WHAT IS THE SIMILARITY BETWEEN TEA CEREMONY, MEDITATION, WEIGHTLIFTING AND BUSINESS?

Tea ceremony and meditation may seem unrelated to sports activities as weightlifting or building a business. Nevertheless, those activities are related in a very elementary way. This significant trait of all three activities is something that we often forget in our day to day lives. But remembering this can help us to live more thoughtfully, patient and happily.

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Q&A WHAT IS MATCHA TEA?

For a true matcha product the tea bushes are tenderly cultivated under well regulated shades and hand-picked for harvest. This allows the manufacturer to select only the freshest tenderest leaves. It goes without saying that in this case the amount of tea that can be produced is limited. It thus doesn’t surprise that a matcha of this quality is near to impossible to obtain in the West.

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Q&A CAN THE TEA CEREMONY BE USED AS A FORM OF MEDITATION?

As human beings we need times to reset, to relax and to take a breath. We can’t continue moving forward at all times. Sometimes we need to pause for a moment to refuel, or we need to stand still to be able to fully take in what is going on in our immediate surroundings. Doing all this ‘on the go’ is immensely exhausting.

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Q&A HOW DID YOU BECOME A TEA MASTER?

In this post I answer several questions about the beginnings of my journey as a tea master. Tea changed my life for the better. Discovering Japanese culture as a young adolescent in Belgium completely changed the course of my life. I could have never imagined the way things turned out for me.

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Q&A WHAT IS THE JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY?

First what I feel is important to indicate is that the term ‘tea ceremony’ is a mistranslation. The word ‘ceremony’ only partially captures what the practice really is and calls for misunderstandings about the concept. It is a ritual but one that is not only used for ceremonial purposes. It essentially is a rite of hospitality, and that is why we prefer to refer to it as ‘the rite of tea’.

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JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY STEPS

Regardless of the tradition or style in which a service of tea is conducted, one single such service comprises of several stages the host observes to provide his guests with a bowl of tea and an enjoyable occasion. Each individual stage has a specific function in the unfolding of the service. I will lay out the basic structure of the steps of a basic service of Japanese tea ceremony according to the praxis of the Enshū school.

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DIFFERENT TYPES OF MATCHA, KOICHA AND USUCHA

It is thick tea, koicha, [濃茶] that is “tea proper”. Proper thick tea is mid-way between a liquid and a paste. It can only be blended [練(ね)る], using a bamboo whisk cut into tines that are fewer, and consequently thicker and stronger. Even for a single guest’s serving, the volume of powder required is such that, upon contact with that powder, the temperature of heated water immediately drops.

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JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY SCHOOLS

Schools of Japanese tea ceremony are not institutions in the way we envision a contemporary school as a high school or university. There are teachers, but they are not bound by a curriculum. Nor do students gather at a schoolhouse where teachers teach classes on various aspects of the tradition.

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