Things Return as They Were ~ Japanese Matcha Tea

Japanese tea ceremony is a formal presentation.  Tea service is the winter presentation. This tea ceremony is preparing and presenting the matcha tea. This tea ceremony is centuries old and is about purification, harmony, respect, and tranquility.

Matcha Tea Leaves Preparation 

This matcha is the highest grade of matcha specifically used for ceremonial tea. This tea has a stronger umami flavor. This blend of tea leaves specifically grown for the tea ceremony. The farmer covers the leaves shortly before harvest. This stimulates an increase in chlorophyll (increases the dark leaves) and amino acid (producing theanine). The handpicked leaves, only the highest grades of matcha tea are handpicked.  The leaves steaming prevents oxidation. The leaves are gently rolled, shaped, and dried (laying them flat to dry causes the leaves to crumble).  The leaves sorted by grade and slowly stone ground, watching the temperature of the stones hot stones causing a taste in the aroma. The Japanese matcha tea is a strong grassy flavor.

Japanese tea 4chion Lifstyle
Matcha

Sensei (先生), at the Japan House in Urbana, Illinois, discusses how the matcha tea is fabulous for the skin. She says, “it is high in vitamin C. When you wake up tomorrow your skin will feel renewed.” There are many benefits of matcha tea the include:

  • Burning calories (high concentration of catechins in the tea )
  • Decrease cholesterol
  • Increase energy
  • Improves immune system
  • Boosts memory

The tea is great for a wonderful set of health and wellness benefits, but the tea ceremony is a connection to the person.

Japanese tea 4chion Lifstyle
Japanese Tea Service

Japanese tea 4chion Lifstyle

Japanese tea 4chion Lifstyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matcha Tea Ceremony

The Japan House motto is,  “the Way of Tea,” representing nature, heaven, and earth. This tea service was a winter presentation. The mats are laid in the pattern that each guest sits and the hearth (tea warmer) is low to bring more warmth to the room. The hostess and guests bow to each other. The ceremony develops for westerners who find the traditional floor sitting difficult.  A chabana, a beautiful flower arrangement sitting to the side. The seasonal arrangement represents winter This connects the room to nature.  There is a connection to water, earth, wood, fire, and metal with the utensils used to prepare the tea.  This tea ceremony and ritual date back centuries with details being the key to the ceremony.

Japanese tea 4chion Lifstyle
Japan House Tea Service

Japanese tea 4chion Lifstyle

Japanese tea 4chion LifstyleJapanese tea 4chion LifstyleJapanese tea 4chion Lifstyle

 

 

 

 

 

The ceremony is a stand and bow. This takes place at the beginning and end of the tea ceremony. The hostess presents each guest with a sweet. These handcrafted sweets are eaten just before the tea service. The sweet enhances the matcha flavor.

The matcha tea preparation is meticulous and precise movements. The tea master prepares each chawan (茶碗), bowl, of tea with as if conducting a beautiful symphony. The hostess delicately scoops the tea powder into a ceramic cup, pours hot water from a hot iron kettle into the cup with a long-handled ladle, and then mixes the powder and water together with a bamboo whisk to create a thick tea. The chawan are bowls that have one side that is more beautiful than the other. The hostess presents the tea with the prettiest side facing the guest. Prior to drinking the tea, the guest turns the bowl 90 degrees to face the prettiest side back to the hostess. The bowl presented during the ceremony is a painted flower blossom.

The tea ceremony is one of purification even down to the socks worn. Hakama, they are white and clean representative of purity. The cleansing of the equipment in front of the guests is not to clean, but to show purity. Respect as the guest receiving bowl with the hostess and when the tea bowls presented to them bow to the person seated next to them. This as if to say this is for you, and the guest replies with a bow as if saying no please you go ahead.

The tea is a beautiful vibrant green with a strong earthy flavor. This is a time for the guest to focus and stay in the moment. Each step of the ceremony requires a focus and concentration to the ritual. The ceremony ends with the utensils being cleaned and placed back as when the ceremony started.

Things all returned the way they were except us. The ceremony brings a deeper sense of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility changing us while all else remains the same.

@4ChionLifestyle

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