How This Project Began
Tea seedsThe tea industry in Japan has been in a slight decline in recent years due to the dwindling interest of consumers in loose leaf teas. In addition, as tea farmers age and struggle to find successors for their businesses, the acreage for tea farms are decreasing every year and some of the farms that still exist are unattended. Hence, we saw the need to develop an innovative tea plant product that offers something of value other than a beverage.
Tea comes from plants whose seeds contain a high quality oil. So, we wondered if we could extract oil from seeds of tea plants to develop 100% tea seed oil similar to camellia oil and olive oil. Such a product would create new opportunities for tea grown in Shizuoka and appeal to people of different generations across Japan. The market for tea seeds would also strengthen the network of tea farmers, and the otherwise-abandoned tea farms could be better utilized to grow this new agricultural product. We thought the ultimate goal would contribute to the revitalization of tea producing regions.
A growing number of today's health-conscious consumers prefer olive oil, coconut oil and other natural, plant-based oils over animal fats, and we found through a composition study that tea seed oil is rich in vitamin E, oleic acid and other beneficial substances.
Gold Tea Oil bottoleAfter several years of diligent testing, research, site visits, etc., we successfully commercialized the tea seed oil extraction. Our parent company, Shirakata-Denshiro Shoten, Inc. (SDS) obtained a business license as a "manufacturer of edible fat and oil." Our Gold Tea Oil is produced in our factory by extracting oil from tea seeds using our own seed press. Our business partners include experts in food research and development institutes and other experts working in academia and private sectors in Shizuoka.
A brief chronology of events includes:
2015 Obtained a business license as a "manufacturer of edible fat and oil."
2015 Approved by Shizuoka Prefecture as a management innovation business.
2016 Certified by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a business to operate with regional industrial resources.
Winner of Special Judges' Prize, 2017 Seasoning Championship organized by Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association
Winner of Gold Prize, Fujinokuni New Product Selection
Winner of Grand Prize, 2018 Good Design Shizuoka (Shizuoka Governor's Award)
Featured on many TV programs in Japan
Working with Farms
We purchase tea seeds from tea farmers at the same price as tea leaves to boost their income, prevent tea farms from being abandoned, and protect the beauty of tea fields that attract many visitors to Shizuoka. Tea seeds are harvested in October through December. In partnerships with tea farmers and agricultural cooperatives across Shizuoka, we have a system in place to ensure stable yields of tea seeds.
Working with the Community
We are also working with welfare facilities to train skilled workers for the production of the oil. The "House of Yamakko" trains disabled young adults in jobs involving light work. In one such training they learn to sort the tea seeds that SDS supplies for processing. It is simple but important task for making good quality oil.
Benefits of Gold Tea Oil
by Isao Tomita, Doctor of Pharmacology, Emeritus Professor, University of Shizuoka
Comparison with Other Edible Oils
Compared to the chemical compositions of other edible oils, Gold Tea Oil (tea seed oil) is rich in oleic acid, which is a monovalent unsaturated fatty acid commonly found in olive oil. Gold Tea Oil also contains linoleic acid, a divalent unsaturated fatty acid, by twice the amount found in olive oil. Overall, Gold Tea Oil has a fatty acid composition similar to that of peanut oil. (Refer to Table 1)
Gold Tea Oil as Antioxidant
Gold Tea Oil (tea seed oil) is higher in antioxidant activity than other edible oils, partly because it is rich in oleic acid that demonstrates resistance to oxidation, and partly because it contains β-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A known for its antioxidative property, as well as vitamin E and CoQ10, as shown in Table 1. Gold Tea Oil shows antioxidant activity equivalent to the one of theaflavin gallate (TFG-A) among other antioxidative substances.
