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How to Experience the Japanese Tea Ceremony for Yourself

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April 10, 2014

A Matcha Made in Heaven…

Can you imagine a tea ceremony so ancient and treasured that it is precisely orchestrated down to the tiniest detail? A ceremony that has been performed exactly the same way – with great solemnity and respect – for centuries?  You can tap into the spirit of Japanese culture by having your own version of the Japanese tea ceremony at home. Here’s how:

What is the Japanese Tea Ceremony?

Also called The Way of Tea, the Japanese Tea Ceremony revolves around glorious green matcha tea. Matcha is different from other types of tea in that it is a fine-ground powder made from Japanese green tea leaves. The bright green matcha powder is whisked in a bowl with hot water to form a frothy, nutrient-rich beverage. During the tea ceremony, the host meticulously cleans the tea tools, prepares the tea, and then shares the tea with guests before cleaning the tools again. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is rooted in respect and reflection – watch one here.

The Tools of the Trade

You can get a taste for the Japanese Tea Ceremony by investing in a few simple matcha accessories. Here at The Republic of Tea, we have everything you need to make beautiful and delicious matcha tea the authentic way.

For starters, you will need to decide what kind of matcha to make. Our matcha powder comes to you directly from the tea gardens of Japan, where the finest green tea leaves are ground to a soft powder at the peak of freshness. We offer premium quality matcha tea bags like Organic Double Green, organic matcha powder as well as exciting variations like U-Matcha Yuzu, and U-Matcha Ginger.

Once you have your matcha powder, you only need three simple tools to make authentic matcha at home – a bowl, a spoon, and a whisk. The preparation is easy – just spoon your matcha powder into the bowl, add hot (just short of boiling) water, and whisk until a nice foam forms on the surface. The resulting tea will be vibrant green in color with a healthful and refreshing taste.

Even if you do not own a kimono, you can still experience the tranquility of a Japanese Tea Ceremony in your own home – you simply need to carve out time to reflect and appreciate every moment as you carefully prepare your matcha tea.

Where Can I Find a Real Japanese Tea Ceremony?

Here in the United States, it can be hard to find an authentic tea ceremony. They do exist, though, and true matcha tea lovers will find it well worth the effort to seek them out.  Generally speaking, museums and embassies are a good place to start. If you’re on the East Coast, be sure to look up Urasenke Philadelphia. On the West Coast, Hakone is a beautiful destination that celebrates Japanese tea and culture.  One of our favorites is Japan House located at the University of Illinois.  If you know of any wonderful tea gardens in between, be sure to share your favorites with us!

Because of the growing Western interest in ancient Eastern tea rituals, The American Tea Masters Association has developed an American Tea Ceremony that is modeled on the ancient Japanese and Chinese practices. It’s fascinating to see how the ceremony has been adapted to suit modern tea drinkers, while maintaining a strong tie to the past.

Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit about the Japanese Tea Ceremony and how to perform your own at home.