Tea, or Camellia sinensis, conquered the 18th century world. We celebrate tea with an extra special cuppa, performed in the Japanese chado or way of the tea.
What is chado?
Chado, or way of tea, also known as Japanese tea ceremony, has influenced Japanese culture for centuries, and for many it is the pinnacle of the Japanese arts. Early in the 9th century a Buddhist monk brought tea from China to Japan. To begin with, tea was for aristocratic people and monks, mainly for medicinal purposes, and it didn’t spread much.
After a Zen monk, Eisai, brought tea seeds and trees in the 12th century, tea farming started, and tea became popular. In the 16th century SEN Rikyu established the Urasenke school of chado (literally, the way of tea) by adding a spiritual and aesthetic discipline for self-refinement through the simple act of making tea. Since then the rank of Urasenke Grand Master has been hereditary. Grand Master, SEN Zabosai Soshitsu is the 16th descendant of Rikyu.
Understanding and appreciating chado come from practice and study. Over 400 years of knowledge, wisdom, history, and culture lie behind the movements, utensils, and surroundings for the preparation of matcha (a form of green tea).