This exceptional tea, in particular due to its health benefits, is a product of Japanese culture that derives from thousands of years of history imbued with zen spirit. In fact, Matcha tea has been consumed for more than 800 years by Zen Buddhist monks.
It was a Japanese monk, Eichû (743-816), who first brought the tea to Japan, then in brick form, after a long period of study in China. In this period, only the elite and the emperor enjoyed this rare and expensive commodity.
In 1191, the Buddhist monk Eisai (1141-1215) returned from China with a new method of consuming the tea, which corresponds to today’s Matcha tea: the green tea reduced to a powder is whisked with hot water in a bowl. Whereas this method of preparation spread successfully throughout Japan, it was abandoned fairly quickly in China.
At the time of Eisai, the tea was consumed above all as a medicine. Matcha tea was also used as a stimulant by Zen Buddhist monks in order to stay awake and focused during long hours of meditation sessions.
In the 16th century, the Zen monk Sen no Rikyū laid the foundations for the Japanese tea ceremony, the “Cha-No-Yu”, of which Matcha tea forms an integral part.
In 1835, Tencha was invented, the shade-grown tea produced using a new cultivation technique for Japanese green tea, and Matcha was no longer produced from ordinary green tea. It is this Tencha, or “shade-grown tea”, that develops the very particular sweet, rich and sophisticated flavour of Matcha tea.