Tucked at the end of an alley not far off the start of the shopping street in Hiro-o, Trueberry has become everything founder Naoko Nishimura envisioned three years ago. A mother of two, Naoko realized that good quality juices were neither easily nor widely available. It might not seem like a distant past, but the concept of cold pressed juices and clean eating was uncommon in Tokyo three years ago and remains relatively foreign to the average Japanese. Naoko decided to end her search; she was to create exactly the juices and smoothies she wanted, using the ingredients she believes in, for her family and others who also share in her quest of healthy living.
In life, timing is everything — and so it is with making the perfect smoothie. The process goes beyond throwing it all in the blender and letting the machine do the work. Certainly, starting with the freshest available ingredients never hurts. But it appears timing and experience is what makes a good smoothie great. The team at Trueberry share that it is easy for smoothies to be overblended; not only are key nutrients destroyed by prolonged exposure to heat, but the taste of the smoothie is also adversely affected. Some ingredients, like herbs, lose their flavor when blended for too long; other ingredients change for the worse when broken down too much. You can be assured that this will not happen at Trueberry as the team is committed to making smoothies and juices without compromising taste or nutrition.
Unique to Trueberry are smoothies that use traditional Japanese superfoods like Amazake and Kuzu. Amazake is a traditional non-alcohol drink made from fermented rice. High in fiber, niacin and thiamin and low in fat, Amazake is traditionally fermented at home and drank on its own. These days, very few homes make their own Amazake and though re-gaining popularity, it is less frequently consumed. Trueberry makes their homemade Amazake, which is made with brown rice Koji (rice lees) and fermented for 8 hours.
The other traditional ingredient used in Trueberry’s smoothies is the Kuzu root. Being high in flavanoids, the Kuzu root has traditionally been valued for its ability to heal and balance natural sugars in the body, alongside its detoxifying qualities. With no distinctive taste of its own, adding the Kuzu root to Trueberry’s smoothies means packing in the benefits without altering the taste.
There are a number of hot smoothies on Trueberry’s menu that use both their homemade Amazake as well as the Kuzu root. Popular is the Amazake ginger Kuzu hot smoothie with raw cashews, dates, ginger powder and natural salt are added. Smooth and thick, almost resembling breakfast oatmeal, this smoothie is almost a meal in itself.
Aside from smoothies, Trueberry serves up meals which are as tasty as they are healthy. The fermented brown rice is worth a mention; it may look like the humble onigiri but it packs a full flavor and is by far more nutritionally dense. The specially selected brown rice is cooked in a pressure cooker for over 2 hours and fermented for at least 3 days after. The result is chewy rice grains with a full nutty flavor and an addictive chewy bite. Served in a set with the fermented rice is Trueberry’s very own homemade vegetable pulp soup. The soup varies a little from time to time as the pulp depends on the seasonal mix of vegetables and fruit. Homemade Shio Koji (salt lees) is added to the soup to give that satisfying umami taste that keep people coming back for more.
Also popular on the menu is the veggie roll, which is an inspired vegan version of the maki roll. Julienned organic root vegetables, avocado and lettuce are rolled with rice in a crisp seaweed sheet. Finish off with a soup or a warm smoothie for a complete meal.
Whilst you are there, pick up a bottle or two of Trueberry’s organic cold pressed juices. Made fresh daily, the juices are subject to availability as they run out fairly quickly. All organic fruit and vegetables used in their juices are the season’s best and sourced domestically to ensure that you get the best nutrients your body needs right now. Unlike some juice bars that dilute their juices with water or coconut water, Trueberry juices are 100% pure fruit and vegetable. Do keep your Trueberry juice bottle for your 60¥ rebate upon your next visit.
Also short on supply and high in demand is Trueberry’s kombucha fermented in the store. Jars of Kombucha sit fermenting in a row as you enter. Only organic black tea and sugar is used for the Kombucha. When we visited, fermenting in the jars were a few flavours – chai, earl grey and rooibos. The good news is that they accept advance orders for the Kombucha. The Trueberry team recommends calling ahead as far as a week ahead to reserve a jar or two to avoid disappointment.
Should you be looking for a gift, have a look at the selection of interesting cookies out front. Certainly the likes of raw almond cookies, buckwheat cookies and even sake lees cookies will make unique gifts – all are vegan and most are free from gluten, refined sugar and soy. Apart from the cookies, Trueberry’s special herb tea blends also make complementary gifts. Choose from the Moon blend herb tea or the Venus blend herb tea, both of which deliver health benefits.
In addition to Hiro-o, Trueberry is also conveniently located in the neighborhoods of Naka Meguro and fashionable Omotesando.
Trueberry Organic Juice in Hiroo interior sho