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Drinking the Last Sip: An Expression of Appreciation

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My first koicha (“thick tea”) at Ippodo tea room, Kyoto. 

Michiko Osawa runs a relaxed matcha classroom in Yokohama, and also maintains an excellent blog that delves into the deeper enjoyment that participating in a tea ceremony can bring. Her other objective is to bring that enjoyment into our daily lives, thus bringing the special experience of a traditional tea ceremony to our regular kitchen table.

Showing respect to the host who made your tea is an important part of the tea ceremony, and Michiko talks about a small but important detail that we might easily overlook: what to do with those last few remaining drops in our tea bowl.

“Have you ever been bothered by the bottom of your tea bowl after you finish drinking matcha? When someone has prepared matcha for you, it is courteous to drink the tea without delay and while it is still fresh and delicious. One other point: drinking your matcha to the very last drop is an expression of appreciation toward the person who made it for you.

As people aren’t machines, there may be times when the matcha has not been well mixed and dissolved. But once you realize this, you can still slurp in the last sip with some force and completely finish the tea. If you do this, the act of finishing your matcha is beautiful.

If you don’t finish your matcha to the last drop, your tea bowl may end up looking like this: 

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One last point: When there is some thick matcha left on the bottom of the bowl, the problem may sometimes be due to the person preparing, and other times may be due to the guest drinking in a carefree way.

Without worrying about who is to blame, it would be nice to drink our matcha to the last drop.”

This was interesting to read, because in many cultures slurping the last drop of liquid from a glass or bowl is considered rude, and it’s important to know that (at least in Japanese culture) it’s seen as a sign of respect and appreciation. If someone is going through the trouble of making me a delicious bowl of tea, I want to enjoy it to the fullest! So let’s slurp away, fellow matcha fans 😀

The original article is here, and you can find many other excellent Japanese articles by Michiko at her blog, O-Matcha Happylife. Thanks for reading!

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