Ah, tea; the universally acceptable beverage. It is the world’s second most popular drink so it’s quite likely you’re enjoying a cup of your favourite brand while reading this. Have you ever been curious how other countries drink their hot or iced tea?
Matcha is a powdered green tea from Japan using finely ground, high-quality green tea leaves. It’s traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies.
India has a rich and diverse tea history, with traditional masala chai tea being served through South Asia for thousands of years before the tea industry exploded during the British colonial era. Pictured above is the white leaf Darjeeling tea, which grows wild in India.
Black tea in the UK can be served on its own or with milk and/or sugar and is taken several times a day. Aim for a golden colour when pouring you milk, and for the love of god, brew the tea first.
Turkish coffee may be the country’s most famous warm drink, but cay tea is its most popular, served with every meal, and often in between. The black tea doesn’t take milk, but can be served with or without sugar and is usually brewed in a really confusing two-chamber pot.
Tibetan po cha, or butter tea, combines tea, salt, and yak butter. The tea is brewed for several hours to get a bitter taste, then churned with butter and salt directly before serving. Try it yourself with this recipe.
Spearmint is steeped in green tea for this drink, popular in Morocco and across much of North Africa.
7. Hong Kong
Famous in Hong Kong is iced milk tea known as pantyhose tea or silk stocking tea because it’s similar in colour to nude stockings, no joke. To make, combine strong chilled black tea with evaporated or condensed milk and serve over ice.
Pearl milk tea, aka bubble tea, has become a worldwide phenomenon, but it has its roots in Taiwan. It can be served hot or cold, and typically over tapioca pearls cooked in sugar syrup. Basically once you’ve had bubble tea, you’ll never need a Frappuccino again. Use this recipe to make your own.
Sweet iced tea is the lifeblood of the American South. Usually made using strong-brewed Lipton tea and sugar, you can add lemon, or a pinch of baking soda for smoothness.
For a cup of Russian tea, several types of black leaves are brewed separately and then mixed in the cup. Like Turkey, Russia traditionally uses a multi-chamber pot, called a samovar, with a chamber for water and a chamber for brewing the tea.
Chai isn’t exclusive to India. Spicy and creamy masala chai is a favourite for Pakistani afternoon tea, and you can use basic English breakfast tea as a base.
Cha yen is Thailand’s take on iced milk tea, and it combines condensed milk and brewed Thai Tea Mix.
The Chinese love their tea, and drink a wide range of flavours and colours. Pictured is yellow leaf pu-erh tea, which is packaged in bricks or balls, crumbled into the cup, and steeped in hot water.
Malaysia has perfected the tea needed for all deserts and snacks. Shown is Kopi Cham, a drink of coffee plus tea, commonly served hot or iced in Malaysia.
Suutei tsai is cooked in a flat pan with milk and salt. The savoury tea is served in a shallow metal bowl with most meals.
Egyptians are well-known for being big tea drinkers. Their national Egyptian drink is called Karkadeh tea, which is a sweet-sour drink of bright red color, made of dried Sudanese rose flower bracts. You can drink it both hot and cold.
Yerba mate is a vitamin-packed green tea grown and drunk throughout South America, as well as in Portugal, Lebanon, and Syria. It has a signature smoky flavour and can be served hot or cold.
18. South Africa
The Rooibos plant produces a bright red tea, and is found exclusively in South Africa. Typically served on its own without sugar or milk, the tea has a naturally mild and sweet flavour, and is a great before bed cuppa.
In Qatar, strong milky tea called karak chai is a nationwide favourite. Black tea leaves are boiled in water, mixed with evaporated milk and sugar, and boiled a second time.
Mauritania’s version of the popular north African mint green tea has a specific serving ritual. Drinkers take three cups each, increasing the sweetness of every new cup, so you start bitter and end sweet.
Share you favourite way of tea drinking!