SYDNEY TEA FESTIVAL 20 AUGUST 2017
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TEA TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD
According to a legend, the tradition of drinking tea goes as back as 2737 B.C when Chinese emperor Shennong found that when a dried leaf from the tea plant fell into his cup of hot water, it improved its taste with pleasant effects. Tea is now consumed all over the world with few countries – like Japan and China – using it as a ritual while others as an energy drink as well as a relaxing liquid. In modern day society tea – where different forms of tea are developed – is taken for granted. It is a common practice of working people to grab a cup of tea and relax while they are on break-time. Common all around the world, still many areas make their tea in a particular way using different ingredients. Here is a list of countries which according to their tradition make tea in a unique way
The tea prepared here is a mixture of green tea leaves, an enormous amount of sugar and mint leaves. This tea is known as Touareg tea – also called sometimes Maghrebi tea. The tea is served thrice, poured from some height, each time with a different flavor. As the saying goes “The first glass is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love, the third is as bitter as death.” If you refuse any of these, it is considered very rude.
The high-calorie tea in Tibet is prepared with the addition of salty butter of yak and is a high-calorie drink which provides comfort in extreme winter conditions. This traditional tea – known as Po Cha – is prepared by boiling solid cubes of Pemagul black tea for some time and then other ingredients like butter, milk, and salt are added. The resulting mixture is soup like liquid.
India is the largest consumer of tea in the world, and it also exports large quantities of tea due to its high production of tea. Almost all types of teas are consumed here, but the most favorite and well known is one that is made by the addition of different ingredients – like Cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom which is used for particular smell – sometimes with black tea leaves and milk and sometimes with green tea leaves. India has the long tradition of spicy tea dating back to Mughal era when consumption of tea was increased because of trade with East India Company. Tea is also the national drink of India sold almost at every corner especially at railway stations and other crowded areas. Vendors also wander the streets selling tea in clay-made cups. According to some people, the real taste of tea can be enjoyed in these clay cups.
Tea in Argentina is made by a particular titular plant which is called “the drink of gods.” The tea is prepared in a small pot, and sometimes dried calabaza is also used as a pot. It is drunk with the help of a special straw called Bombilla. Once empty the pot is filled with hot water to revive the tea. The bowl is passed to next person after taking a sip and in this way a firm bond is created among individuals. It is extremely rude to deny the offer; stirring the liquid with the bombilla is also considered rude because it questions the abilities of Brewer – your host. When using tea in a traditional way, no sweetener is used, but younger generations have started using sugar or honey as a sweetener.
In Russia, tea is prepared in a Samovar – a pot of boiling water. There are different rumors regarding the everyday consumption of tea in Russia. Few believe it was after the victory of Bolshevik that ordinary people got free tea, which formerly was a product for elites. Others think tea was provided to ordinary people as a substitute in the leaner days of Russia because there wasn’t much to eat. Nowadays Zavarka is made as a brewed tea, which is taken in a subtle quantity – an inch or so – and then hot boiling water is mixed with it as desired. It is usually preferred black, but guests are also offered milk and sugar. Zavarka isn’t served without any cookies or some other snack; it is considered rude.
The Chinese tea event Gongfu Tea is an elaborate process even to the extent of design on cups. There are different things provided along with the prepared tea like “brewing tray” and “scent cups” which are only used to sniff. In the first step, guests are invited to smell the leaves before brewing followed by many other measures. This process of making tea is called “Cha-Dao.”
In Japan people mostly use a green tea called Matcha. Japan also holds many tea ceremonies which have a strong influence of Zen Buddhism. While serving tea to guests in Japan, even the minutest details are considered – how utensils are cleaned and warmed to the order in which they are brought. Due to the bitter taste of Matcha, it is served with some sweets.
- United Kingdom
In the seventeenth century tea was introduced to British people but the iconic tradition of afternoon tea in Britain developed much later. The seventh Duchess of Bradford requested tea and other sandwiches around 4 pm – almost a half time in between lunch and dinner – inspiring the elites. Later many public gardens served as a tea serving places where people could sit and enjoy the afternoon tea. Nowadays, tea is an essential part of the Britain’s day to day meal.
This article is written by Frank Lee who works at Rebateszone. Exploring the traditions of different cultures is one among his many hobbies.
SYDNEY TEA FESTIVAL
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