Japan, it is common to drink tea after meals or even later in the evening.

Is it rude to refuse tea in Japan?

Declining an offer can be considered impolite or impossible in certain situations. When a friend is the host, it is acceptable to accept or decline an offer, but when a company is the host and a representative offers food or drink, it is considered polite to accept.

Do Japanese put milk in tea?

A popular drink in Japan, Royal Milk Tea is made with Assam or Darjeeling tea leaves and milk. You can add sugar or honey to suit your taste. It’s a delicious drink to serve when you have friends over for tea time.Mar 26, 2014

It’s worth noting that Japan has also been known for its innovative beverage creations, combining traditional flavors with new twists. For example, matcha latte and hojicha latte have become popular alternatives to the standard coffee latte. Additionally, Japanese-style iced coffee, which involves brewing coffee with ice, has gained attention in the specialty coffee world.

Another factor that may influence beverage choices in Japan is the growing concern for sustainability. Many cafes and shops are now offering eco-friendly options such as using reusable cups or offering discounts to customers who bring their own cups. This trend towards sustainability may impact the types of beverages that are consumed and how they are served.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on beverage consumption in Japan. With more people working from home, there has been a rise in home brewing and DIY beverage creations. Online sales of tea and coffee products have also increased as people look for ways to enjoy their favorite drinks from the comfort of their own homes.

Overall, while tea and coffee may differ in popularity and cultural significance, both have a place in Japanese society. Whether it’s enjoying a cup of matcha during a traditional tea ceremony or grabbing a quick cup of coffee at a convenience store, these beverages continue to play important roles in everyday life in Japan.

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