We are in the middle of hot summer and we all need something cold and yummy to beat the heat. One of the all-time favorite ice creams is matcha, where every bite takes you to picture the green tea fields of Japan. Aside from its exotic flavor and the right balance of sweetness, this ice cream is truly Japanese and gaining popularity all over the world!
One would think that matcha ice cream is luxurious and sold exclusively at fancy ice cream shops. But don’t you know that we can easily get matcha ice creams at the nearby konbini (Japanese convenience stores)? But what’s equally surprising is that these konbini treats can rival the ones sold at gelato shops for a lesser price!
I conducted a fun taste test of all matcha ice creams I could find in top Japanese convenience stores and came up with a mouth-watering review of this amazing treat. Note that some ice creams are produced in limited editions, so read on and take your pick while these frozen goodies are still in every konbini’s freezers.
Haagen-Dazs Green Tea
Retail price: ￥318 including tax
The Haagen-Dazs ice cream brand is known all over the world but the most popular flavor in Japan is matcha. It is made from stone-ground green tea leaves, Hokkaido cream, skim milk, sugar, and egg yolks. The result gives you an exquisite cup of ice cream.
While taking a bite, you feel the refreshing grassy-like green tea flavor that mellowed down with the smooth cream. The texture is dense like premium ice cream. Overall, it gives you a relaxing experience perfect during summer nights.
Haagen-Dazs Matcha Kuromitsu Walnut Bar
Retail price: ￥318 including tax
Think of a matcha cake that comes in an ice cream form! This frozen treat has kuromitsu sauce (black sugar syrup) inside of it and is coated with chocolate matcha and chopped walnuts. The crunchy and smooth textures and different flavors give you an amazing experience with this limited-edition ice cream bar.
For me, it feels like a premium product because of its exquisite Japanese-inspired flavors and nice packaging. A bit expensive though but you should definitely give this a try.
Glico Sunao Kasane Matcha
Retail price: ￥173 including tax
Glico Sunao ice cream series is a healthy lineup of low-calorie treats. This two-toned matcha soft serve is a combination of strong Uji matcha (dark green) and mild, sweetened ones blended with Hokkaido cream (lighter green color). Every bite creates a fusion of sweetness and bitterness with the additional crunchy texture of the cone.
What’s even amazing about this product is that it is rich in dietary fiber derived from soy milk and corn. The sugar content is less at 9.2 grams making this ice cream a healthy option for weight-conscious people.
Morinaga MOW Uji Matcha
Retail price ￥162 including tax
Morinaga is a popular producer of dairy products in Japan and its ice cream lineup is excellent. Of all the ice creams I’ve tasted, this cheerful treat has the strongest green tea flavor. You can feel the umami and I just learned that the main ingredient is 100% Uji matcha from Marukyu Koyamaen, Kyoto Prefecture. Highly recommended to those who love the stronger and bitter notes of matcha.
Meiji Essel Super Cup Matcha
Retail price: ￥162 including tax
One of Meiji’s best-selling products is the Essel Super Cup series which features unique flavors and one of them is matcha. With more quantity and volume than any other ice cream cup product, this treat belongs to the milder intensity of green tea flavor. It’s like 60% cream and 40% matcha with a smooth texture. For those with a sweet tooth and attempting to taste matcha flavor for the first time, this ice cream is highly recommended for them.
On a hot summer day, konbinis are ideal for that quick cool down from the heat outside and offer a wide range of cheap and cheerful cold treats. Matcha ice creams never go out of season but they are always evolving with different packaging and flavors to match. Be sure to check out a nearby konbini where you’re in Japan.
Feature image by Taryn Elliott on Pexels
Learn more about what makes Japanese Summer so special on our online experience!