Tea Time Traditions

Tara Dickinson
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The Rich History and Joy of Tea Time Around the World


After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. With traditions specific to different regions, it seems almost every culture around the world has their hand in the diverse world of tea.



To find the very beginnings of tea, we have to travel all the way back to 2700 B.C. China and an accident with Emperor Shen Nong. Story says that he was boiling water in his garden when some plant leaves fell into his pot. The ruler and scientist was thrilled with the ensuing result and ended up discovering tea’s medicinal properties, thus changing the world of hot beverages for all eternity.

From China, tea logically makes its way over to Japan and becomes widespread by the 13th century.


Next, the cultivation of labor intensive tea farms crops up in Asia’s neighboring continent, India. With the British Empire’s rule, tea continues its travels to the other side of the world, finally ending up in Europe and Great Britain.


Little fact: over two decades before tea was made infamous in England when it was brought over by King Charles II’s Portuguese bride, tea roots can be traced to France. Following the royalty, the affluent society became tea drinkers in turn and thus tradition was born, soon replacing ale as the official beverage in England. Evening tea with supper became customary to the masses of the working class during the Industrial Revolution.




China - Cha dao, The Art of Making Tea

China and tea go hand in hand. With the longest history on earth and many different types of cultivation, tea has developed a legendary status in China. The ritual tea ceremony that initially began as a wedding custom is now used on a more common basis to welcome someone into your home. The traditional ceremony is extremely specific, but a more relaxed version can be played out at home by gathering all the implements.

  • A tray
  • A clay or porcelain teapot
  • Canvass or tea cloth
  • Fresh pure water
  • Oolong variety of tea leaf
  • And a proper attitude, relaxed and gracious

Brew, serve, and enjoy. A wonderful ritual to slow down and connect with friends while appreciating the moment.

Tea China

India - Sweet & Creamy

One tea reigns supreme in India, chai! The national drink served across the entire continent, found with street vendors and in just about every establishment all times of day and night. Traditionally made with black tea, several sweet spices such as cardamon, cinnamon, and cloves, then mixed with generous amounts of sugar and milk. This is a delish drink to enjoy at home and simple to make a healthier version.

Tea India

Japan - Green Matcha

Although afforded a large variety of tea across the county, Japan tea is traditionally green tea. Americans might be more familiar with one of Japan’s specialties as matcha made its way to our borders due to its tremendous health benefits. These green tea leaves are ground into a fine powder (preserving many nutrients) and served without straining. Like the Chinese tea ceremony the matcha tea ritual is delicate and intricate as well. But to enjoy the tradition at home, all you need is a high quality matcha powder and whisk.

Tea Japan

Morocco - Where Mint is Mighty

A simple mint tea is at the heart of Moroccan culture and hospitality. Touareg tea is a green tea steeped in mint with loads of added sugar. Traditionally served to guests three times with each glass meaning a different thing- life, love and death. The Moroccan teapot is an intricately engraved piece called a berrad. This is an easy ritual to mimic at home, with simple ingredients and elegant accoutrements.

Tea Morocco

South America - Mate (pronounced ma-tay)

Based in Argentina, Yerba mate is the national drink and way of life. Not technically a tea leaf, it grows on a bush, this bitter caffeine laced tea is full of antioxidants and other nutrients. Served in a hollow gourd and sipped thru a metal straw, this drink is shared all times of day and at all celebratory occasions.

Tea South America

Thailand - Spicy Sweet

As Thai cuisine exploded around the world, Thai tea, Thai iced tea more specifically, became a world renowned star. This popular tea is made from strong red leaf tea that has added flavors of anise, tamarind, and cardamom. This is a yummy recipe to try at home.

Tea Thailand

United Kingdom - Afternoon tea

Traditionally offered between 4:00-6:00pm, black tea served with cream and sugar accompanied by scones, biscuits (cookies), and small sandwiches is the classic scene most of the world is familiar with.

Tea UK

United States - Everything Goes

One of the most popular non- alcoholic drinks in America, the tea choices here are endless. Traditional Chinese, Japanese green, Indian spiced, organic herbal and so on. Coffee may still be number one in the morning, but hot or iced tea at all other meals, in bottles and cans, and coffee houses across the nation is a very close second.

Tea US


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