This article lists six spots around the globe where you can grab a cup while learning about the rich heritage of each of them.
A beverage that doesn’t stop at only providing caffeine, tea is sought out worldwide. It is the drink that is drunk the most after water. It is an integral part of many cultures, be it as a lovely refreshment or for enhancing hospitality.
Tea warms not only your body but also your soul. The beverage holds so much importance to humankind that there are even travel destinations for tea lovers. Read on to find out more about six places around the world where you can quench your thirst for this heritage-rich drink.
The most popular beverage in Argentina and many parts of South America is not exactly tea. Known as yerba maté, it is treated like one, though. It is made by simmering medicinal plant leaves in hot water. It is best served in a hollow gourd using a metal straw to filter off any extra tea leaves.
Maté is a quintessential part of Argentinian culture. Locals enjoy it during a football game while meeting their loved ones in an outdoor setting, or at home with friends and family.
Most even carry around a thermos flask and refill their intricately designed gourd throughout the day. Keep in mind that it is an acquired taste, so you may take a while to wholeheartedly ‘enjoy’ it. You can lighten the bitter taste with milk, honey, or even lemon juice.
Unfortunately, it is not commercially sold, so your best bet is to score a group of locals who will share their gourd with you. This act of sharing is a symbol of extending friendship. If that does not seem like a feasible option to you, which is understandable, try out the tea at steakhouses such as Las Cholita or Las Cholas in Buenos Aires.
This destination had to make it to the list. Your tea-drinking journey would be incomplete without enjoying the afternoon tea experience in the very place where the tradition was born. A friend of Queen Victoria started the practice of tea breaks with light snacks in between meals. The little treats are just as important as the tea itself.
London is filled with Instagrammable tea rooms/parlors. There are various themes, such as Sketch in one of the poshest areas of the capital. Its decor is quite dreamy but chic. You will find more than 12 kinds of tea as well as an extensive collection of refreshments, both savory and sweet.
If your London trip is packed, and you can’t seem to allocate a whole afternoon dedicated to tea drinking, there’s an option for you too. You can devour high tea on wheels. Yes! You can drink tea while learning more about the top landmarks of the city on a classic double-decker bus. B Bakery offers this excellent service. If you follow a particular diet, there is a high chance they have it, for example, vegan, halal, etc.
Tea, known more widely as chai in most parts of India, is a massive part of Indian culture. If you are an avid tea drinker, you must be familiar with the varieties from Assam and Darjeeling. You will probably not be too surprised to hear that they are not the only types of tea that constitute the tea culture in the world’s 2nd largest tea producer. Herbal tea is quite popular due to its medicinal properties. Chai’s sweet and milky taste lightens the often bitter flavor of medicinal herbs.
Darjeeling tea, grown in the elevated lands of above 2100 meters at the extreme west of India, is best consumed on its own. In North India, however, masala chai is more widely sought. It is a magical concoction of various spices (masala) with milk and sugar. In South India, on the other hand, milk and sugar are the preferred additions to tea.
You can find this magical potion on more or less every street in India. Tea is mainly sold at tea stalls around the country. If you visit Jaipur, you may try out the famous Sahu tea stall’s chai prepared over burning coal. If you’re up further north, Giani Tea Stall might be a part of your itinerary.
Even though matcha-flavored everything is the craze worldwide, it dates centuries back in Japanese tea ceremonies. These ceremonies are tranquil, embodying principles of Zen Buddhism. Dressed in traditional kimonos, tea masters serve tea with elegant movements. Dried green tea leaves are ground to make a powder which is widely known as matcha. It is whisked with a bamboo whisk and is drunk unstrained.
For a traditional experience, pay a visit to the Sengan-en in Kagoshima. The vast gardens surrounding it have elements that are as traditionally Japanese as it gets. Even though it takes years to become a professional tea practitioner, you can give hosting a ceremony a shot at Kyoto’s Camellia Tea Ceremony House.
Moroccans prefer their tea minty. Their culture of hospitality revolves around an ethereal combination of green tea and mint. The tea is served thrice in augmenting intensities to guests. Silver cutlery is used. There is even a particular pouring style, from a minimum of one foot above the cup, which helps form a gentle lather. Instead of sipping, you should slurp to express your admiration and thank them only after the final cup has been poured.
You can enjoy this traditional tea while soaking in history at the Dar Batha Museum. If you are looking for a more intimate experience, you may opt for a mint tea with traditional cookies after a spa treatment at a spa-like Les Bains de Marrakech in Marrakech. If you choose to go on planned tours, there may be tea breaks when you can enjoy this unique experience.
6. Sri Lanka
The fourth-largest producer of tea in the world is a wonder on its own. Even with an area of only around 25,332 sq mi, the flavors vary immensely from region to region. The higher the tea is grown, the lighter its flavor is in general. Ceylon Black tea from Sri Lanka is the base for a variety of blended teas, including Earl Grey as well as other fruit-flavored ones.
If you are looking to indulge, you have the chance to absorb everything from its core, that is, tea-based spas to hikes through tea fields if you visit the Ceylon Tea Trails. It is the ultimate lavish affair. On their tours, you can immerse yourself in every little step along the way of tea leaves from shrubs to your cup.
Every country has its own way of drinking tea. In fact, in tea-loving states, every household has its secret tea recipe. You may not enjoy all of them equally, but the wonder of the fact that you can turn a simple leaf into so many different drinks will baffle you just the same. Every single cup you devour is woven with thousands of years of history and culture. Make sure to take your time to learn as much as you can about each of them. Immerse yourself in it while being respectful. It is an integral part of the tea-drinking experience.