Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist monk, has spent most of his life studying Buddhism in China, and in particular the principles of Chan, “zen”. In 1191, Eisai returned to Japan for good, bringing with him tea seeds as well as the Zen Buddhist methods of preparing powdered green tea.
Matcha was produced in extremely limited quantities and was a symbol of luxury . Matcha was considered a medicine and a meditation drink that provided energy and mental alertness for samurai and monks. Precious matcha has been for long time the preserve of the emperor, samurai and the Japanese elite.
The Japanese tea ceremony, a true art of livingIn the 15th century matcha started to be seen as a more spiritual pursuit, going hand in hand with the quest for simplicity. Simplicity was preached by the monk Murata Junko, founder of the Japanese tea ceremony as we know it today. It was one of his students, Rikyu, who defined the four principles of the Japanese tea ceremony:
Since then the consumption of powdered green tea has been the basis of a pure lifestyle, Chado or "Sado" (the way of tea). The Chado is what is today called the green tea ceremony and is inspired by the rituals of Zen Buddhism. The tea ceremony is a true art of living in Japan and matcha is still at the heart of this ceremony today.