What's more comforting than sitting back with a nice, hot cup of tea? This brewed beverage plays a significant role in the culture of many around the world.
In fact, in some cultures, it's been around since ancient times, and the habit is still going strong! The next time you're about to brew a cup, why not try a new approach that is being taken by people on the other side of the world?
Tea originated in Ancient China and has been a big part of their culture since. It is said that China introduced tea to the rest of the world!
The country has a diverse landscape that produces hundreds of different types of tea: green, oolong, black, white, and yellow teas. Tea ceremonies are an essential part of Chinese weddings when the bride and groom kneel before their parents to serve them tea.
When you think of tea, there may (and should be) several countries that come to mind. But India currently reigns supreme as the country that produces and consumes the highest amount of tea.
The most popular type of tea in India is chai or black tea infused with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper. Chai can be found everywhere in India, from street vendors (Chaiwallahs) to family homes; chai is usually the first thing served to guests. To give your chai a western twist, add some steamed milk to create a chai latte.
The Japanese are avid green tea drinkers. It's often served at restaurants in place of water!
Their tea of choice is usually matcha, a type of green tea with a vibrant hue that has been dried and ground down into a fine powder. In Japan, you can find tea houses where intricate tea ceremonies, often involving matcha, are performed.
Mint lovers will love Moroccan tea the most. Touareg is the name for Morocco's signature hot mint tea. Though it can be enjoyed casually, Touareg is traditionally linked to hospitality and friendship.
It's made from a green tea base and is brewed in a teapot. Sugar and mint leaves are used to finish off the drink. Touareg is traditionally served in small glasses rather than teacups. It must be poured from a height of at least twelve inches so that a foam is created on the surface. If there is no foam, the tea is considered undrinkable!
Tea is also a considerable part of Russian hospitality. Russians like to brew a robust loose leaf black tea, or zavarka, that can then be diluted to the drinker's taste with boiling water from a samovar.
You can drink the tea black or with the additions of sugar, milk, or lemon. Just make sure you have a tasty treat, like a pastry, on the side. Drinking ‘naked' tea (tea on its own) is considered a major faux pas.
We can thank Taiwan for the bubble tea craze. This relatively new drink (it's only been around since the 1980s) has taken the world by storm. It was initially made by combining hot black tea, condensed milk, syrup, and its distinctive tapioca pearls.
Over the years, many more flavors and variations of bubble tea have emerged. Now it can be made hot or cold, with a tea or milk base, and almost any taste under the sun. Even the pearls have evolved into a wide variety of jelly flavors! If you're feeling adventurous and have some condensed milk and jelly in your cupboard, you can definitely try making your own bubble tea!
With its tropical climate, it's no wonder Thailand is credited with creating the most famous kind of iced tea. Cha-yen is made from black tea infused with spices and served over ice, perfect for a hot summer day.
Orange blossom, star anise, cinnamon, and ground tamarind are the spices used to give this drink its sweet yet flavorful taste.
Ask almost any Brit about tea, and they'll say that having a nice cuppa (or ten) is an integral part of their daily routine. Brits don't really need an excuse to put the kettle on, though they do love indulging in afternoon tea (or high tea) to make the ritual more special.
You can find beautifully decorated tea salons all over the country, including in historical buildings and museums that serve delicious pastries and finger sandwiches on ornate cake stands to go with a wide selection of fine teas. The most popular kind of tea is a classic English Breakfast black tea, though many also love the bergamot-rich blend of Earl Grey.
Whether you prefer green or black tea, it's time to put the kettle on and enjoy a lovely brew!