Yougen literally means subtle grace, hidden beauty, elegant simplicity. It is often used to describe the nature of Noh plays, the theater of Japan's elite for centuries.
Our Yougen Matcha comes in a sealed foil bag inside a storage can with Japanese washi paper, and wrapped in a gold-colored gift box. (Other items in the photo not included.)
Matcha is served at a traditional tea ceremony, or Chado. There are two main ways of preparing matcha at tea ceremony, one is Usu Cha (thin tea), the other is Koi Cha (thick tea). Thin tea is served to each guest in an individual bowl, while one bowl of thick tea is shared among several guests. This style of sharing a bowl of koicha first appeared in historical documents in 1586, and is a method considered to have been invented by the Chado master, Sen no Rikyū.
The production of matcha begins first with its leaves. Shaded for up to 4 weeks, like Gyokuro, leaves intended for matcha are then steamed and dried without rolling. After removing leaf stems and veins, the result is called Tencha.
Tencha is then ground into a fine powder using stone mills with 300 grams of the original tea leaf harvest used to make a mere 30 grams of matcha powder.
In 1892, Dobashien's founder Tetsugoro Dobashi established a small tea shop in a quiet residential district on the outskirts of Tokyo. As the city expanded, the area known as Akasaka-Mitsuke became one of the city's elite districts with ryotei, luxury Japanese restaurants, hosting meetings between powerful politicians. At these ryotei, only the best tea leaves from Shizuoka and other parts of Japan are served.