Origins of Matcha

Nowadays, you may know about matcha through its variety of forms. From the original tea to cosmetics, matcha has become a household name, and rightfully so. Matcha has withstood the test of time because of its versatility and variety in health benefits and easy accessibility. But where did it all begin? The origin of matcha dates back centuries and we’re sharing its story with you.

The character ch’a is represents wooden branches, grass, and a man between the two.

In 2732 B.C.E. green tea was discovered by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung. He drank a brew made from wild leaves that had fallen into his pot of boiling water. Emperor Shen Nung loved the drink so much that he declared to have it made for him every day. He called this concoction ch’a. The written character of ch’a symbolizes the way tea made humanity at one with nature.

The origin of matcha with the Japanese Tea Ceremony comes after its discovery in China in the 9th-century C.E.

A Buddhist Monk named Eichu was one of the first people to bring the tea used in Chinese monasteries to Japan. He first introduced it to Emperor Saga of Japan, and three centuries later Japanese monasteries were drinking it. As a result, the relationship between the tea ceremony and Zen philosophy became a flourishing practice.

A Zen Monk named Eisai used a different process for making green tea and introduced it to Japanese monasteries in the 12th century. Even though the common way to make green tea back then was to brew the tea leaves, Eisai decided to ground the tea into a powder instead. He called this type of tea the “Elixir of the Immortals.” Its formal name is what we call it today: matcha.

So how did matcha become the tea in the Japanese Tea Ceremony?

Because of matcha’s effects on the brain, monks in Zen temples initially drank it to stay awake during meditation. Its ability to keep monks alert yet calm was astounding. These natural and simple qualities aligned with the values of Zen Buddhism. The Zen philosophy values mindfulness and inner peace. This, in addition to the harmonious and minimalistic approach of preparing ceremonial green tea, created a staple tea ritual. Ever since then, the Japanese Tea Ceremony has been practiced in Zen monasteries.

Monasteries still use matcha tea today because of its delicate practice of preparation, and its vitalizing and healing benefits. As the practice evolved, the ceremony encouraged participants to leave behind worldly attachments, and treat others with compassion and respect.

Tea-drinking and Zen have practically become synonymous over time. The tea-drinking ceremony still maintains Zen values throughout every aspect of the practice and ritual.

Matcha powder in a cup

Yum Matcha’s flavored matcha green tea is 100% organic ceremonial-grade matcha. It includes antioxidants to promote heart health and uses natural flavors and our very own natural sweetener, SweetenFX®. We have 15 different flavors for you to choose from and enjoy!

The Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a culmination of history, culture, and self-reflection dating back centuries. As a matter of fact, the Japanese Tea Ceremony is also known as “The Way of Tea.” Participants worshiped purity, harmony, and mutual tolerance, and the ceremony was designed to represent these values.