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Chinese style tea set arrangement prepared for the tea time

Surprising Tea Time Traditions & Cultures around the World

Dec 01, 2023

Shanika Dasanayaka

It's tea time! What would you like to have right now as your cup of tea? This question seems like an ordinary query that can occur during our daily chats. But the real surprise lies in the answers we might get from around the world to this simple question. Some might prefer a bowl of Matcha tea, while others request a fancy English breakfast tea. This diversity comes from different tea traditions and cultures around the world, and we will take a quick tour of these delicious destinations. 

As a centuries-old traditional beverage, tea is a popular hot drink option in many countries. A perfect tea cup contains top-quality characteristics that vary from region to region and country to country. The people who grow and manufacture tea know how to prepare it perfectly for their tea time. This global expansion of tea has resulted in unique tea cultures for each region or country. Not only for tea made from the tea plant but also for famous herbal drinks, there are traditional rituals and cultures for making it perfect. With time, many additional rituals & traditions have transformed tea drinking into an artistic ceremony.

It's tea time! Let's find out which culture your favorite tea represents while sipping it.  

What is meant by Tea Culture?

Tea has links to many ancient cultures. With its flavorful properties, beneficial aspects, and concentration in growing and manufacturing tea, it is considered a sacred beverage by many societies. As a result, tea culture has evolved in each tea-growing and consuming nation. Simply put, tea culture is how tea is made, served, and consumed while giving utmost respect.

Tea plays an essential role in some countries. It is a standard beverage for tea time and social events, and many countries have even created formal ceremonies for tea drinking. When analyzing further, the tea ceremonies occur in East Asian countries like China, Japan, and Korea. When these countries were under the rule of kings, drinking tea was a royal event. So, the servants had to prepare and royally serve tea to the kings after adding some ceremonial gestures to each step during this offering. This was converted into a ceremony later. Today, these ceremonies have become a part of their tea culture.

Ancient British empires also considered tea a royal beverage, giving value to breakfast tea and afternoon tea. Similarly, as a highly tea-consuming nation, Russia also has a tea culture that offers more value to tea-making equipment. The Russian tea time and tea rooms have become popular due to these tea-related aspects. Each tea-drinking country has a specific tea culture that follows during tea time. Some societies celebrate their tea time festively, while others consume it daily. However, these simple tea-drinking patterns also follow traditional rituals and beliefs.

What Are The Stories, Histories, And Habits Related To The Tea Time?

Some countries and societies have experienced tea as a beverage for centuries, and some even for thousands of years. These long-term relationships with tea have created different cultures, different ceremonies, and different stories to talk about. As the preparation of tea is an art, and you cannot rush this process, it creates opportunities for imaginative stories in a gathering.

Breakfast Blend of England, for the Tea Time of Royals!

As a nation, the British people drink tea throughout the day, starting at breakfast, official afternoon tea time at around 4 p.m., and high tea time with a hot dish between 5- 7 p.m. Among them, afternoon and high tea possess creative and luxurious aspects as a tea culture or tradition. The English Breakfast Tea is a black tea blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Keemun tea. This Breakfast tea is the most famous among all other teas available in the United Kingdom that revives the entire nation each morning. It is the norm to have English Breakfast tea with milk, sugar, lemon, honey, or without any.

Aged Earl Gray of Italy for a Tea Time with History!

Earl Gray black tea is one of the staple teas in Britain. It is made of black tea flavored with oil from the rind of bergamot oranges; the fruit is mainly grown in Italy. But how did a British beverage become famous in Italy? There is a lovely story behind it.

The gentleman responsible for this legacy is Charles Gray. He was an English aristocrat who became the prime minister of Britain in 1830. He received a tea flavored with bergamot oil as a diplomatic gift, subsequently named after him. As per the Gray family, the tea was a creation of a Chinese mandarin to offset the taste of lime they had in their water. Due to its unique and unmatched flavor, the bergamot-flavored tea became famous. The Gray family later decided to give the trademark to the blend, and now it is world-renowned as Earl Gray tea.

