Painted tea-sets, Chinese tea cups, trendy mugs – tea is everywhere! Did you know that many countries have their own very specific tea traditions and rituals? Join me as I plan my route of the world’s most interesting tea-centric countries!
Japan entertains highly detailed tea ceremonies, carefully choreographed to honor the person being served. Everything is carefully planned from the brewing, to the tools, and even to the cleanup! Powdered green Matcha is a popular choice, and is often served with sweets.
When I started to plan my route, the United Kingdom was the first country that came to mind! Everyone knows that tea is served promptly at 4:00 pm, but do you know why? Tea in England dates to the 17th century, but the iconic British tradition of afternoon tea didn’t take off until the 19th century when the Duchess of Bedford asked for a small meal at 4:00 pm. She would eat tea and small sandwiches, and a world-wide tradition was born!
It is believed that British missionaries brought tea to New Zealand in the 18th Century. Tea gardens rapidly began springing up, and tea became the drink of choice throughout the country. Inspired by the UK, “afternoon tea” soon caught on, and New Zealand has its own high tea ceremonies.
Portuguese tea is grown in the Azores Islands. Portugal actually introduced tea to the rest of Europe! The 18th century fields produced the first cups of tea. Portuguese tea is organic and the standards have not changed in over 250 years! If you want authentic, natural old fashioned tea, you need to visit Portugal.
People may group Irish tea consumption with that of the UK – they have similar tea rituals and both consume a lot of tea, but Irish tea is usually taken with milk or sugar and is slightly spicier and stronger than the traditional English blend.
The Czech people take their tea very seriously! The country is home to tea rooms in which the tea’s country of origin is considered of high importance. Some of these tea rooms will serve up to 80 different types from all over the world! Different tea rooms even have their own signature blends and take great care to brew and serve the tea in their traditional manner.
When you think of hot drinks from Turkey, your first thought is probably think Turkish coffee, but did you know that Turkey is one of the world’s leading countries in tea consumption? The tea is brewed in a çaydanlık, which creates a very strong tea. A hot water post is then passed around so the drinkers can dilute it to their liking. Turkish people not only love to drink tea, but they also grow it and it is one of the country’s major exports.
Do you have any more suggestions to help me plan my route? Let us know about any cool tea traditions that you know about!