Saturday, May 23, 2009

Japanese Tea Ceremonies

During the week before we left for Korea, two of my adult conversation classes taught me about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony by demonstrating in person!

whisking the tea before serving

The basic steps are:
- Boil some water.
- Use the tea scoop to put one or two scoops of green tea powder into your large Hagi pottery bowl.
- Add boiling water to the powder in the bowl (not too much, only about 3 large gulps of water... see picture)
- Briskly whisk the tea powder and water together in each bowl until a nice layer of foamy bubbles forms on the tea.
- Then you serve the tea to your guests (one Hagi pottery bowl per guest).

There are a series of ceremonial steps that I've skipped here, but I couldn't remember them all and didn't want to make a mistake, so I'll leave that extra research up to you!

properly whisked tea

These were quick ceremonies done during or in between classes, and I was told that they weren't truly "authentic", but I certainly learned something new and we all definitely enjoyed ourselves!

tools: (clockwise from left) whisk, red bean sweets and pastry, Hagi bowl with tea, bamboo tea scoop, green tea powder

One of my classes held the ceremony after class at my student's home where she showed us her beautiful rose bushes, green tea ceremony room, and very nice kitchen! The other ceremony was held during class, and we tried to use as much English as possible to explain the process. One of my students even brought a large book (in English) that was all about the Japanese tea ceremony history, and we read a few excerpts from that for practice!

More photos from our Green Tea ceremonies.

When you're having regular Japanese green tea, you usually drink it out of much smaller Japanese style teacups, no whisk required. Typically, you boil the water, then pour the water into a little Japanese tea pot (kyusu) that has dried tea leaves in it and a metal strainer (to prevent the leaves from getting out of the kettle), then pour the tea from the pot into your little teacups. But some people just put tea bags or tea + strainer into the boiling water and skip the middle step.

More Japanese Green Tea Ceremony info at Wikipedia

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