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Traditional matcha tea ceremony in Japan

Posted by Amy on 13th June 2013

Traditional matcha tea ceremony in Japan

So I have recently returned from a whirl wind of a trip to Tokyo, Japan. If you have never been, I would strongly recommend adding this place to that list of destinations you must go to before you die.  There is something unique about this place that reminds me of that person you really liked at school but you could never really get to know. Tokyo is all at once elusive, quirky and fascinating.

Here at teapigs we know lots about the health benefits of matcha, how it’s grown and how it’s the only thing that will bring us out of that afternoon slump, but matcha tea ceremonies have been going on in Japan for over a thousand years and play a large role within Japanese culture, so I knew there was lots more to find out.

I attended a traditional matcha tea ceremony led by a trained tea master in the beautiful Chinzan-so Gardens that sit within the grounds of the impressive Four Seasons Hotel. It takes at least ten years to become a tea master so I felt very honoured to be able to take part in such a special event. 

The ceremony consisted of a series of very precise steps and graceful movements. These ranged from how many sips it should take you to finish the tea (3 ½ - the last sip being more of a slurp) to how high the hishaku (water ladel) should be when pouring the water into the kettle (very high, the louder the noise the water makes the better!)

The ceremony lasted about forty minutes and other than some very soft spoken instructions, the entire thing was conducted in silence. It was very therapeutic whisking hot matcha in such a tranquil environment and I’ve definitely been inspired to take my time when making my own matcha back in the office, and to give myself a moment. So as I’m stood in a kitchen in Brentford whisking my teapigs matcha, my mind is whisked off to a tea house hundreds of miles away, with the scent of cherry blossom flowing through an open window… bliss.