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What is Matcha and why's it so special?  

This is actually one of the most common questions I get asked.

The simple answer is that Matcha is a powdered green tea, which is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony. As to what makes it special, well that really depends on whether you want it for the fantastic health benefits associated with it or you have an interest in the tea ceremony and really want to experience the pinnicle of Japanese tea culture.

Over the next page I will try and give you an overview of this fantastic tea and hopefully clear up any confusion there may be about this increasingly popular Japanese export.

What is the tea ceremony?
What is its purpose?

Dating back hundreds of years, the tea ceremony is a very specific ritual whereby every movement and action is predetermined and allows the participants to make, serve and enjoy a bowl of matcha. It's purpose is to bring together its participants in a social setting for the appreciation of tea and its surrounding arts.

As well as the aesthetic nature of the tea ceremony, its governing principle is to gather together a small number of friends to partake in a meal, drink green tea and enjoy a brief respite from the concerns of our increasingly busy lives.

In a similar way it is now traditional to receive a guest in a home or office in Japan with a cup of green tea.


To understand the tea ceremony you really need to appreciate the origins of green tea in Japan.

Green tea was first introduced to Japan form China in the nineth century and was initially recognised for its medicinal properties. 800 years ago the Zen monk Eisai credited tea with strengthening the internal organs and prolonging life.

In the fourteenth century tea gradually spread from the monks and monasteries into samurai culture, and then finally into te lives of common people where it was to take root in daily life as a recreational beverage. Thus green tea, initially a medicine, developed into the common drink it is today.


The Japanese tea ceremony or 'Chanoyu' which is still practiced in Japan, retains many aspects connected to its roots as a development of Zen reitual, and still holds a certain aura of mystery even in todays modern culture.

The drinking of matcha (powdered gyokuro green tea) in the tea ceremony was used as an aesthetic aid in Zen training, hence the inseperable link between tea and Zen. The ceremony itself does not however have a religious doctrine as such.