Matcha Tea has arrived completely in Europe. But in Japan, drinking tea is much more than just that. Tea ceremonies are an elementary part of Japanese culture. During the tasting, aspects such as paintings, architecture, garden art and ceramics also play a role in tea enjoyment. A master of ceremonies should lead the tea drinker to harmony and self-discovery. The Japanese tea ceremony is tied to fixed procedures and rules - these have remained almost unchanged for over a thousand years.
Preparations of a Japanese tea ceremony
There are tea houses especially for the ceremonies. These consist of simple pavilions surrounded by a garden, through which a path of stone slabs leads to the tea house. Mostly in the garden is still a small basin filled with water.
At the multi-hour ceremony, a maximum of five tea drinkers may participate. During this time, guests are sitting cross-legged or kneeling. The drinking of tea is led by a so-called tea master, whose task is to lead the tea drinkers on the tea path (Chado) and to help them becoming tea masters too (Chajin). The Chado should lead to self-discovery and harmony. Tea masters radiate warmth, serenity and tranquility.
Order of ceremony
The course of the Japanese tea ceremony is firmly regulated. It has hardly changed in the last thousand years.
Before starting to prepare the tea, guests of the tea ceremony go over the garden path to the tea house. The path made of stone slabs stands for the separation from everyday life. Afterwards, the participants will wash their mouths and hands in a water basin prepared by the master of ceremonies - this means the cleansing of all evil. The shoes are taken off and participants may enter after the tea master lets sound a gong five times. There, all sit in a predetermined seating order on the floor. Sitting cross-legged or kneeling shows humility and respect. During the tea ceremony all participants are considered equal.
With a silk cloth, all utensils are symbolically cleaned for preparation. Only then does the tea master begin the exact process: in most Japanese tea ceremonies Matcha tea will be prepared because of its positive effect on the body and mind. Water is boiled over a fire pit and the matcha powder is mixed with the help of a small bamboo broom.
The tea drinking is regulated too. As soon as the matcha is ready, the bowl is served to the first tea drinker, often a guest of honor. He drinks the first sip accompanied by an audible slurp and many compliments about the tea. Then the tea cup is cleaned with a cloth and passed on - from guest to guest. Meanwhile, conversation has to be clever.
Four principles of the Japanese tea ceremony
The aim of the tea ceremonies and the associated rules is to influence the behaviour and thinking of the participants - even outside the teahouse. They should also become everyday so-called "Tea masters" in everyday life. Tea masters meet their fellow humans with mindfulness, respect and take back themselves.
In addition to the regulations and goals, the four principles of the tea ceremony are:
The relationship between the participants, as well as in relation to nature and everything around them, should be harmonious.
Hosts and guests shall meet with respect and appreciation.
The tea ceremony itself should provide a spiritual, inner purity.
The principle of silence stands for the experience of inner serenity and tranquility during the ceremony.
How can you integrate your tea ceremony in everyday life ?
You do not need a tea master, garden or gazebo to take anything from the Japanese tea ceremony into your everyday life. You can also do it during small tea breaks in which you treat yourself to time and peace, you can reduce stress and recharge your batteries. Take half an hour a day for your tea and look for a place to drink where you feel comfortable. Do you have a favorite cup? In the hectic everyday life, you can take a few small breaks to sort your head and breathe deeply. For your little ceremony, try our powdered green teas Bio Matcha Mizu or Bio Matcha Yujin. If you prefer tea leaves to infuse, you can also bring Japanese flair of Bio Sencha Tea in your cup.