Tea Around the World

Tea Around the World | Multicultural Kid BlogsNot everyone knows that December 15th is International Tea Day. I hadn’t known it myself if it weren’t for the fact that we had such a great post about coffee and since I am a tea drinker, I thought I’d check. Wikipedia explains: “International Tea Day is a day observed since 2005 in many tea producing countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India and Tanzania. International Tea Day aims to draw global attention of governments and citizens to the impact of the global tea trade on workers, small growers and consumers.”

Tea is not only a delicious and comforting beverage; it can also calm you down, wake you up and help you feel better.  Let me tell you all about the different ways tea is enjoyed all over the world.

Green tea

Tea Around the World | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Photo courtesy of Olga Mecking

Green tea is widely appreciated in many parts of the world. In many countries, such as China, tea leaves are brewed with warm but not boiling water (the higher quality of tea, the lower temperature) and steeped for a few minutes. The great thing about green teas is that it can be used several times!In Japan, there are two types of tea that are known all over the world: sencha (which is green tea made from dried tea leaves) and matcha (which is powdered green tea). Japan is also famous of its tea drinking ceremony. Matcha powder can be also used to prepare cakes, smoothies, and even truffles, providing these foods with a great taste and colour!

Tea Around the World | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Photo courtesy of Olga Mecking

In Morocco, green tea is combined with fresh mint leaves and steeped for a few minutes- check this great Moroccan mint tea recipe on Kid World Citizen.

In Pakistan, tea is made using Jasmine tea instead of black tea. CoreyAnn of The Adventure Bee shares her story of how she fell in love with this tea- and with the man who served it:

“He made me the most wonderful cup of tea and I told him it was so great I’d marry him for it. After a decade of marriage, I still look forward to his tea. My husband is a first generation Pakistani-American. As a Pashtoon hailing from the tribal hills of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (previously known as the Northwest Frontier Provence), this tea is unique in its addition of the licorice-flavored fennel seeds.

 This tea is never made by the single cup. Culturally it is best to make a large batch to be shared. It starts by boiling water in a pot on the stove. Add loose leaf Jasmine tea (or Jasmine Pearls) and a stick or two of cinnamon sticks and allow to steep until it becomes a warm carmel brown color. At the last moment include a pinch of fennel seeds while removing from the heat.

Strain while pouring into cups, add sugar to taste, and serve among family and friends.”

Photo courtesy of The Educators' Spin On It
Photo courtesy of The Educators’ Spin On It

Black tea

I think black tea is even more common than green tea- and the ways of enjoying it are plenty. Many drink plain black tea, steeped for as long as necessary- some prefer a stronger, more bitter tea while others like it mild.

Tea Around the World - Multicultural Kid Blogs
Photo courtesy of The Good Long Road

In Great Britain, milk and sugar are added to the black tea. Also, sweets are served with the tea, most commonly scones with clotted cream, or tea cake. You can also add dried tea leaves are added directly into the cake batter.

Tea Around the World - Multicultural Kid Blogs
Photo courtesy of Olga Mecking

In India and Pakistan, tea is enjoyed with spices (such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, pepper and some others) and milk, a beverage known as chai. I know two great chai recipes- check then out on Let The Journey Begin and the other one is on A Cup Of Jo.

Tea Around the World - Multicultural Kid Blogs
Photo courtesy of Raising a Trilingual Child

In Russia, sweet preserves (such as sour cherry preserve) are added to the tea instead of honey or sugar.

In Poland we drink weak tea with a slice of lemon and sugar. The tea will become lighter in colour and a little bit sour. If sick, try adding raspberry syrup and/or dried raspberries into your tea!

Bubble tea (or boba tea) originated in Taiwan- it has tapioca pearls, milk and tea in it. Becky shares her recipe on Kid World Citizen! Black or green tea can be used for it, although children will have juice instead.

We have a Persian restaurant close by and the tea is always delicious there, and now, seeing Varya’s recipe on Creative World Of Varya– I know why! Love the idea of adding orange peel to the tea!

Sweet tea is a drink that comes from the South of the US. Leanna shares 10 ways to prepare it on All Done Monkey.

