If you come from a family of tea-drinkers, you know the amazing feeling of coming home to the sweet sound of a whistling teapot. There is a large body of research that demonstrates the different health benefits of tea. For me, there’s nothing better than letting the weight of a stressful day lift from your body and merge with the rising vapors.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone from the media to global leaders have been trying to tell us our differences. However, you would be surprised to know how many similarities bridge different tea cultures.
Below are the top 10 countries that drink the most tea per person annually, and how these countries do tea time.
The Turkish people consume more tea per person than any other country in the world. The most popular tea here is Rize çayı, a black tea leaf that is native to the Black Sea coast of Turkey. The country is also known for its double-teapot, in which water is boiled in the bottom half and the tea is placed in an upper chamber. Like in many other places in the Middle East, Turkish tea is typically consumed in a small, clear glass as opposed to a ceramic or porcelain cup.
Sometimes a sugar cube or two is added for sweetness, but rarely is the tea combined with milk or cream.
Ireland edges out the UK in tea consumption per person. The traditional Irish breakfast blend combines a variety of loose black tea leaves, but is primarily comprised of Assam tea from India. This strong flavor is generally tempered with milk or cream after pouring and served with cake or cookies.
3. United Kingdom
British high tea is well-known, but how exactly do the Brits take their tea? While the technique for a perfect brew is hotly debated in the UK, the country’s general favorite brands of black tea are PG Tips, Tetley, and Twinings.
Sandwiches, cakes, and cookies are served during the traditional afternoon teatime.
The Russians are also quite fond of their black teas. They primarily use loose tea leaves from China and India, and serve brewed tea with or without milk and sugar. And, especially when there are guests around, tea always accompanies a variety of Russian sweets.
Moroccan mint tea is so popular that it also extends to other North African countries, including Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania. It is made from strong green tea leaves, typically Chinese gunpowder tea, and fresh spearmint. Additionally, the less-known Berber tea is served throughout the region. It can be made from any unique blend of wild herbs depending on the season and the location.
Don’t get the proper pouring technique – Moroccans prefer to pour their tea from a height.
6. New Zealand
Tea preferences in New Zealand mirror those of the United Kingdom, with standard black tea brands like PG Tips widely sold in supermarkets. The small nation even grows and exports a variety of mostly Chinese teas. However, data shows that the changing ethnic and age demographics of the islands are creating more of a shift towards green and herbal teas.
Black tea with mint is very popular throughout the Arab world, and Egypt is no exception. Many take their tea with one or tea teaspoons of sugar, and some Egyptians even add milk. This drink is an important part of the culture and is frequently served to guests.
For many families, tea is a part of a nightly after-dinner routine.
Black tea dominates the Polish tea market. However, Poland stands apart because of the relative popularity of fruit and other flavorings in the country.
Most frequently, black tea is served with a wedge of lemon.
The rich tea culture of Japan has whole textbooks written about it. However, the two most unique varieties of tea that are common in Japan are the Sencha and Matcha teas. Sencha is a delicate tea leaf that is infused in water, whereas Matcha must be finely ground into a powder before being mixed with water.
Both of these fragrant teas can be served alone or with meals, and are almost never sweetened with sugar.
10. Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the second-biggest consumer of tea in the Arab world, and black tea is the hospitality drink of choice for most Saudis. While there is no standard method of preparation, the tea may be flavored with sage, cardamom, and mint.
Even if tea is not deeply rooted in your culture, nothing will you fill you up with warmth more than a steaming teapot. So go ahead and enjoy the brew with a friend or a stranger, and bathe in the sweetness.