Golden Chai of India for an Invigorating Tea Time

Chai tea is a world-famous spicy tea version, especially popular in Western culture. It originated in India around 5,000 years ago as part of the traditional medical practices known as Ayurveda. Chai has its own culture and story in India. In fact, most Indians start their day with a teacup and continue to drink chai tea during tea time. This chai tea has a different preparation method compared to other teas. The tea maker brews fresh tea with a mixture of milk, water, loose-leaf tea, sweeteners, and whole spices of a spicy chai blend.

Mate Lemon of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina

Mate lemon tea is a ritual culture belonging to central and South America. The Gurani people of South America initially cultivated Mate, who believes it is a god-gifted tree. The youngest, greenest leaves from the mate tree mark the starting point of this tea. Then the leaves go through a drying phase followed by pan-frying or steaming process to prevent oxidation. Drinking mate is a unique culture, usually shared by groups of people, usually friends & family. The tea is shared among friends by passing it to each other after a sip from the "bombilla" (metal straw with a strainer at its end). It is a tradition to have this throughout the day by repeatedly brewing the same tea leaves.

Jasmine Tea of China for a Floral Tea Time! 

China has many tea cultures, and they believe tea is a sacred brew. Jasmine tea is the most famous scented tea in China, and it is a time-consuming yet delicate process that brings green tea to its aromatic form. After the harvesting & preparation, green tea is kept aside till fresh jasmine flowers begin to bloom. Farmers pick fresh jasmine flower buds during the day before it bloom. These buds and green tea are then placed in the same container to allow the natural scenting process. During the nighttime, the flower buds begin to open and release their aromatic fragrance into the surrounding green tea, resulting in a lovely, delicate jasmine flavor and aroma.

Gunpowder Green Tea of China

Gunpowder green tea is small, round, ball-shaped tea. So, the tea has been named gunpowder tea in English as it resembles gunpowder. During manufacturing, the tea leaves go through withering, steaming, rolling, and drying stages while retaining flavor and ceasing oxidation. Gunpowder production was introduced to Taiwan in the 19th century. It was a new art of tea, and gunpowder tea became a part of their tea culture and Zen meditation practices.  

Rooibos of South Africa

Being native to South Africa, red bush tea or rooibos, has been a popular teatime drink for generations. It has a traditional culture for harvesting and preparation. The tea is generally grown in high mountains. Local people climb the mountains to cut needle-like leaves from rooibos plants and then roll them into bunches for easy transportation on the backs of donkeys. Then they chop and dry the leaves in the sun. The leaves get a reddish brown color from oxidation while enhancing rooibos tea's flavor.

Moroccan Mint of Morocco

Moroccan mint is a tea with a refreshing minty taste. Tea culture in Morocco is mainly related to Moroccan mint. During Moroccan tea time, tea brewing follows a normal steeping process. After the preparation, the serving follows an exciting technique: pouring the tea from a relatively higher distance into the tall glass cups. This process would aerate the tea and release its wonderful aroma throughout the room. It is a beautiful practice to watch and is central to Moroccan mint tea culture.

Chamomile Lemon of Egypt

In ancient Egypt, chamomile had an everyday use for curing sick people. So they believed that chamomile is a gift from God and that using it was an honor from God. This calming tea serves medicinal purposes for your tea time and delivers a warm, earthy floral experience. The Greek meaning of chamomile is "the apple on the ground'. It is a traditional drink with a history that goes beyond 1550 BC.

Final Thoughts on tea times around the world

Tea is a beverage with historical value. As a result, the people engaged in tea processing, as well as tea consumption, believe that it has a sacred value. This ideology is common in almost all tea-producing and tea-consuming countries. Each country has unique tea cultures and tea traditions, while some countries even have tea ceremonies to celebrate their tea time. These traditions have historical stories along with their evolution, which are lovely to share with your loved ones when you gather for tea.

Knowing these stories and traditions could help you create a more engaging and lively tea time, rather than just sipping tea for its practical use. At Tea J Tea, we are committed to delivering you more exciting tea time through our “Tea Time In A Box initiative”, and let's share these fantastic creations with a cup of tea!

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