The global tea consumption is about 6.3 billion kgs whereas the world population is 7.9 billion! This perfectly explains that tea is immensely popular and loved in different countries globally. People across the world consider it as a part of their culture. It has achieved way more fondness than any other beverage ever. Tea is widely consumed for two main reasons: rejuvenating taste and medicinal values.
China, Japan, Argentina, Morocco, Europe, Iran, Iraq, and many different countries consume tons of tea every year. Moreover, each country has different and interesting ways of preparing this beverage. You must be wondering how is tea consumed and relished all around the world? A discovery found that there are 24 million ways of tea preparation. It is quite unbelievable to imagine that there are so many ways of making this drink. However, all these methods have tea leaves as the most common ingredient. The story of tea leaves and how tea became a globally consumed household beverage is a very captivating one!
How tea was originally invented?
The legend dates back to 2737 BC. The Chinese emperor Shen Nung, who was also an herbalist, was sitting near a tree. His servant was boiling drinking water for him. At that moment, suddenly tiny leaves from the tree above puffed into the boiling water. Those tiny leaves were of the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. The emperor decided to try the drink that accidentally got created due to the infusion of tiny leaves in the boiling water. This unintended drink is now a world favorite beverage known as tea. For centuries, tea has retained its qualities and has been a favorite among people of different communities. In most places, tea leaves are brewed in water or milk and consumed hot or cold. Not to forget that Tea comes in two categories – True tea and Herbal tea. This means that the different tea varieties all around the world primarily belong to these two categories. Both of them have their specialty in terms of taste and health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at them;
True Tea – Types and Benefits
True tea comes from the tea plant or Camellia Sinensis plant. The tea plant is known to produce various types of teas. Oolong tea, White tea, Pu-erh tea, Green tea, Black tea etc. are some to name. All of these are true tea.
Benefits of True Tea
True tea has many bioactive compounds like caffeine, L-theanine, and catechins. It consists of many health benefits;
• The high amount of EGCG in Green tea helps in preventing the arteries from getting clogged.
• The L-theanine and caffeine properties in black tea improve the cognitive skills of the brain and mental alertness.
• The fermented Pu-erh tea efficiently benefits weight loss.
• The antioxidant properties in Oolong tea lower cholesterol levels.
• The least processed white tea has great anti-cancer benefits.
Herbal Tea – Types and Benefits
Herbal tea does not originate from the tea plant. It is a fine mix of various fruits, leaves, barks, flowers, and roots that are taken from any type of non-tea plant that is edible. Chamomile tea, Peppermint tea, Ginger tea, Hibiscus tea, Sage tea, Rooibos tea are some of the known herbal teas.
Health benefits of herbal tea
Herbal tea is a calorie-free and caffeine-free drink. It is a great natural drink that consists of many life-saving vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. This nourishes our body in many miraculous ways ;
• Anti-inflammatory qualities in turmeric tea reduce pain and soreness.
- Chamomile tea is greatly known for its calming effects. It helps in improving the digestive system.
• Ginger tea helps in improving focus and even protects the brain.
• Drinks such as Hibiscus and Rooibos tea contain polyphenol that helps in lowering blood pressure.
How tea is consumed in different parts of the world?
It is quite a task to determine the many ways of consuming tea as so many different types of teas are grown and prepared globally. However, we promise as you keep reading we are going to break down some of the most delicious and refreshing methods in which tea is consumed all around the world.
1. China’s Pu-erh tea
The Chinese consider tea as a significant part of their tradition. For them, it is a symbol of truthfulness, respect, and clearness. Surprisingly, the Chinese organize a special tea ceremony. This ceremony is held during weddings. The married couple has to serve tea to their in-laws, parents, and relatives. This symbolizes the pure union between the two families.
Talking about the different tea preparation methods in China, the Pu-erh tea is one of the most striking tea types. Grown in the Yunnan province, the tea leaves are sun dried, rolled, fermented, and packed as cakes! It appears as coffee and is known for its earthy taste.
Pu-erh tea is brewed like black tea. The water is boiled and poured over the tea leaves. After a few minutes, the solids of Pu-erh tea are strained. Then more water is poured into the brewed Pu-erh tea. Lastly, the drink is given some more time to enrich its flavor and color before it is relished in small sips.
2. Thailand’s Iced Tea
Thailand was heavily influenced by China in tea drinking during the Civil War. However, the tea consumption methods in Thailand are quirky. The Thai Iced tea popularly known as Cha-Yen is one of the best tea recipes known all around the world. It is perfect to beat the hot subtropical climate that prevails in the Thai region. The iced tea appears in a pleasant ombre color.
Thai iced tea is prepared by blending black tea with condensed milk, sugar, and various spices like star anise, tamarind, cinnamon, and orange blossom. The tea is served with ample ice cubes.
It is a sweet and aromatic drink. Thai iced tea is widely served in many big and small restaurants in Thailand.
3. Japan’s Matcha Tea
Japan cultivates tons of tea leaves every year. Like China, it too conducts tea ceremonies known as Chado which means a way of life. The tea ceremony takes place in gatherings. Matcha tea is part of Japan’s tea ceremonies.
Tea leaves are dried and then ground to a fine green powder preparing matcha. It is presented to the guests in the form of tea in a step-by-step procedure by the host. The entire procedure requires the host to adhere to strict movements and postures. In Japan, the main idea of the tea ceremony is to strengthen the relationship between the guests and the host. This also brings tranquility, respect, purity, and harmony between both parties.
Matcha tea in Japan is served in two different forms; thick and thin. The thick tea is a large amount of matcha tea blended with hot water whereas the thin tea involves a lesser amount of matcha mixed with hot water.
4. Great Britain’s Earl Grey Tea
Tea is a quintessential part of the British lifestyle. The English prefer drinking tea two times a day, midday and dinner. People here enjoy it with snacks like cookies, and cupcakes. When we talk about tea, we have to mention Earl Grey tea. It is a flavored black tea with many health benefits. It has the after taste of citrus fruits almost like lemon and orange. It is simply made by brewing in hot water and then straining it after 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Turkey’s Chamomile Tea
Turkey stood out as the highest tea consuming nation globally in 2016. Moreover, it has the highest consumption number for chamomile tea. It is a great part of the Turkish tradition. Chamomile tea has many antioxidants that help in relieving stress. It also works as a great sleep aid. This tea also helps women during menstrual cramps as it has effective calming effects.
According to Turkish tradition, the best way to drink Chamomile tea is by brewing it in hot water.
6. Morocco’s Peppermint Tea
Like many other countries, tea is a vital part of the Moroccan tradition. Here, tea is prepared by mixing green tea with mint leaves and sugar. This preparation of tea is known as Maghrebi mint tea. It is one of the best ways to drink peppermint tea.
Morocco too has a definite way of serving tea on various occasions. From a height of 12 inches, the drink is poured to form foam. This foam is an indicator of how well the tea has been made by the host. If it does not form any foam, then the tea is poured back into the kettle and put to boil again.
7. South Africa’s Red Tea
Red tea is made from the Rooibos plant which is caffeine free. The herb is grown only in South Africa. It is made by brewing the Rooibos herb in hot water for half an hour in medium-low flame. After this, the tea leaves are strained. The tea is then served by adding a small amount of milk.
In every part of the world, tea is known to bring people together. In countries like China and Japan, tea is a way of enhancing relations between people. In countries like Turkey tea is highly valued for its medicinal values. In many other places in the world like Britain, India, Pakistan tea is a doting habit. So no matter in whichever part of the world you are in, you should not miss out on tea as it has both refreshing taste and great health benefits.