It is a rare occurrence indeed when a new product enters the market with 45 years of market testing behind it. Meet Mr. Green Tea, an elegant, premium ice cream thatâ€™s been the ultimate meal ending crescendo in fine Japanese and Asian restaurants for decades.
The ice creamâ€™s distinctive and only slightly sweet flavor and superior standards for wholesomeness are on point with todayâ€™s gourmet consumers, and in keeping it local, this nationally known commercial brand comes to us from Keyport, NJ.
And yes…there is a Mr. Green Tea behind the brandâ€™s nameâ€¦more correctly, three generations of Misters.
The story starts in Brooklyn in the early 1960â€™s. The ice cream market was a tight fraternity in those days. Only a handful of manufacturers produced good but not great blends in a limited number of safe flavors for sale to homes.
Santo (Sam) Emanuele, a first generation Italian businessman from Brooklyn with a background in the grocery and dairy
industry, and fellow ice cream man Rueben Mattus, knew that ice cream would never go out of style and that the market was ready for more flavors. In those days, high end Japanese restaurants were grand places, with geisha waitresses and elaborate designs. Sam saw a growing number of American patrons and knew their tastes.
He set about developing a line of Green Tea, Red Bean and Ginger ice cream that would appeal to the burgeoning Japanese restaurant trade. Mattus took a different path, developing the high end Haagen Daz brand for retail sale.
Imagine those conversations in the corner coffee shop in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklynâ€¦
In 1970, Sam acquired Lynn-Marie Ice Cream Company. With the help of the Japanese restaurateurs he serviced and his own standards for superior quality, Sam refined his Green Tea ice cream recipe, creating the exceptional blend that is still served today. Over the next 14 years, and with the addition of other flavors like Mango and Coconut, Mr. Green Tea became the dominant brand served in high end Asian restaurants, which grew even more when Samâ€™s son James joined the company. Jamesâ€™ larger than life vision, humor and personality made him a favorite.
James was responsible for developing a new line of products, called Mochi Ice, based on a dumpling of rice dough filled with a gooey sweet bean paste, a traditional Japanese dessert. James thought, why not refine the dough and replace the filling with ice cream inventing the delicate, melt-in-your-mouth ice cream confection called Mochi Ice, which looks like smooth river stones.
James passed away suddenly in 2002. Distraught by this tragedy, his older brother Richard took over the Mr. Green Tea helm. â€œI was so devastated by my brother Jamesâ€™s death, I felt I had to step in to honor his memory. This business is a labor of love.â€ Richardâ€™s desire to honor his familyâ€™s legacy, coupled with his keen business mind prompted major changes to Mr. Green Tea Ice Cream Company, positioning it to move to the retail market. Now his son Michael, a firebrand of enthusiasm, passion and tenacity has joined in, ready to take Mr. Green Tea to new heights.
Thatâ€™s why Mr. Green Tea, with its unique and memorable flavors and artistic bespoke packaging is now available in pints for retail customers. â€œThis is neverâ€¦nor will it ever beâ€¦ ice cream squirted into generic containers. This is a scrupulously crafted product with a consistent flavor that comes from the highest quality ingredients and a superior standard of production and delivery.â€ Michael continues, â€It amazes me that my grandfather was such a visionary to have created and refined progressive flavors like green tea, red bean and ginger that are so on target with todayâ€™s consumer. We married his vision with a pure simple product, just five ingredients in eye-catching pints that reflect todayâ€™s style. Itâ€™s that integration of three generations thatâ€™s coming to a market near you. â€
The superior quality ingredients will never be compromised. The milk is from artificial-hormone free cows, sweetened with pure cane sugar and flavored with all natural imported ingredients like exotic Australian Ginger, Japanese Azuki beans, and tender tea leaves, picked by hand, one at a time. Its creamy rich mouth feel, combines gracefully with delicate flavors in gorgeous soft colors.
Mr. Green Tea has received rave reviews from some of the most esteemed critics, including the NY Times and many celebrity fans â€” one of those being Martha Stewart, who served Mr. Green Tea at her staff holiday party, where every bit was devoured by her expert food researchers. In 2009, Mr. Green Tea was the darling of the Sundance Film Festival, where even the skinniest starlets couldnâ€™t resist the sophisticated delight. Locally, theyâ€™ve been featured on NJ101.5 The Jersey Guys Show and recently won the Judges Choice Award at the 94.3 The Pointâ€™s Dessert Wars. The competition drew crowds of over 800 dessert lovers.
Mr. Green Tea Ice Cream Company is available now in a growing number of specialty grocers around the area and if youâ€™d like to see it near you, send them a suggestion at www.MrGreenTeaIceCream.com. And if youâ€™re a restaurant and would like to sample Mr. Green Tea products, just call 732-446-9800.