The history of tea in Japan ranges is all at once spiritual, industrial, and ceremonial. Introduced through the practice of Buddhist monks in the 9th century, tea drinking was soon adopted by the elite and ruling classes. Overtime, the practice of growing, maintaining, and cultivating improved, and green tea especially, was available to the masses. It’s health benefits were immediately honored. Routine drinkers noticed it’s positive effect on their attention, ability to meditate and connect with others, and it’s believed uncanny ability to clarify their skin and their body.
The Art of Wabi and The Tea Ceremony
In the 13th century, warriors began drinking matcha and was respected for it’s art of “wabi,” or quiet restraint and even subdued taste. The so loved tea ceremony held this in high regard and continues to be practiced today. You yourself, whether male or female, could host your own tea ceremony today by following these steps:
The host will wear a kimono and guests will wear formal or relaxed attire, determined before the event.
The host will summon the guests into a small room or location where they will purify themselves by washing their hands before entering.
Each utensil is ritually cleaned by the host in the company of the guests.
Talking is kept to a minimum and the host measures and pour an appropriate amount of tea into the bowl. By appropriate, we mean enough for each guest to have a taste.
The bowl is given first to the most honored guest and then passed around the table so that all may try a sip of hot beverage. Guests will turn the bowl as they receive it so that they do not drink from the same spot as their previous guest.
This tea ceremony will continue with other types of teas, the cleaning of the utensils again, followed by the exit of the guests.
The typical tea ceremony can last from one to five hours.
Today’s Japanese Industry
Mostly mechanically picked, except for those of the highest quality, green tea leaves are grown in many different Japanese provinces, but the majority of the bushes are grown between Mt. Fuji and West of Tokyo on the Pacific Coast.
The Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Tea
While tea manufacturing began in China, you’ll reap the benefits of drinking tea much more prolifically if you choose tea that’s been grown and processed in Japan. The best leaves are those that have been processed and “oxidized” as little as possible. Japanese tea manufacturers halt this oxidation process by steaming their tea leaves, while Chinese tea lacks this crucial step and instead pan-fries their tea.
What are the Health Benefits of Drinking Tea?
There are so many health benefits of drinking tea that many health care providers encourage the drinking of tea over coffee. Some of these health benefits include:
Improved skin and mucous membranes
Decreased overall blood pressure
Reduced blood sugar
Tooth decay prevention
Neronal cell production
Improved vision, especially at night
Ceremony Japanese Teas Available for Purchase