Other tea-like drinks made from leaves, blossoms, buds or roots

Rooibos is a drink from South Africa, but is becoming more popular in other countries as it is free of caffeine and is very healthy as well! In the Netherlands, people prefer coffee to tea but drink rooibos, too.

Yerba mate (also spelled erva mate) originated from South America and is enjoyed in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It supposedly has many health benefits.

Tea Around the World - Multicultural Kid Blogs
Photo courtesy of Olga Mecking

You can also make “tea” out of raspberry leaves (especially for women in labour), linden blossoms, marjoram, thyme, rose petals, nettle, lemon balm, sage and many other plants. Rose petal tea is very delicate in taste and delicious. Another popular fruit is hibiscus, which is a popular with all those who can’t drink caffeinated drinks. Ginger roots and cinnamon sticks can also be used to make tea- check here for a great aqua de canela recipe on Spanglish House!

You can also add these aromas to black or green tea. The most famous, I believe is Earl Grey which contains oil from the bergamot orange. Another popular aromas are: fruit (such as read fruit, lemon or orange), spices (such as cinnamon, cardamom and others) and petals or flowers (cherry blossoms, lavender and rose petals), for example.

Sometimes, there are tea parties, known as High Tea- it is great for girly get-togethers. Tea is served, and there are sweet and savoury treats to go with it.

Victorian High Tea - Adventure Bee - Tea Around the World
Photo courtesy of Adventure Bee

Again, the Adventure Bee explains:

Even in the United States, the high tea tradition of England is alive and well. While many Americans equate it with garden parties and the Victorian era, tea culture is very prevalent. I once led a Seattle-area tea aficionado group and came across this wonderful gem of a tea shop. Since infancy I’ve taken my wee one there for lunches and high teas and it is still one of our favorite ways to spend time with each other. High teas generally consist of a finger tea sandwich course, a plate of savories (fruits, cheeses, quiches), and ending with a sweets platter. Of course there are plenty of scones and a pot of tea handy on the side to enjoy with it. High tea is meant to be taken over time and not rushed. Over a couple of hours, one is meant to unwind, enjoy conversation with friends, and to take in the lusciousness of each morsel.”

And if you’re up for organizing something for a good cause, try this tea party on World Moms Blog to support vaccines.

As you see, tea comes in many colours (there are also varieties known as red, white or golden tea on top of the usual green or black), and there are many ways to enjoy it- some come in cute little tea cups, others in huge mugs. I love tea and often find myself on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea if time allows it. Tea also helped me a great deal writing this post! And now excuse me, another cup is waiting!

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Olga Mecking

Olga Mecking is a writer, journalist and translator. Her articles have been published in The BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and many others. Olga is also the author of Niksen. Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing When not writing or thinking about writing, Olga can be found reading, drinking tea, and reading some more.

6 thoughts on “Tea Around the World”

  1. Really enjoyed reading this, and sorry for not sending in something. Despite being from the UK, I’m not all that into tea (apart from herbal tea). During my time working at a university in Lille, I remember that in one of the campus cafes they did something that would almost be considered sacrilegious in the UK. If you asked for a tea with milk, they’d put the boiling water the cup, then add the milk and add the tea bag last. I found it hard not to laugh every single time this happened. However, I really do admire France for the range of herbal teas and infusions. Whenever we’re over there, we stock up at the supermarket on various sorts that aren’t all that common in the UK.

  2. I loved this post Olga. Tea has been an integral part of my life since I was small. Growing up in Ireland, Irish breakfast tea and soda bread prepared me for the day ahead. My mother introduced me to many different teas; Darjeeling (Queen Elizabeth’s favorite), Ceylon, Earl Grey and, my favorite – Assam.
    When I married my Pakistani husband I embraced Punjabi flavors and fell in love with Chai and all its sociable connotations.
    A spell in Libya brought a taste for Morroccan-style mint tea; luckily we’ve always had our own supply of fresh mint (it grows like a weed!) so it was an obsession easily appeased.
    When we moved to Canada I couldn’t stand the Red Rose brand that seemed to be the household favorite so for quite a while the two things in a comfort package guaranteed to lift my heart were chocolate and tea. It was almost enough to put me on a plane back to the UK but eventually I found a supply of Barooti Assam in an Afghan store.
    I love learning about the many variations in tea-drinking around the world and this post certainly didn’t disappoint.

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