We’re all about matcha lately, from matcha lattes and ice cream to matcha infused beauty. It's considered the healthier alternative to coffee, where we get the same effective caffeine kick with an extra added antioxidant boost. We’ve seen it all - commercialized and detached from the ceremonial preparation and performance of a proper tea ceremony. While we love our share of all these matcha inspired treats and goods, we also want everyone to share a deep appreciation for matcha and the tea ceremony's Japanese roots in simplicity and serenity.
The tea ceremony is what makes the matcha more than just a drink, but an experience.
Imagine yourself walking into a room that's been reduced to it's bare essentials - it's spacious, clean, and easy to breathe in. Floors are covered in tatami, or rush-covered straw mats, that soften but support the ground you sit and stand on. Decoration is typically kept to a minimum, but what is presented to done quite elegantly: hanging scrolls with detailed calligraphy of poems and proverbs that are fit for the occasion and season, flower arrangements (also called chabana) that feature just a single blossom in a vase. The tea is often companied with wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets, to offset the natural bitterness of matcha.
Why so simple? The answer is just as straightforward. To make the matcha and its preparation the focal point of the presentation, but also to make the experience more about one's inner self and not the cluttered outside world. Tea ceremonies can be seen as an escape to serenity, where flavors and aesthetics are natural and sophisticated.
A major component to a tea ceremony is the skilled host who facilitates it with grace. Adorned in a timeless kimono, they display their fine tools and bowls, which are often handcrafted antiques, before their guests. Delicately, high-grade matcha powder is placed into a bowl and whisked with a bamboo tea whisk, as hot water is gradually added in to create a thin emerald green paste and then the perfect drinking consistency. The taste and texture of the perfect should wrap the entire tea ceremony experience together.
While going to a tea ceremony is not always accessible, it's the philosophy underneath that really counts- the four key concepts of...
Wa- harmony in nature
Simple to understand and simple to appreciate, let the spirit of a Japanese tea ceremony help you deepen your relationship with your self, your serenity, and your taste for matcha!