Tea is a celebrated beverage across continents around the world. Many countries across continents boasts of traditions and cultures associated with tea. With a history close to 5000 years, tea has been a treasured beverage and is to date widely consumed across the world.
Sri Lanka is known for its superior tea which boasts of high quality. Sri Lankans begin their day with a cup of black tea mixed with milk and sugar. Every Sri Lankan household consumes tea at least two to three times a day. Evenings between 3 to 4pm are also considered tea times and traditional sweet meats, biscuits and cakes are usually served with tea when entertaining guests. Serving tea is a gesture of welcoming a guest to one’s home. Sri Lanka is famous for its small road side vendors who serve “Yard tea” known as “Yara tea” in Sri Lanka. The name is due to the unique way in which it is made by mixing tea, sweetened condensed milk and pouring it from a higher angle (generally a yard away from the glass) to a glass which makes the tea form a froth. This technique adds a uniquely delicious taste and aroma to the tea. Sri Lankans are also famous for consuming black tea with Ginger and Jaggery. Jaggery is a type of Palm sugar used in Sri Lankan desserts. It’s usually sold in solid form such as a block and small parts are broken out of the block and eaten while sipping on hot black ginger tea. Tea is served and consumed in every part of the country. Drinking tea is a joyful experience to all Sri Lankans.
A Chinese emperor according to legend first discovered tea in 2737 BC. Since then tea is widely consumed in China and is considered one of nature’s most prized possessions. Chinese tea culture represents all that tea is known for. Offering a cup of tea is considered a noble act of gratitude and respect. In the early days, one who was served a cup of tea would bend the index and middle fingers and tap twice on the table to show appreciation for the cup of tea. Tea is a beverage served at family gathering, celebratory events in China and is also served as a symbol of apology.
Brewing techniques generally depend on the variety of tea and different temperatures are used to bteeping the tea leaves depending on the type of tea leaves. Even today Chinese tea culture is rich in tradition, it is a sign of welcome to visitors. Modern tea ceremonies are much like the ancient ones and every household brews a pot of fresh tea for visitors.
The Japanese tea culture is a beautiful, musical and harmonious one with carefully choreographed tea ceremonies. The preparing of Japanese Matcha green tea requires special traditional tools and skills passed down by generations. The Japanese tea ceremony dates back to more than a 1000 years and is a graceful performance by skilled Japanese ladies. Households are built with architecturally designed spaces especially to perform traditional tea ceremonies.
Being able to perform a traditionally choreographed tea ceremony is regarded as a gesture of well mannered up bringing by elders. Tea is widely consumed in Japan and green tea has been taken in to whole new innovative realms with Matcha flavoured other products such as Ice cream, chocolates, cookies and even Matcha lattes.
Persian tea culture is rich with tradition, beautiful tea pots and a history dating back to centuries. Iran’s Tea houses are also known as Chaikhanehs and have been around since the 15th century. The stunning architecture and unique interior makes these tea houses unlike any other in the world. Iranian teas are generally a deep red in colour and are served in beautifully designed glass tea cups which has a historical resemblance to Persian tea culture. Traditionally tea is served in a beautifully designed vessel which had originated from Russia. It’s a copper vessel with motifs and floral designs to give it character. The traditional way of drinking tea in Iran is to place a cube of sugar between the teeth and slowly sip strong tea. Most gatherings are commenced with serving tea and each meal usually ends with a cup of tea. The Persian tea culture consists of stunning tea houses, beautifully designed vintage tea glasses and vessels and above all, tea represents joy, unity, love and a sense of belonging.
The British are famous for their tea drinking habits. From stylish afternoon tea functions to formal gatherings, tea is a significant part of the British life. They were the first to plant tea in countries such as Sri Lanka known as Ceylon at the time. Tea plays a significant role in England and is widely consumed across the United Kingdom. Amongst the European communities, the British are regarded as the tea drinkers whilst other countries such as France, Spain, Italy also consume tea.
Irish and Scottish people also have their own tea drinking habits and follow the British tradition of consuming tea during breakfast. English breakfast tea is a strong black tea brewed to be drunk with a dash of milk and sugar. Afternoon tea also known as “High tea” is a popular concept around the world after the British introduced it.
Russia has a long history of consuming tea and is served in a beautiful tea boiler which they refer to as a “Samovar” which means “the boiler”. Russia is famous for its tea houses across the country and are regarded as connoisseurs of tea. Russians usually consume black tea with Lemon, sugar and fruit preserve such as jams. Adding fruit preserves is unusual and unique to the Russian tea culture.
Tea is an iconic beverage during any celebration and gathering and is a symbol of joy and harmony.