CoQ10 in Gold Tea Oil
It was discovered that Gold Tea Oil (tea seed oil) contains CoQ10, a coenzyme that coexists with vitamins E and C to protect our body from the harmful effects of active oxygen. Our body produces active oxygen for different reasons including stress, and this active oxygen is known to act on sugars, proteins (including enzymes), DNA, etc., to cause various diseases as well as aging. CoQ10 present in Gold Tea Oil, is believed to inhibit these harmful reactions of active oxygen to protect our health. (Refer to Figures 1 and 2)
All above research data courtesy of Isao Tomita [Doctor of Pharmacology, Emeritus Professor, University of Shizuoka]
Jazz up your favorite dishes with Gold Tea Oil!
You can use Gold Tea Oil just like any other food grade oil or seasoning, such as sugar, salt, vinegar, soy sauce, miso, spices and herbs. A dash of tea oil enhances the flavors of your dishes. Sprinkle it onto tofu together with salt, or dip sashimi in it instead of carpaccio sauce or soy sauce. There are endless possibilities of how you can use Gold Tea Oil in dishes. Here are some recipes developed by chefs in Japan.
By Mutsuko Tokunaga (Culinary Expert, Food Producer)
Gold Tea Oil Toast & Vegetable Omelet (for 2)
Tea oil toast
2 slices of bread
Gold Tea Oil as desired
Your favorite vegetables such as onion, cabbage, bell pepper, broccoli and grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Gold Tea Oil
- 2 sausages
- 1 tablespoon white wine
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper Directions:
- Toast the bread and sprinkle Gold Tea Oil and salt while hot.
- Cut onion, cabbage and bell pepper into 2-cm cubes. Slice sausages diagonally and cut broccoli into small pieces.
- Cook onion, cabbage and bell pepper in a frying pan or skillet with Gold Tea Oil. Add white wine and continue cooking until soft. Add broccoli, sausage and tomatoes.
- Add salt and pepper, pour in beaten eggs, and make a fluffy omelet.
Soy Milk Porridge with Gold Tea Oil (for 2)
- 1 bowl cooked rice
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2 teaspoons Gold Tea Oil
- 2 tablespoons dried young sardines and mitsuba Directions:
- Simmer cooked rice in 2 cups of hot water with dried young sardines, until soft.
- Add soy milk and turn off heat before boiling.
- Add salt to taste, sprinkle chopped mitsuba or green onion, and drizzle Gold Tea Oil for aroma.
Tea Oil Carpaccio (Spring to Summer) (for 2)
- 2 servings sashimi
- 2 slices tomato
- Pinch parsley
- Gold Tea Oil as desired
- Baby greens as desired Directions
- Arrange sashimi on a plate in single layer. Make a mound of baby greens in the middle.
- Sprinkle chopped tomato and parsley, salt, and ground pepper.
- Drizzle Gold Tea Oil just before serving.
Warm Tea Salad with Boiled Pork Slices (for 2)
- 200 g thinly sliced pork (for shabu shabu)
- 2 cabbage leaves
- Pinch parsley
- Shiitake mushrooms and carrot as desired
Tea oil dressing
- 2 tablespoons Gold Tea Oil
- 1 tablespoon citrus vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground sesame
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce Directions:
- Submerge and swish the pork briefly in boiling kelp stock. When the color of pork has changed, quickly remove the pork.
- Also cook vegetables for short time to keep their crunchiness. Put warm pork and vegetables together on a plate.
- Mix Gold Tea Oil dressing and drizzle it over. Mix and eat the pork and vegetables together with the dressing.
Editorial Supervisor Mutsuko Tokunaga: Tokunaga is a lecturer, celebrity cooking expert and author who is passionate about creating "Tasty, Stylish and Healthy" dishes. She is a president of Foodium Tokunaga and vice chairman of the World Green
All Rights Reserved.
Cold Matcha Tofu
- Cut Tofu with desired size
- Sprinkle with Matcha
- Sprinkle with your favorite Salt
- Add a drop of tea oil
Tea Oil Dipped Bread
- Warm and slice a baguette
- Add drops of tea oil to suit your taste
- Prepare your favorite vegetables
- Pour tea oil in a small bowl
- Add soy sauce to the oil
- Sprinkle with black pepper
- Dip the vegetables and enjoy!