The Japanese Tea Journey
The Japanese Tea Journey started around 805 AD near Kyoto, Japan as medicine brought from China. It quickly became popular among the country’s aristocrats and high priests. Tea also played a decisive role in the birth of Shogunate by saving Monamoto-no-Yoritomo, the first shogun, from a serious illness.
Ever since Eisai, the founder of Rinzai-shu, one of themajor Zen sects, called tea as “the medicine of immortality for the people of this great nation” in his “Kissa Youjouki”(Tea Health Care Manual), it has been inherited by generations of Japanese people, eventually establishing itself as an important part of Japanese culture through its Tea Ceremony.Eisai also wrote the oldest tea specialty book inJapan: Kissa Youjouki – How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea.The first sentence of the book reads, “Tea is the ultimatemental and medical remedy and has the ability to makeone's life more full and complete.”
The preface describes how drinking tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs, especially the heart. It discusses tea's medicinal qualities which include easing the effects of alcohol, acting as a stimulant, curing blotchiness, quenching thirst, eliminating indigestion, curing beriberi disease, preventing fatigue, and improving urinary and brain function. The secrets of production and delivery of this precious product were protected by the Samurai.
Today, the Samurai often refer to themselves as Gardeners. They have continued their passion to this day and still deliver tea in its authentic form as they have during the past 1,200 years.
They do not call it Samurai Tea any more, but it is still as good and is probably getting better as the Gardeners spend each day mastering their skills. They combine traditional methods, which date back to 805 A.D, with modern knowledge and technology in conjunction with the particular regional conditions to produce a premium quality product.
Each Gardener’s relentless main focus has been to produce a better tasting, more nutritious tea with each coming new year.
Many Gardeners have their own small processing factories right next to the field, so that the raw product does not need to travel great distances. This minimizes the degradation of quality inherent in many other teas which are subject to long distances in order for the leaves to be processed. Such shipment causes various trauma to the tea leaves, where storage in even temperatures is critical in preserving its taste and nutritional benefits. These Gardners will store the tea locally under appropriate conditions until you are ready to consume it.
It takes a lot of work to do it right, it is laborious, but its affordability and beneficial qualities equate to such priceless dedication.
Let me clarify: Our teas are not “organic”. In fact, when we asked the Gardeners about organic they laughed and said “Why would we lower our standards to make a tasteless, more expensive product?”
Japanese tea signifies the highest form of Japanese hospitality and its spirit.
Thank you joining this fascinating journey!
Here are some Gardeners’ tips for you to enjoy the tea same way they enjoy is since year 805 AD:
• Keep your tea leaves away from any sun exposure, moist and harsh temperatures.
• Do not exceed 1 hour from the moment you start preparing the tea until the time you finish consuming it.
• When you first receive your sealed tea it keep it in refrigerator (never in freezer). After you open it. Do not put it back in the
refrigerator but keep it in the cupboard to maintain room temperature.
• Matcha tea can also be used for desserts, baking, adding to salads or dressings.
• After drinking the tea, many leaves can be used for salad.
• Tea leaves can be used as odor eliminators in the refrigerator or closet.
• Tea leaves can be wrapped in cloth and used as a compress or mask.
• Tea leaves can be put in your bath for detoxification or used as fertilizer for your garden.
• A Dr. Samejima in Kakegawa, Japan uses green tea in his practice to heal bed sores.
• To ensure an even strength, pour the tea a little at a time into each of the teacups, in turn.
• As the essence of the tea’s flavor is contained in the last drops, it is important not to leave any tea in the teapot.
• When brewing a 2nd and 3rd pot of tea, no steeping is required; just add water at recommended temperature to teapot
• Each tea should be prepared according to the recommended proportions of water and leaves with correct temperature and
timing. Always bring water to a rolling boil before lowering to recommended temperature.
Never stir or shake the tea pot during brewing time.