Japanese Green Tea: A Cultural History with Marcin Tatarczuk

Japanese Green Tea: A Cultural History with Marcin Tatarczuk


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Japanese green tea and its varieties such as sencha, matcha, gemmaicha, hojicha to name some, have become a worldwide phenomenon. In Japan, tea is a part of daily life, from cold sencha sold in pet bottles from vending machines, hot tea drunk in every office, to matcha served during the Tea ceremony. Matcha is also popular as a major ingredient in many types of desserts, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, and even KitKats. Join in the conversation and find out just how Japanese green tea made its way to become a national product. Learn what is the difference between green tea and black tea, matcha, and sencha, and discover the fascinating story of how the plant found its way both into Japanese tea bowls and Japanese culture.

Please note, this is a companion seminar to Zen in the Art of Japanese Tea Ceremony. Both are recommended alongside each another.

Tea was introduced to Japan from China in the eighth century, however, the true beginning of Japanese green tea is actually towards the end of the twelfth century. It was since then that Japanese tea farmers and blenders adjusted the tea for their climate, and for centuries researched and improved the flavor. As a result, unique Japanese green tea was born and today is gathering more and more interest around the globe. Not only as a delicious drink, both hot and cold but also as a drink with great health properties.

During our seminar we will learn about:

  • the origins of tea
  • major tea types in the world and the differences between them
  • history of tea in Japan
  • methods of cultivating, growing, harvesting, post-processing of Japanese green tea
  • Japanese green tea blending tradition
  • types of Japanese green tea and its role in Japanese culture, history, and politics
  • Japanese green tea in contemporary Japan

This seminar is led by Marcin Tatarczuk, a tea lover, and an expert on Japanese history, folklore, and religion. We will focus on Japanese tea following its way from a leaf to a green delicious drink while introducing the history of Japanese green tea and the role it plays in Japanese culture. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Japanese tea culture and hopefully plenty of curiosity to experience different cultures and ideas.

Marcin is a Ph.D. Candidate at Kyoto University, studying Folk culture in contemporary Japan. In his spare time, he enjoys walking through Kyoto’s streets rediscovering its secrets. He also enjoys riding his Kawasaki motorcycle, seeking more remote and hidden places. Marcin has lived in Kyoto for 11 years and worked for Context as a guide for the last 4 years.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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