I apologize to anyone hoping for an informative blog post; you’ll have to wait till next time. Today, we are taking a trip down memory lane. So grab a cup of sencha, and I shall tell you about the adventures of trying to drink Japanese green tea during high school. 😀

When I initially began my Japanese green tea journey, I brought tea to school in a thermos cup for my morning class. This was fine for a short while, but as my taste buds became keener, I stopped this practice.

Then, my fellow green tea aficionado – Matt – discovered that if you took a long, narrow strand of leaf and stored it in your cheek, you could “brew” it in your mouth for a half hour. Of course chewing on leaves didn’t suffice. We eventually felt the need for a proper brewing session.

The Forest

green teaware on a picnic bench
rag-tag teaware on a picnic bench

Adjacent to the school was a forest. On the far side of the forest was a small campsite, complete with electricity. At lunch, with a rag-tag set of teaware, Matt and I would head over to the camp grounds and enjoy a full brewing session.

At the time, we only had a couple teapots between us and were forced to use a portable coffee maker to heat our water. (We wrote “cha” on top of it to make ourselves feel better. 😛 )

It wasn’t long until we made upgrades to our equipment, but with winter approaching, we had to find a new location.

The Arena

japanese tea set in a hockey arena

Down the street from the high school was a community centre with an ice rink. Don’t let this photo fool you, it was usually very dark inside.

At the top of the stands along the wall were power outlets. With my newly acquired kettle, and Matt’s new teaset (dubbed “the school set”) we enjoyed tea in the echoey darkness of the arena.

Were we allowed to be there? Probably not, but usually no one stopped us. Nonetheless, we quietly whispered and sat very still whenever a community centre worker walked in. 😉 But because of the relative distance to the arena, we needed to find a new location. We managed to find one a lot closer than we expected.

The Art Room

making matcha in school

(I don’t have an image of our day-to-day brewing, so here is a screenshot from our Iced Matcha video that also took place in the art room.)

So why didn’t we just stay in the school while having tea to begin with? We weren’t allowed to have a kettle. Apparently, it’s a fire hazard to have a kettle at school. Interestingly, although the teachers were very vigilant in preventing us from using our kettle, all the staff rooms were equipped with kettles and other appliances as well.

Fortunately, our art teacher understood the hypocrisy and took pity on us. She allowed us to have tea in the art room during lunch, and even allowed us to store our equipment there. (Did she let us leave our equipment, or did we just do that? I don’t remember…either way, she gave an inch and we definitely took a mile. 😛 )

Later On

We usually brewed in the art room from then on, but in the warmer months we would occasionally have tea outside, behind a portable classroom. (The art room had a sink, so it was by far the easiest place to clean everything up at the end of a session.)

And so, that concludes my brewing adventure through high school. It’s incredible to think how much we went through just to have tea during our lunch hour. In the end, we managed to have a kettle, teaset, and even jugs of water permanently stashed away at school.

I hope this post was as fun to read as it was to write. If not, don’t worry, the next article won’t be as frivolous. 😀

Griff is the co-founder of The Art of Japanese Green Tea website and video series.

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