Right from our formation time, we learnt various table manners so that we can make social interactions much better. If that is what we mean as etiquette then it will also be good to learn couple of things about the Japanese green tea too.
At least by learning few etiquettes about Japanese tea, you can make a good impression on your Japanese friend.
How to serve Japanese green tea
- In case you brewed green tea in your kitchen or somewhere which is not too close to your table, then it will be convenient to have tray. You can use a yunomi which is Japanese tea cup along with saucer underneath for best results.
- Ensure that your yunomi must not be completely filled, rather fill it up to 80%.
- The yunomi and saucer must face you. In case, the saucer is made of wood, then the wood grain must be horizontal.
- Try to lower the tray at table edge or somewhere close if there is not enough space.
- By using your both hands pick up yunomi along with its saucer. Give it to the guest who is on your right side, assuming that there will be some eatables in front of your guest.
- Now, lightly pick up saucer and then rotate it in such a way that the cup’s front will face the guest, and then put it back. Don’t slide saucer on the table.
How to drink Japanese green tea?
While drinking just imagine you as a guest. After tea was served to everyone, the first thing that you may do is just bow slightly and then say in Japanese “itadakimasu”. This will mean “I will eat/drink” by showing a little sense of gratitude.
In case, there is no Japanese person around then you can skip this step.
If the yunomi comes along with a lid, then open the lid by using your right hand, then turn it 90ᵒ so that in case any condensed vapor drops are there, then they may fall into the yunomi. Now place lid on table with inside facing up.
Hold the yunomi by using the right hand and support it from below by using your left hand. Any men can have his index finger raised on the rim of yunomi, but women should have all the fingers in the right hand below rim.
You might have noticed that using both hands will be considered as polite in Japan. Same principle will apply in many situations, e.g. when pouring or serving alcoholic beverages and also while giving/receiving gift.
Without making any sound, you must drink the tea. In case tea is very hot, you cannot blow on it. Just wait till it cools downs, but do not wait too long as it could be rude.
In case, your lipstick mark remains on the yunomi, then use right hand index and thumb to wipe it off gently. Now place yunomi back on the saucer. After you finished drinking then say “gochisousama deshita” which means that you had a delicious treat.