Tea, and its thousands of variations from around the world that boast opulent tastes and aromas, is one of the most popular pastime beverages in the modern global society.
From its deep and intricate roots in Eastern cultures to its popularisation in England by King Charles II in the 17th century all the way to the mass popularisation that skyrocketed its production in the 19th century, tea drinking is one of the oldest and richest spiritual and cultural phenomena in history.
Let’s take a look at the a few tea drinking cultures from around the world, some of which you might find yourself keen on adopting into your daily routine.
China, the birthplace of tea
Given the five-thousand-year-old history of tea engraved in Chinese culture that holds strong to this very day, one can safely say that the Celestial Empire truly is the birthplace of tea.
Tea drinking in China has been a way of life for hundreds of years; however, way before it was brewed and poured for pleasure, it was a staple in ancient Chinese medicine, and hundreds of tea variations are used for medicinal purposes to this day.
The rich and diverse climate of the land enables hundreds of tea varieties to grow and it was not before long, with the rise of the Ming dynasty, that teahouses sprung all over the country, and tea became a staple of Chinese culture.
Japanese cultural heritage
Much like in China, tea making, pouring and drinking is deeply engraved in the spiritual and cultural heritage of Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun is home to world-renowned teahouses where Matcha is served, a variation of green tea finely ground, grown and processed to express a truly unique taste and aroma.
Japanese culture is strict and unwavering, and so the preparation process, in itself an art form, is the same today as it was in the 12th century.
A modern custom in Britain
Britain is well-known around the world for its never-ending tea craze that has been going on ever since the late colonisation period of India in the 19th century. Exporting various tea flavours for almost two hundred years, tea has become a staple of modern British culture, most popularly portrayed by the customary afternoon tea.
Interestingly, this cultural phenomenon is still present in many households and workplaces around the country, despite of the hectic nature of the modern lifestyle.
However, given the air and water pollution the modern world is facing, it is important to note that the British take every precaution to ensure that their water, and thus their tea, is completely healthy and safe to drink by using UV-Guard purification systems. Water is not as pure as it used to be, and it can severely impact the quality of both tea and one’s health.
A daily necessity in India
Contrary to popular belief, India is not a native land to tea, where this beverage was popularised and incorporated into the daily customs and habits in the 19th century, when the British Empire, after two centuries of rule, used India’s soil and adept climate to supply the ever-increasing demand for tea back home.
To this day, India is the biggest grower and exporter of tea in the world and is most famous for its chai, or black tea. This popular beverage is often infused with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and ginger, while chai vendors and sellers are the focal points of bazaars around the country.
Hospitality and spirituality in Morocco
The uniqueness in Moroccan tea culture comes from their popular and deeply spiritual Touareg, or mint tea, and its variations. Every step, from the way it is prepared to the way it is poured and drank, is a thing of culture and beauty.
Tea is strongly linked to hospitality in Moroccan culture and is served in three tall glasses, each glass home to a unique flavour and aroma. While drinking, you are to reflect on the meaning of life, love and death, as well as your own wishes.
There isn’t a drink in the world that is quite as famous or quite as deeply ingrained in various cultural heritages as tea. Perhaps these rich traditions and customs will spark a desire in your own heart to discover all of the intricate flavours of tea, and even make tea drinking your own daily ritual.