18 Feb Tea Culture From Around the World
Whether loose or bagged, there are hundreds of teas with their own distinct aromatic taste, appearance, benefits, history and culture. Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water, and it is an essential part of many people’s daily routine. Millions of us enjoy the drink for endless reasons; it soothes and calms your mind, and can be considered as one of the most comforting and relaxing drink across the globe.
Let’s jet around the world and discover some of the different types of tea culture enjoyed in 6 distinct countries.
Having introduced the world to tea, China is the perfect country to begin this article with. It is not only the largest tea-producing country in the world, it is also where it all began; the birthplace of tea. China is the dynasty of tea – the first country in the world to drink, produce and cultivate the drink. For the Chinese people, tea is an important part of their culture and tradition.
An ancient type of tea that has a history of over 2,000 years is the ‘Pu-erh’ tea. For thousands of years in China’s Yunnan province, natives have been brewing it due to the belief that the Emperors of China drank Pu-erh tea for longevity.
… The art of making tea is called “Cha dao”, which was soon accepted as one of the most important cultures that Japan took from China.
After China, India is the second largest producer of tea in the world. The morning newspaper and tea go hand in hand while evenings are never complete without a refreshing cup. Tea has been part of the Indian culture and society for thousands of years. In the early 1800s, the British discovered tea in India, where they cultivated and consumed it in large quantities.
The authentic and popular tea, known as ‘Chai’ locally, is the national drink in India. It is one of the oldest drinks in history – steaming hot, sweet, rich, milky and just flavorful! Sold at any time of the day or night and served on every street corner, Chai tea is an integral part of the rhythm of life in India.
… India consumes 837,000 tonnes of tea every year!
Japan is also known for its diverse tea culture, where unique varieties are produced and tea plays a big part of the local food culture. The extremely popular type of Japanese teas, ‘Matcha’ green tea (powdered green tea), is traditionally used in tea ceremonies.
The Ceremony of Tea: Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha is what the Japanese tea ceremony is generally referred to as. Matcha green tea is typically prepared and served in an attention dominating choreographic ritual. The ceremony, which takes place in a teahouse, involves serving green tea and sweets to a small group of guests.
… Matcha was developed in Japan during the 12th century following the arrival of the green tea introduced by Zen master Eisai.
Moroccan mint tea is the nation’s traditional tea, made by steeping a strong type of green tea (gunpowder) with a handful of fresh mint leaves. Historians differ as to when they believe the tea was introduced to the Moroccan culture – some say it may have been as early as the 12th century and is often credited to the Moroccan scholar Ibn Battuta.
If you ever visit Morocco, it is almost impossible to spend a day in any Moroccan city and not be served their hot mint tea. It is Moroccan etiquette to offer tea to any visitors that might stop by and is, literally, the heart of their culture. The locals sip on it several times throughout the day and night!
Moroccans are known for their humble hospitality and take pride in ceremoniously preparing their mint tea in front of guests, especially at formal occasions or as a matter of custom in some parts of the country.
… Moroccan mint tea is called ‘atay’ in Moroccan dialect.
After tea took its route in China and India, it slopped down into the Middle East by the 15 the century. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that Iranians began growing black tea – their national embraced beverage.
In Iran, tea is typically carried on a silver tray. Rather than adding in sugar, Persians drink it by first dipping a bright yellow rock candy, made of cane sugar, into their tea. Also, because the tea is served strong, sugar cubes are served to be placed between your front teeth – this practice counteracts the bitterness.
… That cool yellow rock candy is called ‘nabat’.
6. United Kingdom
The beverage first appeared in England sometime during the mid-17th century, and it was the coffee houses of the nation to introduce tea to the masses. Today, the British consume approximately 60 billion cups of tea annually, as stated by the Tea & Infusions Organizations.
Tea is a way of life in the United Kingdom, with different regions interpreting it in different ways. While some consider ‘tea’ as the beverage that it is, many connect it as the time for supper. Plain black tea is the most common type in the country and is a darker brew as the leaves were left to be oxidized before drying. It is usually served with milk and sugar on the side.
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