Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, right behind water. It makes sense, because while tea is easy and accessible to make, it also has various health benefits.
Tea has been around for over 5,000 years. To most, it’s more than just a comforting afternoon drink. Tea has become an important part of tradition and culture for many parts of the world.
Here’s how people around the world enjoy their cup of tea.
Matcha is a tea made by grinding tea leaves called camellia sinensis into a fine powder. Its origins date back to the 7th century in China and Japan. This bright green powdered tea has made its way all around the world because of its rich and earthy flavor.
Although matcha has been modernized for today’s drinks, desserts, and foods, the tradition of matcha is still alive and practiced. The matcha tea ceremony is a formal ritual where the host will invite guests to eat light foods and drink matcha tea in their home.
It often takes days and weeks to clean the tea room and prepare the ceremony properly. During the ceremony, the hosts require cleansing the tools before and after, and carefully preparing and serving the matcha to the guests. As simple as it sounds, this is a delicate ceremony that’s centered around respect and harmony between both parties.
USA: Sweet iced tea
In 2019, the majority of the tea consumed in the U.S. was iced tea. Sweet iced tea is a summer staple for Americans during those hot days by the pool. There are variations to how sweet tea is made, but it’s usually made with black tea, lemons, and a generous amount of sugar.
While other parts of the world may believe hot tea is the only acceptable way to drink tea, you can’t deny that iced tea is a refreshing and delicious drink anyone can enjoy.
Taiwan: Bubble tea
Bubble tea, also known as tapioca, pearls, or boba, started in East Asia around the 80’s. It’s prominently known to be centered in Taipei, Taiwan, but it has become so popular that you can find it in various forms all corners of the world.
The boba is made from tapioca starch sweetened with honey or sugar, and the milk tea is simply tea with milk. Black tea is the original tea used for most milk tea, but other common teas used are jasmine green tea, oolong, thai tea, and earl grey.
You can easily make your own bubble tea at home, but part of the joy in drinking bubble tea is experiencing it with friends and company.
England: Afternoon tea time party
England has created an entirely new culture of tea on their own. British people love their tea with milk, and almost anyone in England or the UK will judge you for ever wanting your tea iced or cold.
The most common types of tea are English breakfast, black tea, and earl grey. Tea is also usually enjoyed with biscuits or scones for dunking. You can enjoy it during all times of the day, but afternoon tea is a must.
Afternoon tea parties are common in England. All you need is quality tea, quality snacks, and more importantly quality company. The finger foods included in tea parties are usually scones, biscuits, small sandwiches, and cakes, which are displayed on a centerpiece cake tier for everyone to grab.
There is usually an assortment of teas, served with a pot of hot water to pour for your guests. You don’t have to be British to have a tea party, and it’s a fun way to enjoy some tea and feel fancy!
India: chai tea
Masala chai, also just known as chai tea, is made using black tea, spices, and milk. In Hindi, “masala” means spice, and “chai” means tea (and yes, saying chai tea just means “tea tea”).
There are various additions and preferences of ingredients used to make chai, but the overall concept is the same. The most important and distinguishing ingredients that make chai tea are the spices you use.
The most common spices used are cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise which are crushed and tossed into the pot to steep with the tea. Other non-traditional spices often used are nutmeg, saffron, vanilla, and cumin. Once you add in the milk or preferred sweetener, the end flavor is a medley of sweetness, earthiness, and spice.
With all of its aromatic spices blended in, chai can easily warm you up and bring you comfort.
Wherever you are in the world and however you like it, it’s never a bad idea to have some tea!