Here at Taiki HQ, we don’t believe that there is a right or wrong way to drink matcha, just like there is no right or wrong way to get dressed in the morning. Whether you like it warm straight from your favorite mug or mixed with your morning smoothie, it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you enjoying your matcha experience.
Saying this, before Taiki Tea was born, a lot of research went into the matcha we source and the matcha accessories we decided to offer. We had a mission of becoming an authentic Japanese matcha brand, we wanted to be knowledgeable about what we do, and in turn, pass that knowledge on so everyone on the matcha train can get the best experience they seek.
So after meeting a lot Taiki Tea lovers (and I mean a lot), we thought it was best to try to answer some of the most common questions on our little but mighty soundboard (aka our blog).
Our first question is ‘why should I use a matcha bowl’, well before we answer that question, let us refer you to the top of this post. You should drink matcha however you want to and out of whatever vessel you wish to choose. But for blog and time purposes, we will move on to the question at hand
Like matcha, the first tea bowls (chawan) originated in China, the idea and bowls were imported to Japan back in the 13th century. Soon after this the Japanese starting making their own designs, which suited their traditions and way of tea ceremonies.
"Tea is of light colour and looks best in black cups. The cups made at Jianyang are bluish-black in colour, marked like the fur of a hare. Being of rather thick fabric they retain the heat, so that when once warmed through they cool very slowly, and they are additionally valued on this account. None of the cups produced at other places can rival these. Blue and white cups are not used by those who give tea-tasting parties"
An 11th-century resident of Fujian
These tea ceremonies are still extremely prominent in today’s culture, not just in Japan, but across East Asia. The notion of the tea ceremony is purely beautiful. The idea that it is embedded in a culture to sit back to enjoy and appreciate the small things in life is something that ironically the western world is forever being told we need to achieve, but find it hard to dedicate the time.
The tea bowl is as central to the ceremony, as much as the tea itself. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, the tea bowl all encompasses the beautiful and simple nature of the ceremony itself. Once you are sitting in the tea ceremony circle you find the most beautiful part of your tea bowl and face it to the person opposite you so they can appreciate it. Like I say, so beautiful and so simple. Secondly, the bowl itself lends to an enhance matcha drinking experience. It is common knowledge that we do not alone eat or drink through our mouths, other senses such as sight and smell play an intrinsic part in the experience. When you serve and drink your matcha from a bowl you are increasing all of these senses. Your eyes have so much more of the matcha tea to see, and your nose is able to get as close as possible without touching it. Furthermore, when using a matcha bowl you are enveloping two integral senses, taste and smell, at the same time, again enhancing the experience.
"To our brains, "taste" is actually a fusion of a food's taste, smell and touch into a single sensation. This combination of qualities takes place because during chewing or sipping, all sensory information originates from a common location: whatever it is we're snacking on. Further, "flavor" is a more accurate term for what we commonly refer to as taste; therefore, smell not only influences but is an integral part of flavor" Scientific American