Different kinds of tea plants are found in almost every country in the world. There is no doubt that tea is one of the most drank beverages across regions and cultures. Groups of people from different places around the globe are accustomed to varying ways of drinking tea. There are hundreds and thousands of ways of drinking tea, depending on where you are from.
We curated this list of how people drink tea in some places around the world. From preparation to their unique recipes, you will find out how different countries treat tea more than just a beverage, but a distinct culture of where they are from.
India – Masala chai
Masala chai is a black-tea-based made from leaves harvested in the Northeastern regions of India. To prepare it, Indians use cow milk and water to boil the loose tea leaves and spice it with karha. Karha is a unique blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. The spices in a karha depend on the region where it is made. Masala chai is believed to have medicinal value, and many of the herbs associated with it are linked to the ancient Ayurvedic scripture. If you would want to order one, remember that chai simply means “tea” in Hindi. Be specific and ask for Masala chai when traveling in India and its nearby countries.
Morocco – Touareg tea
Touareg tea is a mix of mint, green tea leaves, and sugar, whose flavor is native to Northern Africa. Moroccans pour the Touareg up high into slim glasses and are served three times to guests and visitors. The taste slightly varies each time it is served again. They believed that the first glass represents the gentleness of life, the second is the strength of love, and the third one is the bitterness of death. Never refuse any of these servings as it will be considered rude and insulting.
Tibet – Po cha
Yes, you might have heard of sweet teas. However, does the word “salty tea” ring a bell? Indeed, Po cha, otherwise known as butter tea, is a rare tea associated with Tibet and other Himalayan regions. A traditional Po cha is made of black tea leaves from the Pemagul area boiled and left to steep for hours. Fresh yak butter and salt will then be added to the tea. Tibetans will shake the drink until it has a thick consistency. Instead of glass and mugs, Po cha is enjoyed from their clay bowls. Remember that it is their tradition that your bowl must be refilled after every sip. If somehow you already had enough, simply leave your tea bowl untouched.
Argentina – Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is South America’s way of life. When you visit Argentina, you will see many people sipping their mate tea out of their metal straws known as bombillas. These bombillas also serve as sieves for the loose leaves. Yerba tea is prepared using a small pot with dried calabaza gourd. Known as the “drink of the gods,” Mate tea is so popular that even Argentinian soccer players are seen sipping one before their big games. Mate is best served as either hot or iced during formal celebrations or even casual occasions. History records showed that South Americans have been drinking mate tea since the pre-Columbian era. This drink also has ties to the Latin American cowboys due to its high caffeine content. Rule of the thumb: never stir your brew with the bombilla.
Japan – Matcha
We are all familiar with this green flavor that is often added to several snacks. In Japan, Matcha tea ceremonies are one of their traditions that promote wellness and respect. The ceremony will start when the guests are ushered into a machiai room to clean their hands and mouth. The host will then greet them with the Japanese bow. Next, a bright green, earthy matcha powder is mixed with boiled water and stirred with a bamboo stick. This will create a paste-like substance. Additional water will be added. No matter how many guests there are, the host will only provide a single bowl that will be passed among them until it is empty.
China – Gongfu Tea
Like Japan, the Gongfu tea is also associated with a traditional tea ceremony. Before the ritual starts, the host will prepare a tureen, strainer, tea towels, and “scent cups” – a mini cup used solely to sniff and not drink to check the tea before serving.
Guests are generally required to smell the leaves before brewing. One way of brewing gongfu tea is by using gaiwans. Gaiwans are mainly used to steep tea, while other people would use them as cups after drinking. The tea will then be poured, arranging the cups in a circle until each cup is full.