The beautiful thing about tea isn’t just how different varieties taste. It’s about how ingrained it is in so many cultures. Tea has a deep, rich history across the globe. It’s used as so much more than just a beverage. It’s ceremonial, spiritual, and, yes – delicious.
If you’re the person in your friend group that’s always on the lookout for different types of tea, or the one who can’t stop talking about the cultural influences of tea, it might be time to integrate your favorite subject into your next vacation.
Yes, there are plenty of vacation ideas for tea lovers. Whether you want to travel the world or explore something closer to home, we’ve got a few ideas that can combine your passion for tea and your love of travel.
Explore Different Cultures
One of the best ways to grow your love of tea and learn more about how it’s utilized throughout the world is to travel. People in various cultures have used tea for ritualistic and healing purposes for centuries. You can learn more about its rich history by visiting different countries and experiencing why tea is important to each specific location. Some of the best destinations in the world for tea lovers are:
- Uji, Japan
- Azores Islands
- Rize, Turkey
- Darjeeling, India
Obviously, your destination depends on what you want to experience. In London, for example, you can take part in a ritualistic British afternoon tea or enjoy some alternative, quirky small tea shops that are changing the face of traditional London tea fare. If you head to Darjeeling, you’ll want to partake in their famous black, white, and oolong teas, but you can also immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy tiny tea stands in the countryside and chai vendors in area marketplaces.
Attend a Festival
Whether you want to jet off to a different country or stay somewhere relatively local, you can celebrate your love of all things tea by attending a tea festival. With a bit of research, you’ll find them all across the country. Some are light-hearted, like the Midwest Tea Festival held annually in Kansas. Others, like the Northwest Tea Festival in Seattle, focus on educating people on nearly every aspect of tea, including cultural, historical, and even scientific elements.
Images from the Midwest Tea Festival, Pennsylvania Tea Festival and Devan Shah Tea Festival in Los Angeles.
In Portland, OR, Tea Fest PDX celebrates the Pacific Northwest’s tea and tea culture. You can learn a great deal about the health benefits of tea as you sample cups from multiple vendors. Elsewhere, the Pennsylvania Tea Festival in Mechanicsburg is a two-day event that takes place in herb gardens and a tea room. You’ll find guided tea tastings, various merchants and vendors, live music, as well as informative programs.
Tea festivals are a great way to fuel your passion and learn even more about different types of tea. They’re also great for introducing your friends and family members who might not know as much about the world of tea. Most festivals have plenty of fun activities planned, as well as vendors selling various varieties and merchandise. Even if you end up going with someone who isn’t as passionate about the subject as you are, you’re bound to have a good time together. If you decide to go solo, you might even end up meeting some fellow tea lovers and becoming friends.
Visit a Tea Farm
No matter what it is you love about tea, one of the best ways to learn more about it while growing your appreciation is to visit a tea farm. Learning about how tea grows is a wonderful way to appreciate every piece of nature that has to come together to make it happen. When you’re on vacation, spending time doing things like hiking, identifying plants, and learning about conservation efforts can all help you feel more relaxed while you engage with nature. Visiting a tea farm checks all of those boxes.
Most tea farms that are open to tourists will show you how different tea varieties are raised and harvested, as well as different processes used to transform the plants from what you see in the field to what you experience in your favorite mug.
If you’re interested in being more than a tourist, consider volunteering on a tea farm. While a volunteer trip might not be everyone’s “cup of tea,” it’s a wonderful way to give back and learn more about something you love.
There are plenty of jobs on a tea farm. With little experience, you can start out as a tea picker, where you’ll be expected to:
- Pluck leaves
- Weed and prune tea bushes
There are tea farms in the U.S. and across the globe. If you want to give back to the environment and support natural conservation efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out to an area farmer and ask how you can help. Most will be happy to receive a bit of free labor!
As you can see, it’s totally possible to plan your vacation around your love for tea. There’s always something new to learn, experience, and enjoy. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you’re planning some time away, and you could end up having the most memorable trip of your life.