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A Celebration of Tea: At Home

Posted by
GJC (Kyoto, Japan) on 6 December 2011 in Abstract & Conceptual.

[Just a quick note: all the links below are to other photos I have posted in the past.]

The kind of tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony is called matcha (抹茶) and rather than brewing the leaves, with matcha you drink the leaves themselves. That is, matcha is simply the tea leaves ground into a very fine powder. You add this powdered tea to a bowl and then add hot water and then using a bamboo whisk you whip it until you get a fine froth on the surface. This is much harder than it looks. My wife, a long-time student of tea, has tried to show me several times, but my results are .... well, not as good.

While matcha is the kind of tea used for the formal tea ceremony, of course you can enjoy it at home as well. I encourage the practice by bringing home irresistible sweets that are best enjoyed with matcha. Ideally one should have many tea bowls to match the changing seasons. We have only three bowls but it just so happens that one is for autumn...

NIKON D300 1/50 second F/1.8 ISO 400 52 mm (35mm equiv.)

sunstonemaria from California, United States

wonderful image and delightful description!! joy to visit your page and read your words!

6 Dec 2011 5:41am

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

I may need to fall back on the words "this is much harder than it looks" if I plan to try this. I must say I am already enthralled by the prospect.

6 Dec 2011 8:16am

@Ronnie 2¢: Yes, please do. This kind of tea has a very distinctive flavor and it is well worth at least one try. I am sure there are some Japanese tea places in London? If you ever get to Paris, you can try matcha at the great Japanese confectioner's shop called Toraya. It is an old Kyoto company (now headquartered in Tokyo) that has a branch in Paris.

Riccardo from Rome, Italy

Great serie, and again a great bokeh!

6 Dec 2011 10:21am

@Riccardo: Thank you for your kind support.

Sylvie (Anjou) from Maine et Loire (bord de loire), France

delicacy, I really like what you present

6 Dec 2011 10:48am

@Sylvie (Anjou): Thank you very much for your visit.

Hiro from Kyoto, Japan

You inspired me ! I want to shoot my own 茶碗 for 抹茶.

6 Dec 2011 1:04pm

@Hiro: ぜひ、ぜひ、そうしてください。

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Just a beautiful image and focus, GJC! I am really enthralled as well by your narrative here. And wow, that tea looks GREEN, man!! The process of preparation and imbibing definitely looks intricate (why am I not surprised?) but worthwhile. I have a feeling that the learning of this process to whisk and "prepare" the tea for drinking is certainly a learned one, but also one that is linked to an emotional and soulful characteristic that is, again acheivable but requires much time for those of us who are untrained...Keep up the good work - it'll happen for you ;-)

6 Dec 2011 1:41pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Just a beautiful image and focus, GJC! I am really enthralled as well by your narrative here. And wow, that tea looks GREEN, man!! The process of preparation and imbibing definitely looks intricate (why am I not surprised?) but worthwhile. I have a feeling that the learning of this process to whisk and "prepare" the tea for drinking is certainly a learned one, but also one that is linked to an emotional and soulful characteristic that is, again acheivable but requires much time for those of us who are untrained...Keep up the good work - it'll happen for you ;-)

6 Dec 2011 1:42pm

@Denny Jump Photo: Thank you very much. Yes, the tea is very green and when you add water it comes to a lovely deep green color that is very distinctive to this particular kind of tea. As to learning the art, we will come to that later in the week, but your instincts are absolutely right.

ordinaryimages from Kentucky Bluegrass, United States

Rock'in 1.8...looks good. Maybe we should all get together for an online chado ; ]

fwiw: put a thumb on the upper right corner.

6 Dec 2011 3:23pm

@ordinaryimages: Thanks for the support, and also for the hint. Hadn't seen that. Thanks.

d.apskos from Orléans, France

C'est l'heure du thé ?
Belle profondeur de champ.....

6 Dec 2011 3:44pm

Lena from San Francisco, United States

Great image !

6 Dec 2011 4:02pm

Steve from Atlanta, United States

Great image!
I love tea but have never heard of this. I will have to try it sometime. Of course I will have to get someone who actually knows what they are doing...which could be a more difficult task than trying to make the teas itself!

6 Dec 2011 4:49pm

@Steve: Yes, please do give it a try. Unfortunately in the US products labeled "green tea" taste nothing at all like matcha. I think it is because matcha has a rather strong flavor, sometimes even slightly bitter (which is why it is usually served with a sweet confection made of bean). Some people really like it and some people really don't...

omid from mashhad, Iran

nice

6 Dec 2011 5:44pm

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal

Tea is my preferred drink. Love this shot.

6 Dec 2011 9:40pm

johbont from rotterdam, Netherlands

nice color contrast

7 Dec 2011 3:32am

Japanalia from Yokohama, Japan

The way you chose to shoot that tea bowl is outstanding! The power of suggestion!!!! I already have the taste of matcha on my tongue....Well, I favour the bowls more than any tea! And, it is true that the colour of the tea against the texture and feeling of the bowl is another aesthetic experience....

7 Dec 2011 5:42am

Anita from West Nottingham, Pennsylvania, United States

Orange and green go so well together! Lovely shallow focus.

7 Dec 2011 12:39pm

Barbara Kile from Ft. Worth, United States

Great job of selective focus and color!

7 Dec 2011 2:45pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

A beautiful image. I love the color of the Matcha and the flavor.

8 Dec 2011 4:56am

Diane Chesnel from Rueil malmaison, France

Wonderful delicate and poetic evocation. The focus's choice is excellent.

9 Dec 2011 1:41pm

NIKON D300
1/50 second
F/1.8
ISO 400
52 mm (35mm equiv.)

kyoto
tea
京都
茶道