How does tea look like around the world?
Different communities around the world have different tea cultures. The communities prepare and serve tea in different and unique ways. These unique ways of enjoying tea form robust tea cultures across the globe. Different regions favor different tea tastes. If you haven’t read about different types of tea, please head on to our ‘5 types of tea’ article and get some interesting facts. If you already have an idea of the different types of tea then read on as I share 5 different tea cultures that you must try at least once
1. Rooibos Tea in South Africa
The Rooibos tea originated from Cederberg, a small mountain area in the Western Cape of South Africa where it has been grown for centuries. The Khoi people from Cederberg, are believed to have discovered this plant. They would go up the mountains and harvest the needle-like leaves and bring the harvest down using donkeys to make this amazing tea.
Rooibos [pronounced: ROY-boss] is a plant, whose leaves are used to make the well-known Rooibos tea. The name Rooibos means ‘red bush’ and is sometimes referred to as ‘red tea’
The leaves of the Rooibos plant go through the normal oxidation process used in making black tea. During the oxidation process, the leaves gain their beautiful deep red color hence the name “red tea”
Rooibos tea has a taste similar to hibiscus tea, and can be enjoyed with or without milk. This tea does not have caffeine and is therefore a perfect option for those seeking to enjoy a decaffeinated drink.
2. Maghrebi Mint Tea in Morocco
If you have traveled to Morocco then you must have surely had a taste of this famous tea. Also know as Moroccan mint Tea, Maghrebi mint tea is a popular drink made from green tea prepared together with spearmint and sugar.
The tea was initially enjoyed in Morocco but it has now spread to the greater Northern African region. Additionally, in Spain, there is a similar dink that is believed to have been inspired by this popular Moroccan tea. The only difference is that the Spanish enjoy theirs as iced tea during Summer, while the Maghreb people enjoy their version of this drink, any time of the day.
Mint tea is a social center point in Morocco and the serving is almost ceremonial. The head of the house traditionally, prepares and serves the tea to his guests as a sign of pure hospitality. Each guest receives at least 3 servings. Each of the 3 servings have unique tastes due to the amount of time the tea has been steeping. The first serving tends to be light and gentle, second serving strong and rich, while the third is deep and bitter. You can enjoy this tea any time of day as a social activity .
3. Cinnamon & Saffron Cardamom Tea in Kuwait
The people of Kuwait love their spices just as any Arab country would. Tea is a very important drink among the people of Kuwait and serving tea is a gesture that denotes hospitality. It is rather obvious, with this in mind, that tea will be infused with various spices.
They are two kinds of popular tea in Kuwait; Cinnamon Tea & Saffron and Cardamom Tea
The Kuwaiti’s serve cinnamon tea typically with breakfast. The tea is sweet and is made by boiling cinnamon sticks with sugar. The tea is then served with nuts, dates & cookies.
Saffron Cardamom Tea
This arguably, is one of the most expensive teas to make. Both Saffron and Cardamom spice are among the most expensive spices in the world.
The tea is made by simply boiling a few cardamom pods, then steeping the saffron threads in the cardamom tea. Saffron tea can be bitter on its own and that’s why its mixed with cardamom to gain an earth flavor. This tea can be served with a splash of whole milk.
Kuwaitis prefer to serve this golden tea after lunch.
4. Suutei Tsai in Mongolia
Suutei Tsai literally means ‘Milk Tea‘. This Mongolian beverage is made from water, milk, tea leaves & salt. Yes, you absolutely read that right! SALT! And that my friends, is why Mongolian tea is also called ‘Salt Tea‘
Milk is a very important ingredient in any Mongolian diet. Mongolians are mainly pastorals and they keep not only cows but yaks, goats and sheep too. Whole milk is therefore, readily available and that is why it is not uncommon for Mongolians to add butter in their tea.
You think adding butter to tea is strange? Well try adding FRIED millet. Yes once in a while Mongolians add fried millet to their Suutei Tsai.
Obviously Suutei tsai has a very strange tea which comes from the salt and most westerners have difficulty acquiring this taste. However, Mongolians love their tea and they serve it with meals and enjoy this unique drink throughout the day.
5. Chai in Kenya
Tea is one of the main cash crops grown in Kenya and because of this, Kenyan black tea is one the best in the world. As a matter of fact, Kenya was the largest exporter of black tea in 2018. Kenyan black tea is grown in the highlands where you find high altitude and red-brownish soil. This unique environment gives the Kenyan tea it’s full bodied flavor which carries milk very well. This robust flavor makes Kenyan tea quite popular in the UK. Majority of the tea consumed in the UK actually comes from Kenya.
Kenyans typically prepare their tea with milk, water and sugar to sweeten. The tea is consumed mostly with breakfast or in the afternoon, and is served very hot. It is a Kenyan culture to serve your guests with tea any time of day. This culture signifies hospitality.
While Kenyans prefer the simple tea described above, there is a popular variation called Chai Masala. Chai Masala is basically black tea with milk and ginger spice.
Kenyan pastries like Mandazi, Samosa or Chapati are served with the tea for a full Kenyan tea experience.
It’s interesting to see how different cultures engage in tea culture. But one thing for sure is that tea plays an important role all over the world. Is there a tea culture you would like us to highlight here?
Leave your comments below or email us and let us know which country you would like us to shine the spotlight on.