Four Very Unique Tea Cultures From Around the World (Part One)

1. China

In China, tea isn’t just a drink. It’s a way of life. It’s a work of art that is created in tea ceremonies, an exact science used in traditional Chinese medicine, and a little of both in Chinese cuisine. Chinese tea can be brewed in one of two distinct ways, Chaou, which is a method best used for lightly oxidized teas, and Gongfu Cha Dao, which is generally used for Oolong and fermented teas. Tea is used to speak and communicate in family units and society, and can be served as a way of conveying respect to elders, during family gatherings, as a form of apology, and to connect families on wedding days. Thousands of years of tradition go into making Chinese tea preparation what it is today: a unique culture that is completely inimitable.

2. Morrocan Tea

In Morrocco, the tea of choice is green tea, served with the fresh and unexpected twist of mint. Like the Chinese, Moroccans consider their tea a form of art, and it plays a large role in the culture and customs of the country. The tea is brewed with mint and is consumed at meals, and the additions and sweetness change from region to region. Generally, the green tea is allowed to steep while the tea pot is still on the stove. Next, the sugar is added, and the fresh mint leaves are introduced to the mix and the tea is allowed to continue steeping. In a few minutes, the tea is ready. Sometimes tea is prepared with pine nuts, wormwood, or lemon verbena. No matter what the flavor blend is, however, tea is always served to guests, and it is considered rude not to accept the tea.

3. Tibetan Tea

Tea has a very unique method of preparation in Tibet. For starters, it is always taken with yak butter, as yaks are the most commonly found milk-producers in the world’s proverbial ceiling, and Tibet is the most elevated country on earth. Additionally, tea is prepared with salt, and due to the highly caloric nature of yak butter, is an extremely nourishing food for the extremely cold temperatures experienced by native Tibetans.

4. Burmese Lahpet

Myanmar is one of the only countries in the world where tea is not only consumed in liquid form, but also eaten as pickled leaves known as lahpet. No special ceremonies in Myanmar are complete without the serving of pickled tea leaves, and the dish is believed to have medicinal properties that cure digestive issues. In Myanmar, Lahpet is also the national dish and represents the rich history and culture of its people.

File:Pickled tea (lahpet).JPG

Lahpet, served with peanuts, soy beans, and other accompaniments.

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