The history of Japanese Tea

A Buddist monk brought back tea from China

The oldest Tea drinking written was found around 815 AD in Japan. It is said that one of the Buddist mons went to study Buddism in China and brought back Tea with him. The tea in that age was so precious that only monks or noblemen could drink it. The tea he brought back to Japan was call "Dancha," which was tea leaves pressed and dried. It was drunk by shaving the leave powder into boiling water.

After that time, Japan started to grow teas locally, and also the Matcha style of whisked tea was brought over to Japan. But the tea drunk in that time was very different then we see now and known as Matcha. The tea color of that time was brownish, and the shaved powder was more bigger and had a rougher texture, and it would quickly sink down to the bottom of a cup after the whisk stopped moving.  


Tea evolution to be a original Japanese tea.

At around the 12th century, Japanese made a special technique to dry tea leaves with out compressing it. This technique made Japanese tea green like the Matcha we see today. Then some time later, "Chausu" (the stone mill for Matcha) appears in the world and super fine and smooth powder began to be produced. In the 13th century, the tea ceremony event was the big trend. This trend fostered mass production and new farming process called Ooishita Saibai (shady growing), was introduced. That was the evolutionary turning point where Matcha became the original and well-known, "Japanese tea."

From the 15th century, "Sencha" developed, and the evolution of tea production techniques continued another 100 years. In the 16th century, tea almost the same as we drink today began to be produced, but it was still a very premium product that ordinary people couldn’t afford. Time passed and in the 19th century during a widening industrial revolution, machines came into the tea manufacture picture. By that time, Japanese green tea was being exported overseas. Also in the same period, Sencha became a drink that all Japanese people could drink.