Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The methods of growing tea, brewing, serving and enjoying it is very different in different parts of the world. Here we take a look at the tea cultures from around the world-
In Morocco, the process of brewing, serving and drinking tea is sacred. It is served to guests as a sign of hospitality and friendship. Although all food preparation is handled by the women in the family, the male head is responsible for the preparation of tea. In fact, brewing tea is considered an art form (atai) and is proudly passed down through generations. Moroccan Mint tea, made using green tea as a base and mint leaves, is supremely popular among tea connoisseurs across the globe.
Turkish tea culture has evolved over hundreds of years. Not only are they among the top-five tea growing countries in the world, but they are also the planet’s top consumers. Did you know, on average each Turk consumes 1300 cups of tea annually! One cannot talk about tea in turkey without bringing up the Turkish tea gardens. An integral aspect of Turkish social life, these tea gardens are sprawling, vibrant gardens where friends, lovers and families gather to enjoy cups of tea.
Until recently, Spain has primarily been a coffee-drinking country. In fact, drinking tea was taboo and the only teas consumed, if at all, were herbal teas for when you were sick. However, today one can find cafes and stores dedicated exclusively to tea in many cities across Spain. Different kinds of tea can also be found in the various ethnic restaurants such as Chinese, Lebanese or Arab.
Tea is served in every single household, hotel or establishment in the country. Most people begin their day with a nice, steaming cup of tea. It’s safe to say that Sri Lankan’s love their tea. Moreover, the Ceylon tea produced in the country is a widely celebrated beverage across the world.
Tea is by far the most popular drink in Japan. The Japanese tea ceremony is an important part of the culture and is steeped in history. It is a ceremonial act of preparing, serving and drinking Green tea, usually in a traditional tearoom. The concept behind it is to step away from the fast-paced life into a controlled environment and enjoy the hospitality of the host. Apart from the formal ceremony, tea is consumed at any point of the day. Some teas that are widely consumed in Japan are- Matcha, Ryokucha and Genmaicha.
In France, afternoon tea is practised by the high-class society in various tea cafes and salons. Although traditionally the French are coffee-drinkers, the tea market has shown steady growth over the past two decades. Most of the tea consumed by the French is black tea, however, Asian green teas and herbal teas have grown popular too. Tea when served is paired with pastries that together cater to the leisurely, luxurious lifestyle that is associated with France.
When in Argentina, look no further than the Yerba Mate. The Yerba Mate is a caffeine-rich drink that has always been popular among locals. In fact, locals believe that the plant was a gift from the Gods themselves. It is now a part of every social gathering where the Mate is brewed and poured into a big mug. The mug is then passed around to everyone in the group.
The English are the fourth largest consumers of tea in the world. That’s no surprise given that the average UK citizen consumes roughly 2 kilograms of dry tea each year. The English custom of Afternoon tea which was a fashionable social event and involved dainty sandwiches and pastries and cups of Indian or Sri Lankan tea is now a thing of the past. Afternoon tea now consists of a biscuit or a small cake and some tea at home. However, one can still experience the afternoon tea tradition in all its glory in London’s finest hotels and tearooms.
When you order a cup of tea at a restaurant or café in Greece, you will probably be offered chamomile. Called ‘camomila’ in Greek, the flower grows throughout the countryside. Not only is it very commonly found but also extremely popular. The Greeks also drink other herbal teas such as teas made from sage leaves, olive leaves, pennyroyal, and scented geranium.
India has over 100,000 tea estates that employ millions of tea workers across the country. Not only is India among the largest producers of tea, but it also consumes roughly 70 per cent of the tea it produces. One of the most prized and sought after teas is the Darjeeling tea. It is also known as ‘the champagne of teas’ because of its premium nature. Other types of tea include Nilgiri and Assam.