Green tea began in China as a medicinal brew, and grew in Japan into an aid to wakefulness and meditation for Zen monks. In time, the ceremony of its preparation became a mode of refinement for a social elite versed in introspection and aesthetics. In the modern age, however, few Japanese have the time or opportunity to sit through the elaborate protocols of tea ceremony.

Born into a family with deep roots in chanoyu (tea ceremony), Soshitsu Sen XV (now known as Genshitsu Sen), the 15th grand master of the Urasenke school of tea, writes in the 1979 translation of his classic text “Tea Life, Tea Mind” that the ceremony involves little more than the “simple act of serving tea and receiving it with gratitude.”

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