The healthy and delicious green tea that you are able to enjoy from 3 Leaf Tea has really come a long way to make its way into your mug. Of course, all of our matcha is imported from Japan, but the journey matcha has made has been much longer than a mere plane ride. Matcha and its health benefits were at one time unknown to the world and still widely unknown in the west. To enlighten the curious and convince the skeptical, here is a light explanation of the history and health benefits of drinking matcha.
In 804, a Buddhist monk named Kukai was tasked with learning all he could about religion and bringing it back home to Japan. Among the religious articles, many paintings and books, Kukai is also credited with bringing the custom of tea drinking to Japan.
When Kukai presented his paintings, books, and articles to the Emperor Saga, he also prepared a cup of tea for him. The Emperor was so impressed that he soon took up tea drinking himself. Eventually, tea drinking spread in popularity among the wealthy and after a very long time finally spread through all the classes. The tea that Kukai brought back to Japan were most likely tea leaves that had been steamed and then compacted into a brick for storage purposes. The tea was reconstituted with hot water and drank. This type of tea was still a long way from becoming the powdered green tea as we know today, but still lay the cultural foundation in Japan for tea drinking.
In 1185, a young monk named Myoan Eisai, ventured to Song China to learn about a particular sect of Buddhism. It was there that Eisai first encountered what we would know as matcha.
While there wasn’t much in way of tea drinking ceremony, nor how it related to Buddhism, Eisai realized immediately that drinking this tea had a positive impact on the drinker’s health. Along with writing a book called “Kissa Yojoki” raving about the benefits green tea and explaining how to grow and prepare tea, Eisai is believed to have brought back tea plant seeds to Japan that were planted outside of Kyoto by order of the Emperor.
Your matcha did not just make a plane ride to get to you. Matcha has traveled through dusty roads in ancient China, through the imperial courts of emperors and through ascetic Buddhist temples. Matcha has been drunk for over 1000 years by monks, lords, ladies, and rulers who all believed in the goodness of matcha. 3 Leaf Tea has brought this drink to your doorstep believing that you too deserve the benefits fit for a king. Now, don’t you think you deserve a cup even more? See our selection here.