Tea Around the World: Japan and The Matcha Tea Ceremony

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The Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Chanoyu, AKA The Way of Tea, is a timeless tradition and has been central to Japanese culture since the 1400’s. Complete with its own a code of ethics and morals, this matcha tea ceremony represents a way of life and a state of mind, all revolving around four basic principles: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. If patience is a virtue, the Way of Tea is as virtuous as it gets.

Tea Around the World: Japan and The Matcha Tea Ceremony

Cha, Cha, Cha

There are two types of Chanoyu: the Chaji and the Chakai.

The Chaji is the most formal of the two and can last up to four hours. It includes a reception, a meal then a short pause, followed by a full tea ceremony. The Chakai is a shorter version that lasts about 30-45 minutes. This condensed ceremony features a light matcha served with sweets.

Step by Step

As mentioned above, there is a specific set of tools required for an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. To set up your Chanoyu, you’ll need a cloth napkin (linen or hemp), a tea bowl, a teaspoon and a tea whisk.

There is also a set of guidelines that must be followed. While each carries specific meaning and actions, the seven Rules of the Tea Ceremony are described as follows:

  1. Arrange the flowers as they grow in the fields.
  2. Arrange the charcoal to heat the water.
  3. In summer, evoke coolness.
  4. In winter, evoke warmth.
  5. Take care of everything ahead of time.
  6. Be prepared for rain.
  7. Give every one of your guests your full attention.

So how exactly do these steps translate into a cup of matcha? This video does a great job explaining it.

But whether you’re a master or new to to matcha, the most important rule of the tea ceremony is to respect your guests and surroundings. Happy whisking!



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