Matcha is not just the latest health or wellness fad. It may have only recently started gaining public attention in the West, but its unique history dates back nearly a thousand years.
What is the history of matcha?
The first use of matcha can be dated back to the Tang Dynasty in China, which occurred between the 7th to 10th centuries. The Tang Dynasty steamed their tea leaves into the shape of bricks to make the process of transporting and trading their tea simpler. When the leaves were ready to be prepared, they were roasted and ground to make a powder. This powder was then added to water and consumed.
This form of tea preparation caught the attention of a man named Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist Monk who spent most of his life studying Buddhism in China. When he returned permanently to Japan, he brought matcha seeds and this method of tea preparation with him. It was Eisai’s return to Japan that caused this form of tea preparation to rise in popularity.
Eisai introduced this tea preparation method to other Buddhistsin Japan, planting seeds around temples in Kyoto. It was only produced in small quantities at that time, which made matcha gain the reputation of being a luxury. In addition, the Zen Buddhists continued to develop new ways of cultivating the matcha plant. For example, they began to grow the matcha plant in the shade, a method which is now one of the reasons matcha is so popular.
Efforts to find new and improved ways to grow matcha tea continued over the years. However, it was not until the 1500s that a Zen student named Zoku developed a cohesive matcha tea ritual that included cultivation, consumption, and ceremony. The tea ceremony that he created is called “Chado,” which means “The Way of Tea,” and is still largely popular today. It contains the four following tenets: harmony (wa), respect (kei), purity (sei), and tranquility (jaku).
Matcha tea has a rich history, and being knowledgeable of its history can make you appreciate its unique qualities more. Today, it is believed that the best ceremonial grade matcha is grown in Japan. This is why our Organic Ceremonial Matcha Bag is sustainably sourced from Uji, a city just south of Kyoto where the first matcha seeds were planted in Japan.
With our traditional ceremonial grade matcha powder, you can make a restorative beverage that calms the body and mind.