In all of its many iterations, tea is the second most consumed drink in the world behind water. Whether it’s black, herbal, chai or green tea, the beverage that so many consider their favorite is consumed in practically every country on the planet.
The most fascinating thing about tea is that it is not just another drink. In many countries, there are ancient traditions that go along with every cup. Following those traditions is as important to the enjoyment of tea as flavor and aroma. Below are just a few examples.
India – Tea in Clay Cups
Although India is not considered the birthplace of tea, it is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tea. Tea is so popular here that you can buy it just about anywhere – in train stations, on street corners, and in every market. Furthermore, people prefer to drink their tea out of clay cups made of local soil in the belief that residue from the soil is key to giving the tea a unique, local flavor.
China – The Tea Experience
If you want to experience traditional Chinese tea, be prepared for a long, participatory ritual of preparation and brewing. When the tea is ready, it will be served by filling cups arranged in a circle using a continuous pouring motion that does not stop until every cup is full. Then, cradle your cup in your hands and slowly take in the taste and aroma through a series of delicate sniffs and sips.
Britain – Afternoon Tea
We usually associate tea in Britain with the exercise of afternoon tea. Believe it or not, this custom was not introduced until the mid-1840s. Today, the tradition continues with a mild and flavorful tea served in mid-to-late afternoon along with a selection of small sandwiches and cakes. It has been said that the best place to enjoy afternoon tea is in a quiet garden.
Malaysia – Pulled Tea
Malaysia’s favorite tea drink is known as ‘teh tarik’ (pulled tea). It is a rather frothy mixture with a unique texture resulting from the way the ingredients are mixed. There is actually an art form to doing this. Tea masters put all of the ingredients in a glass mug to start. Then, they swiftly transfer the mixture to a second glass mug, continuing back and forth for some time. The process exposes the mixture to cool air which creates the drink’s frothiness.
United States – Tea for Health
The tea culture in the United States is just emerging. As such, we do not really have any tea customs as yet. The closest we come to custom is the fact that most of us who drink tea do so for health reasons. We are replacing sugary drinks, coffee and alcohol with something that is perceived to be much better for us.
Here at Galaxie, we offer a full range of teas along with our coffees and other beverages. Feel free to ask about your favorite tea drink next time you order.