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Chado is the traditional Japanese cultural practice of tea ceremonies in Zen Buddhism. It’s more than an act of sipping tea, it's a philosophy and a way of life with a purpose to recover the pure minds we were born with.

Chado dates back to the 9th century, with influences from China. The evolution was under the guidance of tea masters like Sen Rikyu in the 15th and 16th centuries with a combination of cultural, social and artistic influences to soon transform what was once a relatively simple practice, into the highly ritualised and philosophical form of meditation that we still embrace today.

Cha means ‘tea’ and do means ‘way’, so Chado means way of tea. Chado promotes spiritual elevation and is thought to bring a higher understanding of the universe. Mastering a certain discipline is believed to help us do this too, Chado is just one practice. Some choose Ikebana, martial arts, sewing etc. Whatever it is, it will help to live your life with purpose.

The values that come with Chado promote harmony, health, respect, purity and tranquility. It also teaches us this said spiritual discipline and why slowing down is so important, especially in our world today.

At the heart of Chado is the choreographed and scripted process of preparing tea, it’s not at all just about the end result. The way discipline comes into it is because it’s such a form of expression that takes precision. It teaches us ritualistic, spiritual and social discipline. The way you pick up a utensil, at which moment, then when and where you place it back. The sequence in which you conduct your way through the ceremony all contribute to mastering the practice and benefiting from its lessons. It’s quite formal and very strict, it requires a willingness to learn and a high level of concentration, like meditation.

It was a Japanese Zen Monk who first introduced matcha tea to Japan, his name was Yosai. The vibrant green tea we see in every cafe today is made from finely ground, shade-grown tea leaves and is considered a healthy and healing tea. The matcha preparation is a spectacle in itself and showcases unique Japanese ceramics, including tea bowls (chawan), tea scoops (chashaku), and tea whisks (chasen). Preparing matcha is known as Wabi Cha, a Wabi-Sabi style of Chado.

We notice here at Gifu more and more people are wanting to experience this at home and see it entice us to live a minimal and mindful day to day life. In Melbourne, our diverse community takes our tea and coffee culture into a league all on its own. If your interest is enhancing your tea-drinking rituals, learning about Japanese culture, attending coffee workshops or appreciating the aesthetics of ceramics, it’s available and easy to find here.