Health and Matcha

Meaning of Ippuku

Many tools and words used for the Japanese green tea are originated from the Eastern medicine in China because tea was considered as a medicine that brings better health and longevity. For example, the Japanese language has a unit that is only used to count cup of tea, “Ippuku”. “Ippuku” is originated from the word, “Fukuyo” which means to administer the Eastern medicine. The “Chasaji”, a Japanese tea spoon is originated from a medicine spoon, the “Chatsubo”, a Japanese tea pot, comes from a medicine pot and the “Chausu”, a stone tea grinder comes from a Yagen.

Zen practice and tea

Just when the tea cultivation started in Nishio, a Shouichikokushi, a high priest who was invited from Song dynasty China as a founder of the Jissoji temple, was said to plant tea seeds in the temple grounds. Benefits of tea were soon spread across people because tea brings health and longevity and heightens the concentration during the Zen trainings. Priests who didn’t eat fresh vegetables viewed tea as supplements and considered tea as the essential source of vitamins.

Matcha is finely ground powder of tea leaves. Drinking Matcha means consuming the entire tea leaves – that’s the major difference between Matcha and other tea, such as black tea or sencha. This way of consumption delivers the excellent quality nutrition into bodies without leaving any behind. Matcha is good for beauty and health, yet flavorful. It is no surprise that health conscious consumers are choosing Matcha.

Japanese tea leaves


Difference between Matcha and Sencha

Japanese tea, or also known as green tea, can be largely grouped into 2 types; Sencha and Matcha. Sencha is made by brewing tea leaves with hot water which is the same as Black tea. To make Sencha, picked tea leaves are steamed. Tea leaves are then kneaded in heat until they have the thin and sharp shape to bring out the flavor. On the other hand, Matcha is made by slowly steaming the new buds of Tencha, and grinding the soft part of tea leaves into fine powder after carefully removing stems and leaf veins. In other words, Sencha is the infused water with the tea essence whereas Matcha is eating the entire tea leaves. Although they are both considered as “tea”, the ways to intake nutrition are very different.



Benefits of drinking Matcha antioxidant effect

Matcha provides an excellent antioxidant action. It is rich in healthy nutrients such as Catechin, Theanine, Caffeine, Flavonoids and Vitamin C. It is known for its great health effects.

Diet and preventive weight management
Diet and preventive weight management

Matcha has Tea Catechin that helps burn the body fat.

Beautify the skin
Beautify the skin

Tea Catechin excels in removing active oxygen, an aging causing factor. This prevents spots, lines and sagginess of the skin. Vitamin C, working together with Tea Catechin, controls the melanin pigment – resulting in beautifying the skin.

Relaxing minds
Relaxing minds

A very high content of Theanine helps relax one’s mind.

Dementia prevention
Dementia prevention

Caffeine activates cerebrum and is expected to prevent dementia.

The synergy of the ingredientsSynergy of Theanine and Caffeine helps brings the mindfulness - to be in the present moment

Caffeine is often referred as a stimulus; keeping you up at night or feeling excited. The recent study shows that Theanine eases the caffeine’s strong effect and helps brain relax as Theanine is known to protect the nerve cells in brain. This explains why tea is often used in the Zen practices.

Matcha : Gateway to Mindfulness

The origin of Matcha and the Japanese tea ceremony was brought from China to Japan by Eisai, a 12th century Zen master, as the precious medicine for health and arduous Zen practice. Tea was cherished among Zen monks as the wonder tonic to stay awake and energize them through endless Zazen meditations.
Since then, it has been loved and transcended into Matcha and tea ceremony, becoming a highly sophisticated, quintessential element of Japanese culture.
The Japanese tea ceremony is the human interaction of compassion, humility, and care - all of which emerge on the foundation of unshakable present-moment awareness. For example, the entrance to a tea room is purposely small, forcing guests to remove all swords and arms. This symbolizes that once you entered a tea room, there are no social states and everyone is treated with the highest attention and respect. It is a beautiful reflection of virtues from Zen and its modern descendent - mindfulness.
Zen and mindfulness share the same roots of Buddhism philosophy, and lately mindfulness has been gaining popularity due to its trans-religious accessibility. For example, one can belong to any religion and still practice mindfulness. Global corporations such as Google, Sales Force, and Ford Motors are adopting mindfulness training for employee wellbeing and leadership.
Mindfulness is “the awareness that emerges from paying attention intentionally to the present moment without judgement” (by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, prominent researcher and founder of Center for Mindfulness, Massachusetts Medical School), and scientific research has associated mindfulness with enhanced concentration, empathy, and well-being. In short, mindfulness is the coexisting state of present-moment concentration and relaxation that leads to a fulfilling life through its many cognitive and health benefits. The Japanese tea ceremony is a wonderful process to cultivate and enjoy mindfulness.
It’s not only the tea ceremony, but Matcha also supports mindfulness powerfully and deliciously. Two of the key chemical components of Matcha - caffeine and theanine – stimulate alertness and relaxation, respectively. This is the unique feature of Matcha: coffee and the most of tea contain only caffeine but not theanine. By enjoying delicious, high-quality Matcha, one can be both alert and relaxed at the same time, thus supporting a state of mindfulness.
High-quality Matcha itself is the product of mindful care. Being more delicate and labor intensive than any other tea, any attempt at cutting corners in producing Matcha often results in bitterness in taste along with associated degradation in texture and appearance. When someone enjoys a vibrant, tasty, and smooth Matcha such as Nishio Matcha, they are drinking a product that originated from many mindful hands. Nishio is among only a handful of Japanese cities which specialize in farming and processing high-quality Matcha with relentless care and dedication of local people.
Many of us with today’s busy lives could benefit to pause, prepare, and savor a cup of Matcha - it cultivates wellbeing and helps enrich life through mindfulness. Nishio Matcha will be a healthy, delicious companion for your mindful moments.

Kimiko Bokura-Shafé

Kimiko Bokura-Shafé

Kimiko Bokura-Shafé grew up in a traditional family in rural Japan. After receiving an MBA from Boston University and working as a brand manager for global companies such as P&G and LVMH, she settled in California in year 2000 where she became an entrepreneur and still remained active in Japan. Integrating her leadership experience and long-term mindfulness practice, she founded the first mindfulness-centered leadership training/consulting company in Japan, Mindful Leadership Institute. Kimiko is also the first Japanese certified trainer of Google’s renowned mindfulness program, Search Inside Yourself (SIY). She has been bringing mindfulness training and the tea ceremony to major corporations both in Japan and Silicon Valley.

This is the official English website for
Nishio Tea Cooperative Association.

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