Since it's discovery some time around 2700 BCE China, tea has become a worldwide beverage, with many regions adopting their own traditions and rituals. You've probably heard of the matcha ritual of Japan, the love of chai in India, and the tradition of afternoon tea in the UK. But we thought we'd share some lesser known rituals from across the globe.
Tea was introduced to Tibet during China's Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), and quickly became a staple in Tibetans' high altitude diets. However, it is prepared in a very different way to that of traditional Chinese tea.
Yak butter is an important part of the traditional Tibetan diet, and as such, it wasn't long after tea was introduced that it was incorporated into the preparation. Tibetan Butter Tea is prepared by first soaking crushed blocks of tea leaves (such as Pu-erh or Pemagul black tea) in cold water before boiling for several hours. Once the tea has steeped, it is traditionally added to a wooden churn (a cha dong) along with the butter, milk and salt and churned until mixed, although today the maker will most likely use a blender.
Mint Tea is the national drink of Morocco, and is synonymous with Moroccan hospitality. Tea was reportedly introduced to the region in the 1800s, and the country has since become one of the biggest importers of tea in the world.
Traditionally, Moroccan Mint Tea is brewed using green tea, fresh mint, and lots of sugar. Green tea leaves are rinsed with boiling water and dried, before being boiled for several minutes to steep. Fresh mint leaves are then added along with plenty of hard sugar lumps or cones (up to 5 spoonfuls per 1 of tea!). A traditional teapot with a long curved spout is used to pour the brew from a height into a tall cup. This is poured back into the pot and repeated once or twice more to mix the tea and form a foamy head.
In Malaysia, tea is an art for as well as a popular beverage. Pulled Tea, or Teh Tarik as it is known locally, is made of black tea, condensed milk and sugar, that is passed between two cups to create a sweet and foamy brew. The beverage is served in a glass vessel so that it can be seen, and is most often accompanied by good company and gossip!
The art of 'pulling' tea has become such a part of the Malaysian culture that competitions are held each year in Kuala Lumpur to determine who can pour the perfect Teh Tarik without spillage.