Tea Ceremony is one of the incontestable symbol Japanese history and culture. It isn’t just like sipping tea or coffee in our couch in a lazy afternoon to pass the hours. It is a ceremony that reflects the strength of the Japanese principle as harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.
It was perfected by Sen-no-Rikyuu in the 16th century. Sadoo, as it is called in Japanese, consists of two kanji 茶道 which literally means tea and way – the Way of Tea.
The items needed to prepare for the ceremony are as follows:
1. Powdered green tea (matcha)
2. Tea Caddy (natsume in the local language) which is a container for powdered green tea
3. Water ladle (hishaku)
4. Kettle (kama)
5. Brazier (huro)
6. Jug of water (mizusashi)
7. Kinsui -container for waste water
8. Clean cloth (chakin)
9. Tea bowl (chawan)
10. Tea scoop (chashaku), which is made of bamboo
11. Bamboo tea whisk (chasen)
1. Boil water with the brazier and kettle and let it sit.
2. Warm the tea bowl by pouring a little amount of hot water into it. Whisk the plain water by using the bamboo tea whisk then discard the water into the kensui. Wipe the tea bowl using the cloth and dry it very well.
2. Using the tea scoop, put two to three scoops of green tea into the tea bowl.
3. Pour on just enough amount of hot water into the tea bowl (about 1/4 -1/3 of the tea bowl).
4. Using the bamboo tea whisk, whisk the mixture briskly. Imagine forming a zigzag when you whisk. Do it as fast as you can until you see bubbles forming from the liquid.
5. When the liquid gets bubbly, whisk it slowly back and forth and pop the bubbles. Once the liquid is frothy, it is now ready to drink.
Don’t get too excited to drink the tea right away. There is a certain way and manner to drink it that you need to follow:
1. Lift the chawan with the right hand and place it on the left palm.
2. Rotate the tea bowl clockwise three times.
3. Drink the tea quietly.
4. Wipe the tea bowl with the fingers.
5. Rotate the tea bowl counterclockwise three times.
6. Express your thanks.
At the tea party, you have to be careful not to step on the border of tatami and it is a manner to say “Kekko na otemae deshita” which means in English “It was a good tea”, after tasting it.
Sweets are served and eaten first before drinking the tea to balance the bitter taste of the green tea.