English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Russian Caravan, Oolong, Matcha, Jasmine, Rosehip, Chamomile, or Rooibos. You’ve guessed it. We’re talking about tea.
After water, it’s the most widely consumed drink in the world. Most of us love it in some flavour or another. Many turn to its comforting warmth during autumn and winter or pair it with sympathy in times of distress.
Tea culture varies around the world. Depending where you’re from, you’ll expect different things from a cup of tea.
India is famous for its Assam and Darjeeling tea. You can expect it to be served almost everywhere in the sub-continent on a daily basis. It’s typically made with milk, can be served with additional spices and is usually sweetened. Indian Chai has gained popularity in Australia in recent years. In India, Chai specifically refers to a sweet milky brew filled with delicious spices and black tea. It’s also known as Masala Chai, Spiced Tea or Spiced Chai.
If you’ve enjoyed tea in China or Japan, you’ll be familiar with the idea of the tea ceremony. In Japan, a tea ceremony is a choreographed ritual. You’ll find traditional Japanese sweets alongside Matcha tea. The ceremony is not about drinking tea, it’s about the practiced movements and mindfulness of preparing a bowl of tea. Tourists will often take part in a tea ceremony with a Maiko or trainee Geisha.
Tea can be used in many special circumstances in China. In traditional Chinese society, the younger generation show respect by offering older generations a cup of tea. Inviting your elders to restaurants for tea is a traditional holiday activity.
When sons and daughters leave home for work or marriage, they may spend less time with their parents. Going to restaurants and drinking tea becomes an important activity to connect at family gatherings.
During a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony the bride and groom kneel in front of their parents and serve them tea, symbolising gratitude and the joining together of the two families.
Aside from family bonding and respect, tea can be used as a formal apology in China. Misbehaving children might make their parents a cup of tea to acknowledge their guilt and regret.
Over in Turkey, it’s very common to find a young boy dashing through the streets with a silver tray full of small tea-filled glasses. There, the fragrant liquid is not traditionally drunk with milk or lemon, only sugar cubes.
Friends and families will gather at the local tea garden to discuss their lives and enjoy each other’s company while sipping fresh tea. Although everyone goes to the tea garden, typically only men gather inside the teahouse. They play board games while sipping on a variety of teas; very secret men’s business.
The British are another tea loving nation. Originally imported to Europe by Portuguese and Dutch traders, England was a latecomer to the tea trade.
Tea is now a national staple in England. Enjoyed formally at afternoon tea, sitting outside and enjoying cream and scones or in the lounge room on a rainy day. In true British style, tea can cause outrage with many arguments about the correct way to make a cup of tea; are you a milk or teabag first person?
The comfort of a cup of tea is hard to beat. The healing powers of the humble cuppa are pretty tea-riffic.
Grab a dose of relaxation at Marina Square. We’re rewarding our shoppers with collectable tea diffusers this autumn. Collect one every time you spend $100 in Coles or $50 in any other Marina Square store while stocks last. Click here for details and full terms and conditions.