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Japanese Tea Culture

The origin of "tea color"

Japanese people used to describe the colors using the color in nature. For example, "peach color", "grass color", "bean color" "sky color" or "ash color" However for the yellow, red or green, we use the words and Chinese character. So, we say green for midori, but there is no such a thing called midori.
What about Chairo (tea color)? The color of tea we see normally is green, and when the tea is served in the cup, it also looks green. Then why we use tea color to discribe the color of brown. The answer is simple. If you go to the kitchen, and see the old cloth with tea soaked, you can see it is naturally dyed in brown. Also the history of green tea in Japan is still fairly new, compare to the long history of drinking coarse tea.
Before green tea became really popular in Japan, Bancha was the most popular tea among the people. To make Bancha, roast tea leaves in the big pan, and rub on the mat, and then dry them under the sun. When those process is completed, the color of the tea is dark brown. When bancha is served in the cup, the color is almost brown or yellow, and far from green.
Process of making green tea has completed in middle of Edo era. And the word "chairo (tea color)" was established before those time.

(Yoichiro Nakamura)