Tea traditions and rituals around the world

tea tradition and ritual

Tea is more than just a drink; it is a cultural experience enjoyed in so many countries over the world.  From the traditional tea ceremonies of Japan to the mint tea of Morocco, tea has played a significant role in shaping culture and tradition. Join us on a journey of tea tradition around the world!

 

British Isles tea tradition

High tea- a term that is often used nowadays. But did you know how it originated? 


The afternoon tea is a tradition going all the way back to the early 19th century. It usually consists of a light meal of sandwiches, cookies, and pastries served along with tea or coffee.

 

This tradition is said to have originated with Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who would become hungry in the late afternoon and request a small meal to be brought to her. The practice caught on among the upper classes and became a popular social event.

 

The supply was limited by cost and availability and because of these factors, aristocratic men had the most access to it. Today, afternoon tea is often served in grand hotels and tea houses and is sometimes accompanied by live music or other entertainment. The name ‘high tea’ was given because of the height of the tables that the common people used!



Chinese Gongfu tea ceremony

The Chinese may have been the first to use the tea leaf ( the legend of tea), but it was hardly recreational. Tea was used as a medicine and preventive health beverage. Even today, Chinese green tea is used medicinally. 


The Chinese Gongfu tea ceremony is a traditional ritual for preparing and serving tea. It is characterized by the use of small Yixing clay teapots and cups, focusing on aesthetics as much as the process. The ceremony involves a series of precise steps, such as selecting and rinsing the tea leaves, warming the teapot and cups, and pouring the tea in a specific manner.

 

The goal of the ceremony is to fully appreciate various attributes of the tea like its appearance, texture, and taste, as well as to foster a sense of peace and serenity. It is often performed in a relaxed, meditative setting, and is considered a form of art in China.


Korean Tea Ceremony


The tea ceremony of Korea is a cultural experience, known as “Darye”, and is deeply rooted in its history and tradition. Tea is brewed in the traditional way in a small earthenware pot heated over a small charcoal stove. It is often a green tea which is served with traditional Korean sweets too.

 

Not confined to just social gatherings but also makes its way into business meetings and religious ceremonies. In Korea, the Darye is a symbol of unity and friendship, and people often sit together for hours to enjoy tea and conversation.


Turkish tea culture

Tea is an everyday ritual in Turkey, being consumed multiple times a day. It is typically brewed in a small pot called a çaydanlık and poured into small glasses called Fincan. It is usually a black tea and is often served with a glass of water and Turkish Delight.

 

In Turkey, consuming tea is considered a symbol of hospitality and is often offered to guests as a sign of goodwill. The traditional way of pouring tea from a great height is considered to be a symbol of generosity. Though this practice is less popular now there are some places devoted to keeping this tradition alive.


Indian Chai tradition

In India, tea is not just a beverage, chai is an emotion. May it be a sign of hospitality for the guests who come home or may it be a companion during college breaks, chai is sought unequivocally by many.

 

Not only that but India is one of the world's largest tea suppliers with tea sales making over 4% of the national income. With more than 14000 tea estates, tea across India has different distinct flavors depending upon the place it is grown in. There are three main types of tea in India, Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiris tea.

 

The Assam tea has a rich and full taste and is grown in a heavily forested region in the northeast corner of India. Darjeeling tea, perhaps one of the more well known Indian teas, has a unique flavor and has more versatile undertones.This tea can be found in the foothills of the Himalayas. The last type of tea is called Nilgiri and has a subtle and gentle flavor.

 

This is grown in the higher elevations of the southern region. While there are no specific traditions followed in India, tea takes a prominent place in everyday life, with every street featuring at least one chai shop! On a side-note, did you know Chai teas ranks the second most favorite beverage in the world?

 

Moroccan mint tea tradition

In Morocco, brewing and drinking tea is a much-loved tradition that signifies hospitality and friendship, and is carried out with great care. Gunpowder green tea is used as the base for this, and it is a beautiful ritual.

 

The host heats water and steeps the tea in a silver teapot, after which he adds mint leaves and a heapful of sugar to steep for a few more minutes. The preparation is traditionally done by the eldest male of the household, a sign of respect to the guests. 


To stir and aerate the tea after steeping, the liquid is poured back and forth between the kettle and glasses before being served. As the final frothy tea is served, the host will pour from at least six inches above the cup as a symbol of respect which also aerates the tea further and releases the sweet aroma into the room.

 

The mint tea is served in small glasses and often accompanied by pastries and sweets. The preparation of this tea and the ritual as such is considered to be an art form in the country and tea is served very generously to guests and travelers. 

 

The Bottom Line

The tradition of tea follows far and wide, and is revered in its own way in many countries. Hospitality, medicinal benefits, and a symbol of companionship- tea wears many hats! With its delectable taste and sweet aroma, it has captured the hearts of many over many centuries. If you've made it this far, then you're probably craving a cup of delicious quality tea! Make every tea-time a celebrated ritual with Teaniru’s exquisitely flavored teas today!

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