Matcha tea has now completely arrived in Europe. But in Japan, drinking tea is much more than that. Tea ceremonies are a fundamental part of Japanese culture. In addition to their course, aspects such as paintings, architecture, garden art and ceramics also play a role in the enjoyment of tea. A master of ceremonies is supposed to guide tea drinkers:inside to harmony and self-discovery. The Japanese tea ceremony is bound by fixed procedures and rules - these have remained almost unchanged for over a thousand years.
Preparations for a Japanese tea ceremony
There are separate tea houses for the ceremonies. These consist of simple pavilions surrounded by a garden, through which a stone path leads to the tea house. Usually there is a small pool filled with water in the garden.
A maximum of five tea drinkers are allowed to participate in the ceremony, which lasts several hours. During this time, the guests sit cross-legged or kneel. The tea drinking is led by a so-called tea master, whose task it is to lead the tea drinkers on the tea way (Chado) and to make them tea people (Chajin). The Chado is supposed to lead to self-discovery and harmony. People of tea radiate warmth, serenity and tranquility.
Course of the ceremony
The course of the Japanese tea ceremony is fixed. It has hardly changed in the last thousand years.
Before starting to prepare the tea, the guests of the tea ceremony walk along the garden path to the tea house. The path made of stone slabs represents the detachment from everyday life. Afterwards, the participants wash their mouths and hands in a basin of water prepared by the master of ceremonies - this represents purification from all evil and bad. The shoes are taken off and after the tea master has sounded a gong five times, the tea room may be entered. There, everyone sits down on the floor in a predetermined seating order. Sitting cross-legged or kneeling shows humility and respect. During the tea ceremony, all participants are considered equal.
The preparation of the tea
With a silk cloth all utensils for the preparation are symbolically cleaned. Only then does the tea master begin the precisely planned procedure: In most Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha tea is prepared, which is said to have a positive effect on body and mind. Water is boiled over a fireplace and the matcha powder is stirred with the help of a small bamboo whisk.
Enjoying the tea
Drinking the tea is also regulated. As soon as the matcha is ready, the bowl is handed to the first tea drinker, often a guest of honor. The guest takes the first sip, which is accompanied by an audible slurp and many compliments about the tea. Afterwards, the tea bowl is cleaned with a cloth and passed around - from guest to guest. Meanwhile, there is witty chatter.
Four principles of the Japanese tea ceremony
The aim of the tea ceremonies and their rules is to influence the behavior and thinking of the participants - even outside the tea house. They should also become so-called tea people in everyday life. Tea people treat their fellow human beings with mindfulness and respect and take themselves back.
In addition to the regulations and goals, there are four principles of the tea ceremony:
The relationship of the participants among themselves, as well as in relation to nature and everything around them, should be harmonious.
Hosts and guests should treat each other with respect and appreciation.
The tea ceremony itself should provide a spiritual, inner purity.
The principle of silence stands for the experience of inner calmness and tranquility during the ceremony.
How can you integrate your tea ceremony into everyday life?
You don't need a tea master, a garden or a pavilion to integrate the Japanese tea ceremony into your everyday life. Even in the form of small tea breaks in which you allow yourself time and rest, you can reduce stress and recharge your batteries. Take half an hour a day for your tea. Take your time making it, choose a place to drink where you feel comfortable and maybe you have a favorite cup? In the hectic everyday life small breaks can help you to sort out your head and to take a deep breath. Maybe in a state of rest you will come up with one or the other idea or solution that would otherwise have been lost? For your little ceremony - try our powdered green teas Bio Matcha Mizu or Bio Matcha Yujin. If you prefer tea leaves for infusion, you can also bring Japanese flair into your cup with organic Sencha tea.