Origins of Matcha

“The essence of the tea ceremony 

Is simply to boil water, 

To make tea, 

And to drink it—nothing more! 

Be sure you know this.”

THE WAY OF TEA: A RELIGIO-AESTHETIC MODE OF LIFE

Nowadays, matcha is available in all different forms, from beverages, baked goods, and dairy products, to health supplements and cosmetics. But the origin of matcha as we know it dates back centuries. 

Originating in Ancient China, tea was discovered in 2732 B.C.E. by Emperor Shen Nung when he drank a brew made from wild leaves that had fallen into his pot of boiling water. Shen Nung called this concoction ch’a.  Over 2,500 years later, a Han Dynasty Emperor decreed that ch’a would be written using a special character to symbolize the way tea made humanity at one with nature. 

The character ch’a was written to illustrate wooden branches, grass, and a man between the two.

Over time, the harvested tea was formed into tea bricks and cakes. Around the 8-9th century C.E., Buddhist Monks Saichō and Kūkai brought tea seeds from China to Japan. This form of tea became part of the tea drinking practice in Zen meditation. The belief in Oneness of tea and Zen continued to mature, until the Japanese Zen practice was adopted as part of Chinese Chan Buddhism. 

In the 12th century, Zen monk Myoan Eisai returned from a trip to China with tea seeds. But Eisai prepared his tea differently. Instead, he ground the tea into a powder before drinking it. Eisai called this type of tea the “Elixir of the Immortals.” But its formal name is what we call it to this day: matcha. 

Matcha was first drunk in Zen temples to keep people from falling asleep. Zen teaches that everyone can achieve enlightenment, but that mundane thoughts stifle it. The practice of ceremonial green tea drinking soon took place inside Zen monasteries, believing that enlightenment could be found in everyday activities. 

In the following century, powdered tea became the standard form used in monasteries for its vitalizing and healing benefits. The Japanese tea ceremony emphasizes the original benefits of tea drinking that had been brought by the Buddhist Monks: medical, social, and devotional. As the practice evolved, the ceremony encouraged participants to leave behind worldly attachments, and treat others with compassion and an understanding of the way things truly are. 

As Buddhism has spread throughout Asia, tea drinking and Zen have practically become synonymous. The tea drinking ceremony still maintains Zen practices throughout every aspect. 

Today, Yum Matcha’s flavored matcha green tea is made from 100% organic ceremonial-grade matcha. Our matcha is scientifically driven, with antioxidants to promote heart health, and to give you a boost of energy without feeling jittery. Our matcha is also tastefully crafted with SweetenFX®, our natural sweetener made from stevia and erythritol, and natural flavors like peach lavender and strawberry basil. With a smooth, rich taste and just the right amount of sweetness in every sip, Yum Matcha® wishes you a long, healthy, and happy life!   

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