Tea is second consumed drink after water. According to a legend, tea drinking tradition started when Shennong a Chinese emperor found a dried leaf in his hot water. Actually, the water tasted very nice. Tea preparation recipes are evolving and its power plays a huge role with sacred customs and relaxing.
Check the World Tea Directory, where worldwide tea businesses and compatible tea lovers meet.
How to enjoy the different kinds of tea available across the world?
India is the main contributor of all the teas produced and sold across the world. It is India’s national drink and you will find it served at every street corner. In an Indian house, you can taste a bit spiced and sweet milk tea.
Diversity of tea in Japan is very big. Matcha is a tea drinking ceremony, where small group get served green tea.
Touareg tea [Maghrebi mint tea] is core of Morocco’s culture. It is associated strongly with hospitality. It is poured from high up into delicate, slim glasses. To guests, mint tea is served thrice. Every time flavor differs a little.
According to adage, every glass taste has a different meaning – life [1st glass gentle taste], love [2nd glass strong palate] and death [3rd glass bitter tang]. Refusing a single one is regarded to be very rude.
Tibet’s Po cha
Traditional tea Po cha is made boiling Pemagul black tea and adding salt, milk and yak butter. The tea has soup like consistency. It is very comforting as well as invigorating in cold climates and high altitudes.
Argentina’s Yerba mate
Yerba mate is a staple drink in Argentina and is made from herb in a tiny pot and drunk through Bombilla [special straining straw]. The device is revived adding more hot water, so that everyone can share the tea and bond.
Never say, ‘Thank you’ or stir brew with bombilla – it is insulting to the host. Traditionally, it is served without sweetener but today’s youth add honey or sugar.
Britain’s Afternoon tea
Even though the culture in Britain is coffee fuelled, the population prefers tea as their first hot drink. Britain bought tea from India during its reign there and introduced it to England in the 17th century.
The afternoon tea ceremony was around 4 pm, where tea was served with sandwiches and cakes.
Loose-leaf tea concentrate gets brewed in metal container [Samovar] and served in mugs. This powerful concoction is black and Russians add sugar and milk as desired. Zavarka gets served with muchables or is wildly regarded as rude.
China’s Gongfu tea
Gongfu tea ceremony is a very detailed process. The ritual involves strainers, tureen, brewing tray, tea towels, and scent cups. Before brewing guests smell the leaves. The cups are warmed and washed with first brew of the tea.
Second brew is for drinking, the tea gets poured in cups arranged in a circle from up high in continuous motion until every cup gets full. The cups must be cradled in both hand and brew is sipped slowly. The flavor is savored and the empty cup gets cradled to relish aroma after tea vanishes.
In 1949, refugees from China fled to Thailand. They took Chines culture elements including rich tea tradition. However, with evolution of amber colored iced Thai tea their tea culture became unique. It is a blend of Assam tea with condensed milk, sugar and spices [tamarind, orange blossom, and star anise] served with iced in tall glasses.
Some recipes top it off with creamier milk creating tempting ombre effect. However, the treat is high in calories, sweet and spicy but very refreshing in summer.
Taiwan’s Bubble Tea
Oolong teas are semi-oxidized and range from 10% [green tea-like individualities] to 80% [black tea-like features]. You can steep oolongs multiple times. Surprisingly, with each steep different flavor is produced. Worldwide tea connoisseurs prize Taiwan’s oolong teas.
The black, green and jasmine tea leaves are also used in preparing the popular Taiwanese bubble tea. In general, it is an iced tea [oolong, black, green or jasmine] including sugary syrup and powdered milk. The added bubbles are small tapioca [starchy white grain] balls, so the name.
HongKong’s Cha Chann Teng
Brewing this potent blend demands time, dedication and repeated straining in a sack cloth to filter tea leaves. This bag makes tea smoother and ultimately develops intense brown color because of prolonged drenching of tea leaves.
The filter sack looks like panty hose, so this Hong Kong milk tea is called ‘silk stocking milk tea’. The hot tea is served in low cylindrical plastic or glass cup or in a ceramic cup.
Pakistan’s Gulabi or Noon chai
Kashmiri population grew its own version of tea leaves. During partition, this Kashmiri culture – Gulabi chai was extended across to Pakistan. It is a special blend of almonds, salt, spices, pistachios and milk.
The signature pink color chai can be enjoyed with pastries. Generally, the Pakistani community enjoys milk tea or ‘Doodh Pati’, which includes no water in its preparation.
New Zealand’s High Tea
In the 17th century, British missionaries introduced tea brewing practice. Workmen sat on tall stools to enjoy their afternoon tea. It means tea was taken ‘on high’. This tradition evolved and refined till it became a preferred ritual of the Kiwis. In the 18th century high tea caught up with people around the globe.
This afternoon tea became staple and with a twist New Zealand developed its personal high tea ceremony, where mouthwatering sweets, delectable finger sandwiches and elegant settings was included.
Taste for tea gave rise to chaikhanehs in Iran, since the 15th century but this beverage was embraced in the 20th century, when Iranians started to grow their own tea. In an Iranian home, the kettle is consistently boiling the whole day. As the tea served is very strong many can find it bitter and prefer adding sugar. The traditional way is not to add sugar in the drink but place crystal sugar cube between your teeth and then sip tea allowing sugar to melt.
Malaysia’s Teh Tarik
Teh Tarik means ‘pulled tea in English, which is enjoyed daily. Sweetened condensed and evaporated milk is added to flavored black tea and heated. This mixture is poured from one cup to another. A creamy foam gets created and even cools the liquid. The thicker the froth means the better its taste.
Tea drinking culture across the world is rich, so try it on your next trip!