Last month, it was all about coffee and caffeine cravings. Now, we’re going on a round-the-world tea tour! From Morocco to Pakistan, we invite you to join us in sipping some of the most wonderfully traditional teas on the planet.
Image: Andy Dincher
A traditional combination of gunpowder green tea, mint leaves and sugar, this sweet tea is an everyday custom in Morocco. It is poured from on high (half for show, half for aeration) and guests are treated to three pourings, each of which offers a distinct taste ranging from mild sweetness to a strong, bitter brew.
The tea ceremonies of Japan are a huge part of the country’s history and culture and if you have the opportunity, taking part in one is an incredible experience. The powdered green tea commonly consumed in Japan is called matcha and it’s believed to be filled with health benefits, such as antioxidants, vitamins and metabolic aids.
Life is certainly cold when you live near the Himalayan Mountains and a cup of po cha is key. This tea is made by boiling black tea leaves, then adding yak-milk butter and salt, which results in a creamy, soup-like tea. If yak butter isn’t available, it’s also acceptable to use normal butter made from cow’s milk.
You pronounce it ma-tay and when you’re in Argentina or Bolivia, it’s customary to have a cup. Tea leaves and twigs are placed in a gourd and brewed with boiling water before being sipped through a metal straw. It might sound weird, but the idea is to pass the tea around at a gathering, creating a bond between the drinkers.
It originated in the 80s, and it’s become a sweet tea hit around the world! Taiwanese bubble tea (also called pearl milk tea) can be made from a variety of iced teas, like black, green and oolong. Each is generally high in sugar and syrups, and is topped off with milk, fruits and tapioca balls.
If you love your tea black, strong and simple, Russia will be your tea paradise. Here, loose-leaf tea is traditionally brewed in a small metal pot known as a samovar. The final concoction is then poured into mugs (the more you get, the stronger the tea) before being finished with boiling water to create the tea beverage. You’re meant to drink it black, but most venues will offer milk and sugar, too.
Image: K.C. Tang
Erm, yes, you heard that right! This Hong Kong tea is made using black tea leaves, evaporated milk and sugar. A cloth bag (that resembles pantyhose, hence the name) is used to strain the brew multiple times, which apparently adds to the tea’s smoothness. In some cases, the evaporated milk can also be substituted for condensed milk to give it a thicker, richer flavour.
Alongside China and India, Kenya is one of the biggest tea exporters in the world – and drinking tangawizi tea here is no less common. Tangawizi, which is the Swahili name for the tea, is a type of chai made from tea leaves, milk, sugar and spices, and often completed with fresh ginger. The finished cup is a spicy, zesty, creamy beverage that can be drunk on just about any occasion.
It’s no secret that Indians are the tea masters when it comes to chai and when in India, you’ll find chai tea from street vendors (called chai wallahs) everywhere. Chai is made by boiling tea, milk, sugar and a variety of spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. In India, you’ll often find it served in a clay pot, which is said to enhance the tea’s flavour.
Just over the border, we find the Pakistanis also love their chai tea – but it’s pink! Stemming from the traditions of the Kashmir region, this tea is made with milk, pistachios, almonds and spices. Baking soda is then added to enhance its pink colour. Noon chai is often served alongside local breads and pastries.