Some will say, drinking tea isn’t a habit; it’s more of a lifestyle. And they’re right. Waking up in the morning and soaking tea leaves in a hot cup of water (or milk) for the right time can be a truly soothing experience. The taste of tea on your lips feels fresh, light, and fragrant – as though it’s a sign for a great day ahead.
Truthfully, tea isn’t just a drink as creating the right cup of tea is more of an art. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a tea addict myself.
Now that fall is here, people’s hearts and social media feeds will be filled with a variety of drinks like pumpkin spice lattes and caramel coffees. Hence it’s time for us tea lovers to impress the coffee lovers by immersing ourselves in a variety of tea traditions from around the world.
1. Chai of India
As an Indian myself, I was exposed to tea before coffee from a very young age, whether it was Darjeeling or Assamese. India is the world’s largest producer of tea, and having a cup of black tea is a ritual for us. If you want to experience tea the Indian way, get a cup of black tea and pour some milk, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into it. Don’t forget to strain it, and you’ll have yourself the perfect, comforting cup of chai.
Try this masala tea recipe.
2. Chanoyu tea ceremony of Japan
If you’re a tea lover, you must have tried matcha: the frothy, green tea with a distinct taste. Japan has an elaborate ceremony to match the heavenly experience, that being the art of drinking matcha tea in a traditional Japanese tearoom in a quiet, and familial atmosphere. Make sure you store your matcha powder in a Natsume and follow the full procedure for a complete experience this fall.
3. Cha-yen of Thailand
The cha-yen or the iced tea of Thailand is one of my absolute favorites! To make this, condensed milk is added to black Ceylon tea, which is then poured over ice (yum!). If you feel like adding a touch more flair to this popular Thai drink, you can add cardamom, cinnamon, or orange blossoms as well.
Follow this recipe to create some for yourself.
4. Afternoon tea of Britain
This is perhaps something most of us are already familiar with. British culture is especially fond of tea (go #teateam!). In Britain, tea is usually strong broken-leaf black tea and is generally a mixture of Ceylon and African teas. British afternoon tea is generally prepared in five steps: warming the teapot with boiling water, adding one teaspoon per person and one for the pot, pouring hot water on the tea leaves, brewing for three to five minutes, and then stirring once.
Follow this for a step-by-step recipe.
5. Cha-Dao of China
Getting a taste of ALL the Chinese styles of tea is surely going to take you on a ride. Cha-Dao is literally translated to “the way of tea,” which itself explains the cultural connection and tradition of having tea in China. Cha-Dao is the integration of the drink as a tradition, passed down from masters to pupils. For the ceremony, sustainably produced organic loose-leaf tea like white, green, red, oolong, black, or pu-erh tea is preferred.
Springwater is desirable to produce the perfect cup, along with a quiet place (with no distraction) where you would be able to fully concentrate. Click here to get a detailed guideline.
6. Touareg tea of Morocco
This tea is another favorite of mine. Moroccan mint tea or Touareg is made with green tea, and mint leaves. An essence of mint lingers even when the tea is long gone. As a part of the culture, one must drink three cups (don’t worry, they come in small glasses) in a row as a sign of gratitude. Usually, the tea is very hot and sweet and served with sweets or nuts.
7. Zavarka and Samovar of Russia
Russian tea is known as zavarka, which is a strong tea concentrate. This is usually kept in the samovar: a tall, heated metal container with a spigot. Bonnie Morales, the owner of Kachka, a Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon, says, “The samovar is the centerpiece of the Russian table. Everyone has one.” This samovar is filled with water. When the water boils, zavarka is created by pouring some of the water into a smaller tea compartment.
To prepare this drink, zavarka is served and those present serve themselves their desired amount of boiling water to the zavarka to create their perfect cup of tea. Perfection.
“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings,” says former American etiquette expert Letitia Baldrige. It’s true, creating the right cup of tea allows you to take a step back and let go of the weight on your shoulders.
This fall, whether it be with yourself or with those closest to you, enjoy a cup of tea that either connects you to your roots or helps you learn of another’s culture. I promise you won’t regret it!
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