Tea Traditions from around the World

Served to house guests as a gesture of welcoming hospitality or as a pick me up during a work break, it’s safe to say that we Sri Lankans love a good cup of Tea any time of the day! Whether it’s a meet up between friends or an evening chat amidst family, Tea has an almost magical ability to bring people together for some good conversation and memorable interaction.

Wonderfully aromatic and delicious, Tea is the most commonly consumed drink in the world with about 2.6 billion cups enjoyed worldwide on a daily basis! With each country having their own unique tea customs and traditions, we decided to take you on a scintillating journey around the world to find out how different countries enjoy their cup of tea! Sogo on, make yourself a good cup of Ceylon Tea with some Sugar and Milk, and immerse yourself in a wonderful tea experience that takes you from India to Japan and all the way to Britain!


A must have drink at social gatherings in Iran, guests are welcomed with a silver tray that usually carries Black Tea along with a bright yellow rock candy called ‘Nabat’. The tea served in Iran is very strong therefore you are encouraged to place a Sugar cube between your front teeth and suck the tea through the cube.


‘Ataya’s is a tea ceremony beloved by many in Senegal and can take place any time there is a gathering of family and friends. A pot of water and Chinese tea leaves are boiled over a stove, then this strong, bitter brew is poured into small glasses and served to guests. Ataya is served in  three stages, with Senegalese folklore stating that the first cup represents the love for your mother, the second for your friends and the third for your significant other.


If you love a good cup of Chai, then India is the place to be! Served in almost every street corner at any given time, Indian Chai is a sweet Milk Tea that is prepared with spices such as Fennel, Cloves and Cardamom.


Legend has it that the English were hungry waiting for dinner so they invented the concept of an afternoon tea! Traditional tea hour in England is at around 4-5pm accompanied by snacks, cakes and pastries and some Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea served from dainty teapots into bone china cups.


If you are a fan of sweet tea, then Thailand should be on your list of places to travel to! Made with strongly brewed Black Tea, Thai Iced Tea or ‘cha-yen’ is mixed with condensed milk & sugar and served over ice.


Chinese have been using the tea leaf for medicinal purposes dating back to 2732 B.C and this tradition still continues. Used for medicinal and spiritual purposes such as meditation, Tea is a very important aspect of everyday life in China including during wedding ceremonies where tea is served by the couple to their parents as a way of saying Thank You.


One of the most ritualistic tea ceremonies in the world, Chado is the Japanese tradition of preparing and serving tea. The  tea is served in a spacious, decorated room to kneeling guests with a sweet dessert called Wagashi.


Russians enjoy a very strong tea called ‘Zavarka’, which they serve to their guests in several rounds. You will almost always find a piece of cake served with your tea as it is considered rude to serve just a cup of tea by itself.


In Morocco, welcoming guests with a hot cup of tea is a vital aspect of showing their genuine hospitality. Hot cups of Mint tea are served in colorful glasses with spiced nuts and pastries.


Butter and Tea? Who would have thought! Butter Tea also known as Po Chais made with tea cakes that are crumbled into hot water and boiled for several hours. Butter Tea is enjoyed across Tibet as it gives you a boost of energy while keeping you warm from the cold weather.

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