Tea is a very famous beverage and is preferred all around the world. Tea lovers all around the globe have fashioned their own fascinating ‘Tea traditions’.
Tea has its origins in ancient China, nearly 5,000 years ago. Legend has it that Shen Nung (emperor) discovered tea in 2732 BC when some leaves from a nearby wild tree blew straight into his pot of boiling water. Drinking the resulting brew, he was immediately attracted to its pleasant smell. While the Emperor drank this intriguing drink, the legend says he felt a warm sensation. As if his body was being probed by this liquid. This is one of the most popular among the many stories about tea lineage.
Today we will be taking a journey to understand these practices in detail.
Let’s start with the country which is alleged to be one of the first places to brew tea. Gongfu Tea is a renowned Chinese tea type that is also an extremely detailed process. It involves illustrative designs on the small pots and cups. The tradition also concerns strainers, a tureen, tongs, a brewing tray, tea towels, and “scent cups.” An interesting concept where you are only supposed to sniff or take a whiff of the tea and not sip it. As the brew is very strong and bitter as well.
The land of “Chai”. India alone has more than twenty such traditions. Indian tea traditions are specific to its region. Every state has its own ritual or basics. We are a huge tea producer as well as a consumer. Indian tea traditions are known the best for their chai blends, where black tea is mixed with ginger, pepper, nutmeg, cloves, & cardamom. As we mentioned earlier, these practices vary from one region to another. It is true but in most Indian households this type of spicy tea is the quintessential daily beverage. It is served to guests on their arrival or sipped on a chai stall. In India, chai vendors are popularly known as ‘chai wallahs.’
Adjacent to India, Pakistan has its own tea practices. Tea is a typical drink and is also served to guests across Pakistan. A traditional Kashmiri beverage, Noon Chai combines pistachios, almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise in a special blend of tea. It is easy to recognise this particular because of its peculiar pink colour, this colour can further be enhanced by adding a bit of baking soda.
Tibet enjoys its tea buttery. Yes! You read it correctly. Forget milk or spices, they love to add salty butter to their tea. “Po cha”, as it is natively called in Tibet. The drink is prepared by thoroughly boiling a Pemagul black tea brick for long hours. Next, salt, yak butter and milk are added and then this entire mixture is churned together. This blend is supposed to have a consistency similar to soup. It is comforting and simultaneously boosts energy during the cold climate.
Tea travelled to Arab countries too. Touareg tea or Maghrebi mint tea is a blend of mint, green tea leaves and sugar that is a traditional beverage in North Africa. It is poured from a height into a slender and delicate glass. And on top of that, it is served thrice to guests. Intriguingly the flavour varies per serve. According to an old proverb: “The first glass signifies life (gentle), the second glass stands as love (strength) and the third reflects death (bitterness).” in fact, refusing any of these serving is considered very rude
During the 17th century, Britain got acquainted with tea. However, the idea of celebrated afternoon tea did not catch on for another 200 years. Anna the 7th Dutchess of Bedford added to the prevalent tea traditions. She asked her maid to prepare a mini-meal around 4 pm where tea accompanied by cakes was served. Eventually, this was adopted by all other high society and upper-class members.
Tea was introduced in Russia during its sparse days. The times when drinks and food were not quite enough to serve the stretch. These shortages brought in a loose-leaf tea, Zavarka that was brewed in concentration using small metal containers known as a samovar.
Don’t say “thank you” it is a serious insult and is taken as if you are declining the Yerba Mate. Argentina’s traditional tea is herb tea and is made with a titular herb. It is interesting and is known as the ‘drink of the gods.’ The drink is crafted in a dried calabaza gourd and also had in the same vessel using a special staring straw called bombilla. More hot water is added to revive the drink and is passed around during a gathering. This tea tradition is to strengthen the bond.
Similar to Britain New Zealand also fancies its high tea ceremonies, elegant settings, delectable finger sandwiches, and mouth-watering sweets. The early 19th century is believed to have introduced the tea-brewing practice to the Kiwis. The rise of tea gardens promoted tea even more and it became a social activity. This gave men and women a chance to meet up in public without attracting gossip.
Similar to China, Japan has elaborate and detailed tea ceremonies. , Sado, Chanoyu or Ocha are names given to these traditions. During these processes, the brewer’s movements are carefully orchestrated to take into account the viewpoint of the guest. Every step of this ritual needs to be followed strictly or else it is deemed impolite.
There are many more such tea traditions in the world. But above one are the most famous ones. To know more you can visit Halmari Tea and understand one of India’s finest teas. Halmari is the best among all the other brands that produce the finest Assam tea. It has been maintaining its legacy for more than 100 years with quality and expertise.