ANNE KRUGER, PRESENTER: The Chinese have been drinking it for thousands of years and the Japanese have turned it into a cultural icon. And now, Australian farmers are being encouraged to grow green tea for an expanding global market, tipped to get even bigger now that scientists are proving it's as healthy as it is refreshing.
SEAN MURPHY: It could be anywhere in Japan, but this new year tea ceremony is in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Homesick ex-pats and culturally curious Australians meet every fortnight under the guidance of Ryoko Freeman, a professor of chado, the Japanese way of tea.
RYOKO FREEMAN, CHADO SYDNEY ASSOCIATION: They want to, you know, have some spirit or philosophy, some different ethnic culture. So, like, you know, the... martial art people, or, you know, people are interested in Zen Buddhism, because tea ceremony is based on Zen Buddhism.
SEAN MURPHY: Dr Christina Rocha is an anthropologist who has studied the history and spiritual significance of green tea rituals in Japan.
CHRISTINA ROCHA, UNI OF WESTERN SYDNEY: It's a ceremony that was created in Zen monasteries and gets a lot of it from Zen.
And Zen is about fixing the mind now, at this point in time. And if you are doing the tea ceremony and you are thinking of something else, you lose it, you forget what you're doing. So you really have to be on the present moment.
But also, the four principles of tea are wa, kei, sei, jaku; which is harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity.
SEAN MURPHY: While the importance of ceremony in Japan remains high, green tea has evolved into an everyday beverage, prized for its flavour and health-giving properties.
The Japanese are the world's second largest consumers of green tea behind China, but their local industry is contracting and some of the biggest manufacturers are now trying to develop a supply chain here in Australia.
Who knew green tea was grown in Australia. This is an older article about a project in NSW. Today they are talking about a project in Victoria.