Have you ever attended to a formal Japanese tea ceremony? You might be surprised to hear that the formal tea ceremony takes around four hours. During the formal tea ceremony, guests eat a beautifully presented traditional simple meal (usually rice, soup, fish and seasonal vegetables), one main beautiful crafted confection (usually made of bean paste) and dry sweets (usually candies or rice crackers) to enhance the flavour of tea, and two types of Matcha. One is Koicha (thick tea) and the other one is called Usucha (thin tea).
Around the 15th century, Juko Murata started the style of Chado (tea ceremony) which was completed by Riku Sen who added the idea of Zen to Chado. You may remember that Theresa May was welcomed by the Japanese Prime Minister by being served the traditional tea in Kyoto, when she visited Japan in August 2017 to discuss a trade ties after Brexit. It is not a surprise that tea utensils were carefully selected for Mrs May and they even chose a Wedgewood jug for tea preparations to show their respect for the British great works. I can easily guess that the tea ceremony was a shorter version for two busy Prime Ministers but even if you are not Prime Minister, four-hours tea ceremony might be too long?
But please don’t give up to try Japanese ceremonial tea which is called Matcha! You can prepare and enjoy Matcha at home or anywhere if you have a Matcha utensils set. I was extremely impressed to see one western looking lady brought her Matcha utensils set to breakfast in one of the hotels in Dusseldorf to enjoy her own Matcha. All she needed was hot water. She looked very calm and beautiful with her movement to prepare Matcha which hugely inspired me.
Matcha is made of Tencha. Tencha tea fields are covered 25 days before the harvest. After plucked, Tencha leaves are steamed but not rolled then dried and stone ground to make Matcha fine powder. Because you can take the whole tea leaves by grounding, Matcha is the purest form of tea and often described as a super food. It’s possible to consume Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and dietary fibres etc which cannot be ingested with tea brewed in a teapot. The study shows that Matcha has stress reducing effects and also good for a brain function.
According to the Japanese tea industry estimation, only 5% of Matcha production is used for ceremonial tea and the 95% is for food processing. Especially after Haagen-Daz launched Matcha ice cream in 1996, the use of Matcha for food processing has rapidly increased.
I also enjoy to bake Matcha cakes, make Matcha latte and smoothies. I’ll introduce my recipes in a future blog.
Now these beautiful Matcha utensils sets made in Kanazawa, Japan are available at LoveOcha online shop.
Enjoy your tea!