Teas From Around the World
Though there is little definitive evidence to suggest where exactly tea was first discovered, most historians believe that it was first consumed accidentally by an ancient Chinese Emperor. And, while the origins of tea may begin in ancient China, the evolution of the beverage and how it is consumed has varied greatly from country to country over time.
Fast forward to today and tea flavors, preparation and drinking methods differ dramatically depending on where you are in the world. From green tea in Japan to ice tea in the U.S., it is easy to see that tea can accommodate many different cultures or lifestyles.
Below we take a look at some of the various teas and preparation methods that you will find from cultures around the globe.
Japan is one of the earliest adopters of tea drinking, with the earliest references dating back to the 9th century. Matcha, or more referred to as Green Tea, is finely ground powdered tea. Well known for it’s flavor and antioxidants properties, the Japanese tea ceremony focuses primarily on the preparation, serving and drinking of matcha.
India has a storied history of using tea for it’s medicinal properties as well as for consumption. Commercial production of tea began after the British East India Company began producing tea on conquered lands.
Little has slowed down for tea production in India and they remain one of the worlds largest tea producers. Renowned teas such as Assam, Darjeeling and Masal Chai tea are grown exclusively in India and are often combined with other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Tea drinking in the UK is wholly engrained into every day life, making the UK one of the greatest consumers of tea in the world. Tea drinking is far more diverse in the UK than anywhere else in the world. While most tea is served with milk, many also drink it black, with lemon or sugar added in. Be it formal or casual events, tea is always a welcome element of UK culture.
Turkish tea, referred to as Chai by the locals is a very important aspect of Turkish culture. Chai is a black tea that is produced on the Black Sea coast and is consumed without milk. Chai tea is served everywhere, for almost every meal throughout Turkey which is why it is considered by most to be a sort of obsession for Turkish people. Generally, Chai is served in a tulip shaped glass on saucer accompanied by two small sugar cubes and small spoon for stirring.
Tibet is home to one of the most unusual tea blends in the world. Butter tea or po cha in Tibet, is made from the churning of tea, salt and yak butter. The particular tea used in Butter Tea is unusually potent and smoky type of black tea coupled with a salty, oily and sometimes rancid flavor which makes it an acquired taste but also a long time national favorite.
Morocco is world renowned for its Magheribi mint tea, a tea unlike anything else in the world. So unique in fact that many travel to Morocco for the specific purpose of sampling authentic Moroccan tea. The preparation process, referred to as tai, is an important part of the tea tradition and is performed right in front of the guests.
The cold climate of Russia has created a rich tea history for the country and it is widely considered as a national beverage that is closely associated with Russian culture. However, what sets Russian tea drinkers apart is that they drink tea almost exclusively at the end of meals along with dessert.
Currently, China holds claim to being the earliest tea drinkers in the world. Legend has it that Chinese Emperor Shennong discovered tea when a leaf accidentally fell into his boiling water. He liked the taste that it created so much, that he spread the idea across ancient China. In addition to being a popular drink, the Chinese also utilize tea in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisine.
Tea has been ingrained in Egyptian culture since ancient times and as such it is no surprise that Egyptians are big tea drinkers. The national Egyptian drink, Karkadeh tea, derives its bright red color from dried Sudanese rose flower bracts. Karkadeh tea contains a sweet and sour flavor that can be enjoyed either hot or cold.
Tea drinking in Argentina places added emphasis on the medicinal properties of tea as the national tea, Yerba mate, is a vitamin packed green tea grown locally throughout South America. well known for it’s signature earthy, smokey flavor and is services in a small container that is shared throughout a group, making tea drinking a very social experience in Argentina.
The United States is a cultural melting pot and the tea consumed is no different. Different varieties of teas as consumed throughout the U.S. However, there is none more famous than good old fashioned Iced Tea. Usually prepared from bagged tea, this iced sweet tea has become commonplace throughout much of the U.S and especially in the Southern states.