In Japanese culture Matcha tea is not yours ordinary drink. Since 16th century, it is had been served and consumed as a part of a traditional ceremony created by zen master Sen-no-Rikyu. This short overview of the philosophy behind it and main steps. Get inspired, dear tear lovers, and set yourself a challenge!
Matcha drinking ceremony celebrates four key principles: harmony (wa), respect (kei), purity (sei) and tranquility (jaku).
The ritual is performed using the ceremonial grade matcha. As the name suggests, this sort is of a higher quality. It has a lush green colour , light odour similar to fresh grass and mild sweet taste. The main thing that sets it apart from culinary grade matcha is the fine texture which feels like powder makeup.
Depending on the grade of the powder there are two types of matcha beverages. The higher grades of matcha are used to make koicha, a thicker, denser and stronger tea, whereas the lesser ones are used for thinner and weaker tea known as usucha.
So what happens during the actual celebration? It could be compared to an exercise in mindfulness; peaceful, performed with grace and focusing on the present moment,
Before the ceremony begins, guests gather in machiai, a special room set up by the host. The first is a cleansing ritual that symbolizes the removal of dust from world: guests walk across a dew-covered ground. Also, everyone washes their hands and mouth with clean water from a stone basin to purify themselves thoroughly the ceremony.
After the purification the host acknowledges each guest with a silent bow as they walk in the tea ceremony area. Given how formal the ritual is, hosts serves small desserts or even a meal before the tea. Also, the host checks the teaware to make sure every piece looks immaculate and is perfectly clean.
Finally, the host prepares a group bowl of matcha tea that contains one to three scoops of the green tea powder per guest. To make the tea texture smooth, the hosts stirs the mixture of matcha and hot water with a bamboo whisk until it turns into a paste and then more hot water is poured in to make a thick nutritious tea.
These days Matcha ceremonies are still commonplace and there are tea lovers can choose from a variety of teaware kits designed specifically for the occasion. As per tradition, the decor used for Matcha rituals is very minimal and one of the typical features are hanging scrolls that with words of wisdom and simple flower arrangements.