Thursday, December 29, 2011

The essentials: 1. Prepare the tea just right

An ancient tea master, Rikyu said “prepare the tea just right”.  This is one of the seven essentials of The Way of Tea, which I introduced on the previous entry.  People have different interpretations of the essentials. 

How do you interpret “prepare the tea just right”?  Do you think there is an absolute way of preparing tea?  I think that “Prepare the tea just right” means “prepare the tea just right for your guests”.  The tea should be in an appropriate amount, temperature and density that your guests want.  You need to consider the guest’s condition, today’s weather or the situation.  It’s important that you need to think of each guest’s feelings and situations.  I don’t think there is an absolute preparation.

There is a famous episode for serving tea. 
One hot day, a samurai, Hideyoshi stopped by a temple on a trip for hawking.  A boy at the temple served tea to him.  The boy was highly evaluated by Hideyoshi with the three servings of tea. 
The boy prepared plenty of thin tea with lukewarm water first.  Hideyoshi drained the tea, and asked another serving.  The boy prepared the second tea with a standard way, hotter-thicker tea with smaller amount than the first one.  Hideyoshi had the tea and asked another serving.  The boy served thicker and much less amount of tea for the third.  Hideyoshi relished the tea and asked the boy why he served different teas.  The boy answered “You must have been thirsty, so I made the first tea easy to drink and to quench your thirst.  Your thirst must have got ease, so I made the smooth tea for the second serving.  Your thirst must have gone at the moment, so I made the third tea for you to savor the rich flavor”.  Hideyoshi loved his thoughtful wits.

I think this is a good example of “Prepare the tea just right”.

My interpretation of “Prepare the tea just right” is that
considering appropriate points on things is important.

My interpretation may vary in the future as I experience and understand The Way of Tea more. 


  1. Hello,Kohei,

    l like your thoughts and the story.Making a guest's taste and comfort a priority when preparing a tea''just right'' may be a very good path,l guess.

    Wish you a healthy and colorful New Year!

  2. Wonderful story. I think you are just right, it sounds like a very good illustration of Rikyu's teaching.


  3. Adriano-san, Thanks for your comment and wishes^^

  4. David-san, Am I just right? Haha^^ I’ll try to keep the Rikyu’s teaching in my mind when I serve tea.

  5. Really nice post. Very interesting! I find your site very helpful. Prepare the tea just right. I would love to try this recipe. I’m pretty sure that my guest will love it. Happy thanks giving!

  6. Thanks, Buy Black Te Online-san,
    I'm glad that this is helpuflヽ(^。^)ノ