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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Grant

Teas of the World.

Seventeen teas of the world: Some of the world's different types of tea and their traditions.

From China: The birthplace of all tea comes pu'er (poo-air). Grown for thousands of years in the Yunnan Province in southwest China, where tea trees are worshipped. It's made from the leaves of a tree known as the "wild old tree" and is fermented anywhere from weeks to decades. This means some pu'er can cost a fortune. The tea is typically sold as compressed "cakes." Like fine wine, pu'er is best enjoyed slowly in small sips, it's an acquired taste.

From South America: Yerba Mate is the perfect tea when you're looking for a boost of caffeine but want to skip the coffee. Traditionally the beverage is prepared in a gourd that is shared amongst guests. The drink is typically consumed out of a bombilla, or a metal straw made of silver, copper, or stainless steel.

From South Africa: Rooibos is a caffeine-free herb that is indigenous to the Cederberg region of South Africa. It has been harvested and brewed in the mountainous region for hundreds of years. South Africa is the only country in the world that produces rooibos. Once brewed, the tea is red in color and has a bitter taste, similar to yerba mate. It's also known as red tea or red bush tea.

From Taiwan: Bubble tea, also known as boba or black pearl tea, is a popular iced-tea drink from Taiwan. It was created in the late 1980s when milk tea had already been common in Asian countries. Bubble tea combines a base of milk tea, sweetener, and "bubbles," which are small balls made from tapioca or fruit jelly. Bubble tea is made by shaking the iced- tea base with milk to produce a rich, silky texture. The air bubbles created by the vigorous shaking are an essential element of the drink. A very popular variety is Tiger Sugar Bubble Tea.

From Morocco: Atai (atay), the process of brewing and drinking tea, is a ceremonious tradition that stands for friendship, hospitality, and a level of comfort with guests. Moroccan mint tea combines a base of green tea with fresh mint leaves and sugar. The tea is poured from a height of 12 inches over the small glass, creating a foam on top of the drink, a sign that the tea has been brewed long enough. If there is no foam on the surface of the tea, it is returned to the pot and steeped longer. The ritual of pouring hot tea from a great height is a splendid sign of an experienced host.

From Canada: A London Fog combines Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup. It was created in Vancouver, after Mary Loria, who was pregnant at the time, requested an alternative to coffee. The drink, also known as a Vancouver Fog, now has many different varieties but remains popular, especially on cold, rainy days.

From Korea: This berry tea is called omija-cha, is made from dried magnolia berries. Omija means "five-flavor berry," so you can expect this tea to be salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and pungent. The tea was primarily used for medicinal purposes such as lowering blood pressure and detoxification. Because of its vibrant color, omija-cha makes a great base for fruit punch. It's typically sweetened with honey or sugar. Generally served cold as a summer drink.

From Turkey: After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, imported coffee became expensive, and what is now known as Turkey made a cultural shift to drinking more tea. Turkish tea is served in glasses that are distinct to Turkish cay (chai), meant to show off the tea's rich mahogany color, so drinkers can admire this and also manage their preference for the tea's strength.

From India: Chai in Hindi means tea. Masala chai is a spiced tea originating from India, and combines black tea with aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, black peppercorn, milk, and sugar. Traditionally, the milk used to make masala chai comes from water buffalos. The drink has become extremely popular and is best enjoyed with snacks.

From East Asia: Instead of steeping dried tea leaves in boiling water, matcha is created by grinding young green tea leaves into a bright green powder. Matcha is known for its strong levels of caffeine, the ritual of preparing the beverage is a little different in China, Japan and Korea, with Korea being the least formal.. The Japanese tea ceremony is called chanoyu. First, the matcha powder is measured with a small wooden ladle called a chashaku. It is brewed in a tea bowl called a chawan, and water is slowly combined with the powder by using a chasen, a handmade bamboo whisk. The ceremony is about directing attention to the aesthetics of the process and motions created with your hands. The host of the ceremony has the guest's interest in mind with every movement. Matcha is drunk with sweet treats to offset the bitter taste from the drink.

From England: English breakfast tea is meant to follow a protein-rich English breakfast. It is made from strong black tea typically from China, India, Kenya, or Sri Lanka. The flavour is stronger than a tea one might drink in the late afternoon, as it has high levels of caffeine. English breakfast tea is prepared by steeping your tea bag for three to five minutes and is finished with a splash of milk and scoop of sugar.

From Egypt: Karkade (care-ka-ee), or hibiscus tea, is a popular drink in Egypt made from the dried, dark red petals from the hibiscus flower. It is said that cold karkade tea was served to the pharaohs in ancient Egypt to help cool them down in the hot desert heat. Karkade also plays a big role in North African culture and is often served during religious and healing ceremonies.

From Hong Kong: Silk-stocking tea gets its name from the method in which the tea leaves are brewed, in a large tea sock that mirrors stockings. This drink stems from British colonial rule over Hong Kong, with the British tradition of afternoon tea, but instead of milk and sugar, silk stocking tea combines black tea with evaporated or condensed milk for sweetness.

From Thailand: Cha yen is a sweet drink that's bright in color and starts with a strong base of black tea. It is a staple of Thai street-food culture. Akin to the style of Hong Kong's silk-stocking tea, the tea leaves are brewed using a stocking filter in a large pot of water. Once the tea is dark in color and cooled, it's served over crushed ice with sweetened condensed milk. The sweet flavor of cha yen is commonly used to balance the spicy flavors of Thai cuisine.

From America: This drink is named after the legendary American golfer, Arnold Palmer. He suggested that his wife add lemonade to a large jug of iced tea. Palmer was overheard ordering the drink in Palm Springs, California, and a nearby customer was intrigued and asked for an order of the "Arnold Palmer" drink as well. Arizona Beverages bought the rights to the drink, and today the Arnold Palmer, also known as the "half and half," is an iconic beverage served around the United States and is distinguished by the contrast between the dark brewed iced tea and cooling lemonade on top.

From Iran: Tea is characterised by its deep reddish-brown color and is important to the culture. It is served with breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Iranian households, where samovars are kept on the stove all day. Milk is typically not added to the drink.

From Tibet: Po cha, also known as butter tea, is a indispensable drink and a symbol of strength. The drink is rich with dairy and combines black tea, butter made from yak's milk, and salt as the dominate flavours.


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