10 Tea Traditions Around the World

3634380491_cfd5bca78aIt will warm us if we are cool, it will cool us if we are too heated and it will cheer us if we are depressed (in addition, it contains multiple benefits).Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world after water and apparently it has the solution to all evils. From the time of the ancient Chinese Dynasty to our present, tea has showed us its power and the fact that it has a lot to do with relaxing and sacred rituals. This article is for those who love travelling and still think a cup of tea is more than a drink…

1.   India: The land of Chai tea

India produces and consumes more tea than any other country in the world. Chai is the national drink in India and it is served literally on every street corner– Especially in crowded train stations, where you can see people selling it at all times of the day and night. If you ever get invited to an Indian house (remember that here guests can drop by anytime without warning) prepare yourself to taste a sweet and a bit spiced milk-tea.

If you have the chance to visit the amazing India, visit the Tea Museum in Munnar. Here you will get to know the traditional tea production. 

2.   Japan: The matcha ceremony

In Japan tea is an important part of the food culture. Even though, the diversity of tea here is quite big, when someone mention the word “tea” without specifying the type, it´s green to which is referred (green and Chinese tea are also some of the most popular ones). The ceremony of tea is known here as matcha, which consists of serving green tea to a small group of people in one of those popular teahouses.

For those who want to live the real tea experience take a flight to Tokyo and don´t miss the chance to visit one of the popular tearooms.

3.   Morocco: Mint tea, the heart of the culture5234479561_afff8bbb9b

It is almost impossible to spend 24 hours in a Moroccan city and to not be served hot tea. Touareg tea, or Moroccan mint tea is literally the heart of their culture. Strongly linked to the act of hospitality, the mint tea is served to guests three times with each glass meaning a different thing- Life, love and death. Of course, all of them have to be drunk. 

Do you fancy a Moroccan tea? You only need a large quantity of hard sugar, 5 tea spoons for every spoon of fresh tea and of course, mint, the essential ingredient.

4.   New Zealand: The “tea-break”

According to historians, New Zealand imported considerable amounts of tea in the nineteenth-century, with the arrival of the British missionaries. Today people experiment with other types of tea like the Japanese green tea, blends like earl grey, and Chinese teas such as oolong. Like in America, the interest for this drink comes from tea’s reputation and its health benefits.

New Zealand’s only commercial tea plantation is called Zealong, which launched its first products in 2009. 

5278367363_6fa656161e5.   USA: The tea explosion

Whether cold or warm, in the morning or at night, tea is in 2014 one of the most popular non- alcoholic drinks in the States. Here is possible to find green, red and even the oolong tea, the traditional Chinese tea. In this sense, it doesn´t matter the type of tea as they are all included in North American people’s healthy diet.  Today we can say that coffee is still preferred for the morning ritual, ice tea is often consumed with lunch and all types of tea are drunk in the evenings.

6.   Thailand: A very trendy tea

Who hasn’t tried a Thai tea? This is also one of the most popular teas in the world. It is made from strongly-brewed red tea that usually contains anise, red and yellow food colouring and sometimes other spices too. Thai tea is especially consumed in Southeast Asia and in lots of American and European restaurants that serve Vietnamese and Thai food.

Thai tea found its roots in the midst of war, but a civil, rather than a colonial war like in most countries.

7.   Britain: Classic afternoon teaBritainClassic

We all know that Britain is the place on the Earth where people can drink a cup of tea even before they go to bed. Yes, British people can’t live without this ancient drink which they brought from India from the time when Britain was an empire. Despite the coffee fuelled culture, tea is still the first hot drink chosen by the British population.

If you have the chance to visit London, don’t hesitate to spend an afternoon at the Orangerie, a paradise for classic tea lovers in the heart of chic West London. 

8.   Russia: Zavarka for guests

There are two things that Russians love most: vodka and tea. The history of this country tells us that it was along the Bolsheviks’ victory at the Civil War that soldiers and industrial workers started to get free tea, which until that point was considered an upper class product. Today most Russians enjoy what they call Zavarka, a very strong tea prepared in a separate tea pot that allows hosts to serve the guests in several rounds.

If you ever travel to Russia, don’t hesitate to have your tea with a piece of cake, as it is considered quite rude to serve the tea “naked”. 

9.   China: The dynasty of tea

For Chinese people, tea is synonym of life. They were the first to discover the tea leaf and have been drinking tea ever since. Because of the geographic climate, many locations across the country cultivate different types of tea. The art of making tea is called “Cha dao”, which was soon accepted as one of the most important cultures that Japan learned from China.

The only national museum in China can be found in Hangzhou, where there is a detailed description of the historic development of tea culture in China. 

Mate10.   Argentine: The mate experience

People often say that if you want to know Argentine well you need to try its meat, its wine and its mate. Yerba mate is the national drink of one of the most amazing countries in South America and the truth is that it’s more than just a drink. It’s also a way of life. Even though it´s not really tea (it grows on a bush) whoever travels to this country will find out that people drink it at any time of the day. The more you drink it, the strongest the after-taste.

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Marta Lopez Garcia

About Marta Lopez Garcia

Marta López is a lifestyle writer based in London. She loves travelling and meeting new cultures. When she isn´t writing on her laptop, she can be found around the city looking for the best tea shops.

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