The modern-day matcha, which is available in various forms, is not a modern discovery or product, but its traces can be stretched back to the 8th century. At that time, matcha tea was used differently from the modern-day powdered form of matcha tea.
First Discovery of Matcha:
Shreds of evidence suggest that matcha tea leaves were first grown in China in the 8th century, where it was used in different forms other than its powdered form. A few centuries later, in the 12th century, it was introduced in Japan by a Buddhist monk, Myoan Eisai, who brought it to Japan from China when he searched for knowledge.
Myoan Eisai Brought Matcha Seeds to Japan:
In the 12th century, during his stay in China, Myoan Eisai discovered that matcha tea’s powdered form had a pleasant effect on the mind. So, he brought the seeds of Matcha green tea leaves with him to Japan and brought with him the knowledge of turning these leaves into powdered green tea form. In Japan, they discovered another method for growing these leaves. According to this method, the seeds were to be cultivated in the shaded ground. This way of growing these seeds is mainly responsible for its large number of health benefits.
Discovery of Myoan Eisai and the “Chao”:
Myoan Eisai, during his meditation sessions, noted some strange, unusual and soothing effects on his mind and brain. He traced this soothing effect to Matcha which he would consume before the meditation sessions. After this discovery in Japan, it became a traditional tea ceremony in the Japanese tradition and was termed “Chao” and can be found to date.
Use of Matcha for Religious purposes:
Before the 13th century, matcha was used as a means of attaining spirituality. Buddhists were supposed to sacrifice a bowl of matcha to the template every time they would visit a temple. This period in the history of matcha greatly intensified the match’s sacrality, which persisted in Japan’s people for a long time.
The modern-day “JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY”:
The Japanese tea ceremony is a beautiful part of Japanese culture that involves preparing and traditionally serving matcha. The development of this ceremony in the 15th century is credited to Murata Junko, a monk. He, along with one of his pupils, Sen-No-Rikyu, first practiced this concept. In this regard, historians believe that Rikyu was the primary influence in defining the concept of Wabi-cha, the Japanese “Way of Te, a” which is also known as “Chado” or “Sado.”
Rikyu was such a well-known master of preparation of matcha tea that he also served the great lords of the Sengoku Period. Unfortunately, he murdered himself for a bizarre reason in 1951. Historians write that he offended his lord and couldn’t forgive himself because he was drowned in a sea of shame due to his action.
The only solution that crossed his mind was to commit a “ritual” suicide to save his honor. Historians also write that he invited his close friends for a matcha tea party before taking his life and then killed himself at that party.
Starting from hundreds of years ago, matcha is still one of Japan’s most largely consumed products. However, statistics show a gradual decline inJapan’s consumption with a subsequent rise in its consumption in parts of the west. The powdered form of matcha, discovered during the 9th-12th century, is still known for its soothing and calming effects on the mind. The caffeine, theanine, antioxidants, and other nutrients found in the match, offer many other health benefits to its consumers.