It is a well known fact that tea is extremely popular and drunk all around the world. But not all countries can claim to be producers of tea. Over the ages, there have been various rituals and customs which have become part of households all over the world. Here, we take a look at some of the more interesting tea rituals in the nations which actually produce tea.
Mate (pronounced mah-tay) is the traditional tea that is drunk in this South American country. While technically it may not be tea since it is made from a herb called yerba, it is extremely popular with most of the locals. The fact that it is so popular is determined by the fact that people consider it a ritual to consume this herbal concoction on a daily basis. An fascinating fact is that yerba mate is consumed from a metal straw named bombilla.
There is no doubt that the country which gave tea to the world would have loads of tea customs and rituals. The people here love tea so much that they often consume it as a substitute for water. One such interesting ritual is a tea ceremony which is known as Gongfu Cha. During this ceremony, tea is poured in a number of different mannerisms and styles. All of these need to be practised for a lengthy period of time before actually mastering the art of ‘pouring tea.’
A large amount of tea being produced in a country with too many people can only mean one thing- loads and loads of different styles and customs with regards to not only preparation of tea but also when tea is being served. Tea stalls are prevalent in almost each and every corner of the country and one of the most common sights would be to see a group of men catching up every morning to drink tea and share news and gossip from the previous day.
This powerhouse of green tea production is also one of the largest tea producing nations in the world. Japan also has a number of customs and rituals regarding tea and this should not be a surprise as the country is known for a customs and rituals across a whole range of things. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is known for its choreographic rituals of pouring tea and the accompaniment of sweet biscuits to cut out the bitter taste of the matcha tea.
Kenya is not only one of the largest producers of black tea in the world, it is also one of the largest if not the largest exporter of black tea. Tea is part of everyday life here and is usually drunk with the addition of milk and sugar. A regular custom is Kenya is to offer guests tea. While this may sound rather normal and usual, there is a twist to it. Tea will only be served if the time of the day is suitable for tea as per their norms. Do not worry if tea is not served. This means that it is instead time for food and that is the reason why tea is not being served.
There has been a longstanding culture of drinking tea in Myanmar which is also one of the largest tea producing nations in the world. Tea is loved so much here that is has also found itself to be the main ingredient of a salad known as lahpet thoke- made from fermented tea leaves. Sweetened tea is very popular and anyone with a larger than normal sweet tooth can go and try tea which has been sweetened with sugar as well as condensed milk.
7. Sri Lanka
This small island nation is renowned for the various types of flavoured teas that it produces due to the advantageous terrain that it possesses as well as a tropical year round climate which further favours the growth of tea . Some of the black tea that is made here is among the most highly rated in the world due to the flavour and taste it produces thanks to the various elevations at which it is grown. They take their tea so seriously that there is a separate body which ensures that teas produced are of a certain quality and give their stamp of approval for the same.
As can be seen from the above, there are a number of interesting traditions and cultures in these major tea producing nations. A lot of these have been around for ages and have become part and parcel of daily life and have given the art of drinking tea different styles and methods.