Matcha Origins: The History of Matcha

So where does matcha come from? This funky green powder has a long and rich history, so lets take a look back at it’s origins.

The story starts in China during the Tang Dynasty (7th-10th century). It was a period of experimentation with tea, where the leaves were ground into a fine powder and whisked with hot water. This preparation method gave rise to what we now recognise as matcha. The Chinese referred to this powdered tea as "whisked tea.”

Bamboo matcha whisk whisking frothy matcha green tea

Journey to Japan

In the 9th century, Japanese Buddhist monks who had traveled to China brought back knowledge of tea culture, including the art of powdered tea. This marked the introduction of powdered tea to Japan, albeit in a form still reserved for the elite and Buddhist monasteries.

Zen monk sat at in Japanese garden drinking matcha

A Turning Point

Matcha’s development in Japan came with the spread of Zen Buddhism in the 12th century. Zen monks began cultivating tea plants and refining the process of grinding and whisking powdered tea. Matcha became an integral part of the meditation rituals of Zen monks as it helped them stay focused through long meditations. This is when it really began to find its place in the heart of Japanese culture.

One of the most influential figures in the history of matcha was Sen no Rikyu, a tea master from the 16th century, who played a pivotal role in popularising matcha and shaping the Japanese tea ceremony as we know it today. His teachings emphasized simplicity, humility, and purity in the preparation and consumption of matcha, which remain key principles of the tea ceremony.

A Shift in Popularity

The history of matcha is not without its ups and downs. Throughout the centuries, various historical events, including wars and societal changes, impacted the production and consumption of matcha. During the Edo period (17th-19th century), matcha faced a decline in popularity due to trade restrictions and the emergence of other types of tea.

Girl in beautiful setting enjoying a MatchaMatcha UK ceremonial grade matcha green tea

Matcha Goes Global

In the 19th and 20th centuries, matcha experienced a resurgence in popularity. Advances in production and distribution made it more accessible to the general public. It was started to become recognised for its health benefits, thanks to its high antioxidant content and various nutrients. Matcha, once a symbol of aristocracy, became a beloved beverage that transcended geographical and social boundaries.

At Matcha Matcha we strive to provide an authentic and quality experience, sourcing our matcha from Uji, Japan - a region commonly known for being the home to the highest quality matcha in the world. Care is taken at every step of production and our master tea blender quality checks every batch to make sure it is up to scratch. To read more about our process, visit Our Matcha’.

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