This is the third region in Tommy Gunns' series...
727 – The Chinese send tea as an official gift to the Japanese Emperor.
794 – Tea is planted in the Imperial Gardens in Heian, now Kyoto.
900 – Japanese monks studying in China Return with tea.
1191 – A monk returns from China with tea seeds, plants them, and writes the first tea book in Japan. He also introduces powered green tea.
1400’s –Tea is popularized.
1477 – First tea room created by a monk in his palace.
1584 – First public teahouse.
Today, the Japanese are known for their elaborate tea ceremony. Watch this beautiful, artistic presentation on You Tube. It’s a wonderful example of being present in the NOW! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tt7NBIVeMY.
There are four principles to the matcha tea ceremony: Wa – Harmony, Kei – Respect, Sei – Purity, Jaku - Tranquility.
When preparing tea in the ceremony all attention is directed at the predefined movements. It is not about drinking the tea, but aesthetics. A word associated with the tea ceremony is wabi, which translates to appreciation of the simple and natural.
Cast iron kettles, Tetsubin, are popular for making tea. They’ve been around since the 17th century and have been used historically for heating water, preparing tea, and heating a room.
In Japan there are many tea drinks that still haven’t made it to the US on a popular level. Be on the lookout for the following teas, as US consumption explodes.
Bata Bata - Made with fermented tea, similar to pu-erh. Eaten with pickles, fried tofu or other snacks.
Matcha - Powdered green tea that is whisked into hot water. Used in foods, smoothies and lattes too.
Iri Ko - Tea paste made with corn powder or soba powder and bancha tea.
Obuku Cha - New Year’s tea made with plums and seaweed.
Life’s toiling, the water’s boiling, drink more tea!