The Zen of Macha

Posted on March 20 2021

Matcha, the traditional powdered green tea used in the very moving and beautifully choreographed Japanese tea ceremony comes with its very own philosophy.

The Book of Tea, a classic primer on all things tea explains the poetic philosophy of the Japanese tea ceremony, covering the different elements involved – architecture, flower arranging, art, – all essential aspects of the sacred ceremony.

The Book of Tea, Classic Edition goes a long way toward enhancing your enjoyment and understanding of the seemingly simple act of making and drinking tea.

The Book of Tea

In 1906, in turn-of-the-century Boston, this small, esoteric book about tea was written with the intention of being read aloud in the famous salon of Isabella Gardner, Boston's most notorious socialite.

It was authored by Okakura Kakuzo, a Japanese philosopher, art expert, and curator. Little known at the time, Kakuzo emerged as one of the great thinkers of the early 20th century, a genius who was insightful, witty–and greatly responsible for bridging Western and Eastern cultures.

Okakura had been taught at a young age to speak English and was more than capable of expressing to Westerners the nuances of tea and the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The ceremony uses "Macha" green tea. In Japanese "Ma" means rubbed or ground and "Cha" means tea. The tea is slowly blended with hot water using a bamboo whisk.

In The Book of Tea Classic Edition, he discusses such topics as Zen and Taoism, but also the secular aspects of tea as it relates to Japanese life. The book emphasizes how Teaism taught the Japanese many things; most importantly, simplicity.

Kakuzo argued that tea-induced simplicity affected the culture, art and architecture of Japan. Nearly a century later, Kakuzo's The Book of Tea Classic Edition is still beloved the world over, making it an essential part of any tea enthusiast's collection.

Interwoven with a rich history of Japanese tea and its place in Japanese society is a poignant commentary on Asian culture and our ongoing fascination with it, as well as illuminating essays on art, spirituality, poetry, and more.

The Book of Tea Classic Edition is a delightful cup of enlightenment from a man far ahead of his time.

At Chesser Roe, we take as much time as we can to observe the Kakuza philosophy: we prepare macha in the traditional way in a tea bowl using a bamboo whisk, using the blend to create not just pure green tea, but also our boba teas and lattes.

While the traditional matcha is green tea (we use our Samurai), at the Tea Bar, we also serve black matcha, a blend of Darjeeling and Assam, ground and prepared in the traditional way; Hojicha Matcha, a roasted Japanese green tea made of stems with no leaves; and Genmaicha Matcha, a Japanese green tea blended with brown rice.

Soon, we will also have these very special Matcha's available on the retail site.

C'mon down and get your Zen on!

~ Adrain Chesser


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