Green Tea is often called the Elixir of Life for its health and longevity benefits. Unlike the darker sorts, it doesn’t undergo the same oxidation process, hence its leaves retain their original color. The drink has gained much popularity around the world and is as much part of traditional ceremonies as of modern pop culture.
Green tea originated in China and has played an important role in its culture. During as early as the Tang dynasty, scholars praised the drink for its taste and medicinal qualities. Classic of Tea, a book by the ancient herbalist Lu Yu, describes in detail sophisticated ways of preparing and drinking tea. During the Gongfu ceremony, every one of the many cups, plates and pots played a specific role. Some of the cups were not meant for drinking at all; instead, people used them to scent the tea at the start of the rite. Only after this first step, the cups were arranged in a circle, and the tea was poured in one single motion from above.
From China, the tea culture has spread through Asian countries, that have in turn developed their own unique traditions of preparing the drink. The Japanese Chanoyu ceremony follows a protocol that is defined down to exact movements and can last for several hours. The rite is as much about enjoying the tea as it is about conversation and sharing spiritual lessons. The ceremony participants drink matcha, a type of tea made by grinding the leaves into a fine powder and mixing it with the water. By drinking matcha, people essentially consume the entire leaf with all of its vitamins and nutrients.
With globalization, green tea became trendy all around the world. Long gone are the days when only the royal elite could enjoy this Elixir of Life – today anyone can buy it from a vending machine or a bubble-tea kiosk. This magic drink is a great refreshment on the go and, at the same time, a wonderful way to slow down and meditate during a moment of silence.