3 things to know Matcha


Matcha is loved by people the world over. The history of tea in Japan began with matcha. Consuming the entire tea leaf via matcha is considered to have positive health and beauty effects due to its vitamins, minerals, and fi bers. Fresh, high quality matcha is a vivid green color. To preserve this pristine condition, keep out moisture and light, and store it in a cool location. Out of the variety of leaves available in Japan, we recommend Uji matcha from Kyoto. It boasts a solid position as one of the highest quality matcha teas.

There are two types of matcha. One is called koicha, or “thick tea,” with a more concentrated fl avor and an almost creamy texture. The other, most commonly served matcha is called usucha, or “thin tea.” Its fl avor is light enough for anyone to enjoy. When you come to Kyoto, don’t miss out on drinking matcha and fi nding your own favorite fl avor.


Sen no Rikyū -He effectively developed chanoyu to what it is today

Sen no Rikyū (1522-1591) is considered the founding forefather of the ‘way of tea’. Born to a merchant family in what is currently Osaka, he became a tea master, eventually serving the ruler of Japan at the time, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Up until then, tea was enjoyed in noisy and fl ashy teahouses with lavish utensils. The wabicha that Rikyū advocated pursued the beauty of asceticism in a minimalist Japanese sense. There are three schools which exist to this day that are from his direct lineage.




Many utensils are used in the way of tea, but let us introduce some basic ones. First is the chawan, or tea bowl (A). The matcha and hot water are poured into this, and a chasen (C) is used to whisk up the matcha. This utensil is carved from a single piece of bamboo that depending on it’s use has been spliced into 16 to 120 strands. A natsume (E) is used to store the matcha. They are usually lacquered, and some are even made by master lacquerers, serving as fi ne examples of craftsmanship.

  • A . Chawan (tea bowl). Vessel to mix and drink matcha. You can enjoy its texture and pattern visually while also enjoying how it feels texturally.
  • B . Chakin (tea cloth). Small cloth to wipe the tea bowl.
  • C . Chasen (whisk). Utensil with which the matcha is whisked quickly and rhythmically.
  • D . Chashaku (tea scoop). Utensil to scoop matcha powder from the natsume. It is said that the correct practice was for the host to carve one out for each individual tea gathering.
  • E . Natsume (tea caddy). A tea container in which to hold usucha, or “thin tea.”

When attending a tea gathering, the following should be observed by the guest. The chawan should be handled very carefully. It should not be lifted too far from the fl oor when it is being observed. Pick it up with both elbows resting on ones knees and take a closer look. Kobukusa (F) is sometimes necessary when observing the ceremony’s utensils. It would also be ideal to bring a kaishi (H) to place the sweet on and a kashikiri (I) to cut it as well.

  • F . Kobukusa (small cloth). It is a 15cm square piece of cloth. Many of the patterns used today are those that were favorites of tea masters of old.
  • G . Fukusa (cloth). It is used along with the kobukusa depending on the utensils used. Size varies according to the school of chanoyu.
  • H . Kaishi (paper). Paper used as a plate for the confectionery. It is folded and used with the circular side towards oneself.
  • I . Kashikiri (pick). Used to cut the main sweet. It is often patterned with various decorations, such as fl owers and animals.
  • J . Sensu (fan). Fans used for the tea ceremony are smaller than regular fans and are not used to cool oneself. It is the symbol of the guest and is used for greetings and viewing different items in the tearoom.

The information is current as of February 2016.