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How Tea Is Enjoyed Around The World

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Few drinks offer the variety of flavours and distinctive cultural practices as tea.

In the video below Food Insider looks at the ways tea is enjoyed around the world.

"Tea is deeply rooted in many cultures. It tends to be more than just a beverage in countries around the world, but a moment of togetherness and connection. From the very first cup of tea, dating back to ancient China in 2732 BC, tea and tea culture have impacted the very way countries socialize. There are many rituals and traditions for tea as well as many different types. From Taiwan’s bubble tea to Argentina’s yerba mate."

0:26 China - Pu'er Tea - (pronounced POO-air). A variety of fermented tea produced in Yunnan Province. Typically sold as compressed cakes and like wine best enjoyed slowly and in small sips.

0:55 Argentina - Yerba Mate - Caffeine-loaded tea traditionally prepared in a gourd (calabash) for guests to share by drinking through a "bombilla" - a metal straw made from silver, copper, or stainless steel.

1:13 South Africa - Rooibos (pronounced "Roy Boss") - Means “red bush” in Afrikaans. A caffeine-free, medicinal herb from a bush plant exclusively found in South Africa. Vibrant red in colour when brewed and is bitter in taste.

1:38 Taiwan - Bubble Tea - Created in the '80s and recently grown in popularity due to social media influence. Combines a base of milk tea, sweetener, bubbles (small balls made from tapioca or fruit jelly), and ice vigorously shaken together to produce an attractive rich silky texture.

2:09 Morocco - Maghrebi Mint Tea - A combination of green tea, mint leaves and a generous amount of sugar. Served 3 times to guests. Each time the flavor varies slightly. Per the proverb: "The first glass is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love, the third is as bitter as death." Refusing any one of these servings is considered the height of rudeness.

2:45 Canada - London fog - Made by combining sweetened earl grey tea with some steamed milk and vanilla syrup. A comfort beverage especially on cold rainy days.

3:07 South Korea - Omija-cha - Meaning 5-flavour berry - sweet, salty, sour, bitter and pungent. Used for medicinal purposes such as lowering blood pressure and detoxification. Also popular as base for fruit punch, sweetened with honey or sugar.

3:36 Turkey - Çay - As the top consumers of tea across the world, Çay is a staple upon which the Turkish societal system functions. Served in small tulip-shaped glasses to showcase the rich mahogany colour, Çay can be an ice breaker and serves as a great equalizer of men.

3:57 India - Masala Chai - Combines black tea with aromatic spices like cardamom, ground cloves, cinnamon, ground ginger, black peppercorn, milk, and sugar. Has become widely popular outside of India and influenced other tea-drinking cultures such as Kenya.

4:24 Japan - Matcha - Created by grinding young tea leaves into powder. Strong in caffeine and presented in Japanese culture through a tea ceremony known as Chanoyu. Beyond just serving and drinking tea, one of the main purposes of the tea ceremony is for the guests to enjoy the hospitality of the host in an atmosphere distinct from the fast pace of everyday life.

5:15 UK - English Breakfast - A traditional blend of black teas originating from India, Sri Lanka and Kenyan tea predominating. Usually described as full-bodied, robust, rich, and blended to go well with milk and sugar, in a style traditionally associated with a hearty protein fillled English breakfast that includes fried eggs, sausages, bacon, baked beans, and toast.

5:40 Egypt - Karkade - Characterised as a herbal tea made from dried hibiscus flower petals. Given the hibiscus flower grows readily in the hot climate, it's the one drink Egyptians always count on for a refreshing thirst-quenching effect. Also used as a substitute for alcoholic beverages in a predominantly Islamic society.

6:03 Hong Kong - Silk stocking tea - Originates from the appearance of the sackcloth tea leaf filter bag. Silk stocking' style milk tea is a uniquely Hong Kong phenomenon; influenced by British colonial tea habits - it is a black tea sweetened with sugar and served with evaporated milk.

6:24 Thailand - Cha Yen - A staple Thai street drink and similar to Hong Kong's silk stocking tea. A delicious and refreshing drink made from Thai tea (blend of black tea and spices), sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and sugar. Can also be served hot. But without ice, it's known as cha nom ron which translates to hot milk tea ('nom' means milk, 'ron' means hot, while 'yen' means cold or iced in Thai).

6:52 US - Arnold Palmer - also referred to as Arnold Palmer Iced Tea and Sweet Tea) is a simple blend of iced tea and lemonade. It’s delicious and refreshing and makes a fun non-alcoholic drink to serve during warm summer months. Named after a famous pro golfer (Arnold Palmer) who used to order a mixture of iced tea with lemonade at golf clubs.

7:26 Iran - Persian tea - Iranians story of drinking tea is not limited to mornings with breakfast only; they drink tea at work, after their meals at home, or at night before sleep. So constant is tea's presence in Iranians' lives that its kettle will be kept on a stove burner all day. Rather than mixing in sugar to counteract the bitterness, you're encouraged to place a sugar cube between your front teeth and suck the strong brew through it.

7:44 Tibet - Po Cha - Tibetans drink tea in several ways: the most well-known is the buttered tea. Yak Butter, milk, and salt are added to brewed tea and churned to form a hot drink called Po cha. While stirring it some Tibetans add egg or walnut.

Tea Time in Kenya

Even though black tea is Kenya's main export, only about 5% is consumed locally. A growing youth population has shunned tea for more trendy products such as coffee, energy drinks, flavoured water, and alcohol.

However, for many other demographics, it still remains a staple for almost all households. "Teatime" is borrowed from the British (that is: served at breakfast, morning break, after lunch, afternoon tea, after dinner) and prepared in the style of Indian influenced "Chai" (in this case with Kenyan loose tea with milk and sugar) It is brewed in a pot, adding milk and "cooking" it until the mixture is almost boiling over and a thick foam is produced. This is then enjoyed with snacks such as mandazi (a form of fried bread), chapatti (flatbread), or even plain bread.

Does anyone else fancy a cup of tea?

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