You can't have tea in Japan without enjoying the snacks and sweets that go along with it! Next time you offer your guests some tea, impress them with these facts about the history of Japanese tea time snacks.
The History of Japanese Tea
Before you can start stocking up on snacks, you need to understand the history of Japanese teas first. Japan’s ties to tea go as far back as the 8th century when Japan ordered a number of diplomatic missions to the capital of China’s Tang dynasty and the soldiers brought back pieces of Chinese culture, including tea. It wasn’t until the end of the 12th century, however, that tea would become the popular staple of Japanese culture that it is today. In 1191, the Zen monk Eisai returned from China with tea seeds that he planted and distributed to other monks. He became so infatuated with the concept of the drink that in 1211, Eisai wrote the first edition of Kissa Yōjōki (Drink Tea and Prolong Life) to spread the word about tea’s health benefits and the positive effects it can have on the body. Clearly his words carried some weight, because it didn’t take long after the release of the treatise for tea to start making its way into various aspects of Japanese culture, and the rest is history.
The Importance of tea time in Japanese Culture
Now that you’ve had a crash course on the history of tea in Japan, it’s time to dive into the importance of the tea ceremony. The tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony began during the 8th century when the nobility would partake in drinking tea as a way for the hosts to treat their guests to hospitality. Around the same period, tea ceremonies were refined to emphasize spirituality, and nowadays the event is meant to serve as a bonding experience as well as a way to gain inner peace. There are 8 steps that a host must follow when hosting a tea ceremony: invitation, preparation, receiving the guests, purification of the tools, preparing thick matcha, preparing thin matcha, cleaning the tools, and departure. Between the two servings of tea and the meal, a full ceremony can take up to 4 hours to complete.
Japanese Tea Time Snacks
Snacks may not be the spotlight of a tea ceremony, but they definitely play a large role in keeping the party going. If you’ve ever wondered, “what do the Japanese eat with their tea?,” here’s a rundown of the Japanese tea time snacks that’ll make you feel like you’re at a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Daifuku is a very popular tea time treat, and luckily Bokksu has several flavors to choose from. If you want to compliment your green tea with even more matcha flavor, the Matcha Chocolate Daifuku Mochi is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Or, if you want your snacks to bring their own unique flavor, the Pudding Daifuku Mochi features a pillowy caramel marshmallow center covered in chewy mochi.
You can never go wrong pairing a hot tea with Japanese green tea snacks. Pocky is one of Japan’s most popular snacks, and now you can enjoy the beloved snack in a beloved green tea flavor! The Pocky: Sakura Matcha is available for Japan’s cherry blossom season, and features a light pink biscuit covered in an Uji matcha-infused chocolate coating. Speaking of biscuits, the Nara Wa Langue De Chat Matcha Cookie is also made with earthy matcha and a buttery biscuit cookie exterior. Lastly, the Matcha Chocolate Stick Cake contains matcha sourced directly from Uji, Japan, which is where tea ceremonies began, and therefore makes this treat a traditional Japanese tea snack. Each piece of soft cake also features pieces of chocolate, and can be enjoyed on its own or can be dunked into your drink.
Finally, the last Japanese tea ceremony foods you won’t want to miss are Japanese tea cakes. If you’re looking to host your own version of a tea ceremony, you’ll want to snag the Nakajima Taishodo Gift Box of Japanese Baked Goods, where you’ll get an assortment of 6 sweets, including Matcha Cake (because you can never have too many Japanese green tea snacks), Chestnut Cake, Walnut Red Bean Pie, and more. Each box comes with 25 pieces, so there’s plenty to go around!
Whether you want to throw your own tea time celebration, or you just want to enjoy your tea like the Japanese do, elevate your tea experience with these Japanese tea time snacks available at the Bokksu Market!