Since 2737 B.C. tea has been brewed. Tea was used as medicine in China until the 6 th century. Around 618 tea became a regular drink, however at this time it was only for the wealthy. By the 13th century it was being used in tea ceremonies and was grown in different parts of Japan to meet the growing demand. Rikyu, who was the most important tea master who ever lived, made the tea ceremony popular. His rules of etiquette are still followed today. The most important type of tea used for ceremonies is thick tea.
Tea ceremonies take place either in a teahouse or a tearoom attached to a building. Today, the tea ceremony is part of Japan and China's rich traditions, but not many people are interested in them anymore. The three types of teas, which are determined by how they are brewed, are green tea, oolong tea, and black tea. Green tea is only steamed for 30 minutes. Oolong tea is left out to dry for 5 hours and roasted over a fire for 10 minutes. Lastly, it is re-fired for 3-12 hours. Black tea is left out to dry for 24 hours, rolled, sifted, and dried again, and then fired.
In the art program, we made Japanese Tea Cups in honor of the tea ceremony. Students learned several new pottery skills, such as how to turn a slab of clay into a cylinder and how to add darts to form shapes. The cups are on display in the hallway and have been used in our own tea ceremony before we went on thanksgiving break.