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.

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


Filter Coffee and Chicory in South India

In India, particularly the South, coffee is prepared entirely differently from anywhere else in the world and served in unique steel vessel known as a tumbler. Indian coffee, known colloquially as filter coffee, is made through a metal coffee filter and owes its particular taste to the addition of the chicory plant, which enhances the flavor of the coffee, and the ample quantities of sugar and boiled milk.


Typically, due to the extremely hot temperatures at which coffee is served, many coffee salesmen are also experts at pouring the coffee between two vessels–the tumbler and the dabarah–to cool it off. The pour also serves the purpose of evenly mixing in the sugar as well as aerating the coffee to create foam. This pour, which requires skill and balance, is performed at longer distances, leading to the alternate name “meter coffee.”

Indian Man Skillfully Pours Hot Coffee

Ultimately, the product is frothy, sweet and undoubtedly worth sampling.


‘Chai Tea’ isn’t a Thing

Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or a tea devotee, nobody wants to be wrong when it comes to terminology. So why do we continue to order “chai tea?” In today’s coffee shops, ordering a chai tea or a chai tea latte will usually get you a spiced tea drink sometimes completed with steamed milk.

But the name of this highly popular drink is a slight redundancy. Chai, which originates from the Indo-Persian, “chay,” which in turn originates from the Chinese “cha,” is a root word that has, for centuries, simply meant tea. So each time we order chai tea, we’re just ordering tea tea.

Our guess is that the name isn’t going to change anytime soon. Perhaps we’ve even made a new meaning for the word chai, referring specifically to the spiced quality of the delicious beverage. However, if you want to get technical, the word that is used in chai-drinking countries to describe a spice mixture is masala, and thusly, all chai tea lattes in India are known as masala chai. Either way, it’s nice to know what we’re drinking.

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