How is the tea ceremony different from just drinking tea?
The tea ceremony was initiated by Murata Juko (1422-1502), and perfected by Sen-no Rikyu (1522-91), who exalted the everyday act of drinking tea to an integrated art form by stylizing manners and etiquette.
Maccha, or powdered tea leaves, is used in the tea ceremony.
As one of the ceremony's most fundamental elements, the host has to follow various rules in every procedure of tea making, from making the fire, adding hot water to tea cups, stirring the tea with a whisk until it gets foamy, to serving it.
Another important element is a shared sense of communication between the host and the guests throughout the ceremony.
The host, in order to entertain his or her guests, takes utmost care in every step of the preparation process, such as in choosing everything from tea utensils to a hanging scroll, flowers, a vase and other amenities to go with the environment.
The guests, in return, are expected to express their understanding of the host's consideration and gratitude toward the host's efforts.