Teas from around the world
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Legend has it that the first cup of tea was brewed in 2737BCE when dried leaves landed in a boiling cup of water served to the Chinese emperor Shen Nung.
From China, the idea of “tea” spread across the world. And how happy we are, because not only does tea heal, it helps to relax after a long day.
Jess Bonin, a South African tea expert, said the manners of drinking and observing tea etiquette varied from China to Japan to India to Britain.
“Each hold their own way of honouring the tea process, the tea effect and applying the best methods to harness its full potential.”
Bonin believes Kenya and Malawi are two of the most flourishing tea countries, increasing their production and consumption on a yearly basis.
“The quality and flavour is beautiful and taking the world by storm. They are relatively new to tea production when compared with countries like India, Sri Lanka and China, but are quickly catching up in their quantity and tea variety exploration such as moving from Black to Green tea production,” said Bonin.
Here is how different countries enjoy their cuppa:
South Africa has two areas that grow tea, aka Camelia Sinensis, KZN and Tzaneen. However, there is still a lot to be done to establish a tea culture in the country. In Cape Town, Lady Bonin’s Tea on Long Street is fast becoming a big name for tea travellers. The company sources, blends, packages and distributes full leaf teas. The teas and herbals are sourced locally and internationally from small scale, social and environmentally driven farms that are organic wherever possible. There are over 44 blends. Bonin said their main import countries are Sri Lanka and Japan, while locally the teas are sourced from the Suid Bokkeveld, Cederberg and Overberg.
Bonin said: “ I created the tea bar as a solution to my own problem. There was nowhere I could go that served a variety of tea options in the same way coffee lovers can enjoy coffee. The Tea Bar was an idea born in 2010. I created it because there was nothing and nowhere I could go enjoy many options of tea in modern and traditional applications.”
The Long Street tea bar sees many tourists who enjoy a cup of local herbal teas and blends such as Rooibos, Buchu and Honey bush.
Tea has been the leading foreign exchange earner for this country. Most produced is black tea, with green tea, yellow tea, and white tea produced on order.
Kenyan resident Jean Wandimi said no breakfast table was complete without a cuppa. It is stored in flasks that keep it hot. According to custom in the country, when someone passes by a home, they are offered a cup of tea.
“It is considered rude to say no to a cup of tea. The best tea is prepared with tea leaves from the Kenyan highlands and simmers on the pot for several minutes. Kenyans love their tea with lots of milk. They enjoy it with bread, mandazi (a common pastry in Kenya) or chapati (flat bread). One of the most common brands is Ketepa tea which has been around for several years although more brands continue to crop up offering all manner of styles and flavoured teas,” she said.
Where to get a good cuppa: Artcaffe, Westgate, Mwanzi Road, Parklands, Nairobi, Kenya. Call:+254 717193895
No one who visits Turkey leaves without trying their range of delightful teas. Turkish tea is served throughout the day and night. It can be found just about anywhere in Turkey, at street markets, hotels and restaurants.
Nabeelah Shaikh, who visited Turkey last year, loved the number of teas she sampled. “Turkey is not just known for its delectable food and amazing historical sites but one thing you cannot miss when visiting the country is their tea.
“The deep mahogany colour of the tea can be seen through the clear glasses. Sugar cubes are offered with the tea, but adding milk to it is a no-no.
“The tea has a distinctly strong taste hence is served in smaller cups. The tea is prepared using two stacked kettles called çaydanlk which is specially designed for the tea preparation,” she said.
Where to get a good cuppa:The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
Address: Beyazt Mh., 34126 Fatih/stanbul, Turkey
Phone: +90 212 519 12 48
Since the eighteenth century, the United Kingdom has been one of the world's greatest tea consumers. For Louise Whitworth, tea is "straight forward" in Britain. People in Britain love their tea with milk and some biscuits for dunking.
“The so-called builder's tea is quite popular in Britain. My grandparents would say Yorkshire tea bags are best for that but then they are biased. You can also go more fancier and have one of the smarter tea brands like Twinings or even Fortnum and Mason. Tea is usually served with scones with jam and cream on the side,” she said.
Where to get a good cuppa: The English Tea Room
Where: 33 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP, UK
Phone: +44 20 7493 6020
Tea in Netherlands is seen as a healthy drink. Jessy Lipperts says in Netherlands, it was customary to have tea.
“It is either tea or coffee,” she says. “Whenever you visit someone's house, there's normally a tea box to choose your individual tea from. When you go to a supermarket there will be about 100 different flavours of tea, including fruit, herbs and spices (cinnamon tea), or any flavour under the sun. Because the tea has so much flavor, milk or sugar is hardly ever used. We also like to put honey and lemon.
“Tea is usually quite weak and we take the tea bag out after 3 minutes. At restaurants, tea is always served with something sweet, like a biscuit or chocolate,” she said.
Where to get a good cuppa: The Penthouse
Where to go: De Haagse Toren, Rijswijkseplein 786, 2516 LX Den Haag, Netherlands
+31 70 305 1000
In India, tea is the way of life. Chai as it is known is a must have beverage in almost every house in India.
Shewta Sharma, from Gurgaon, India, said making the perfect Indian Chai was simple.
“To make chai, organic tea leaves are boiled with water and milk on open fires. Sugar is an added preference. Many people enjoy the famous Masala Tea, made the same way, with added Indian spices. Served in little glass cups throughout the country, the people of India believe that a hot drink in the blistering Indian heat, can keep you cool.
“Every chai walla [tea seller] has their unique tradition of making tea, making tea taste different at every stall,” she said.
Where to have a cuppa: SpoonTree Boutique Bed and Breakfast
A-18/4, G Block, DLF Phase 1, Sector 26, Gurugram, Haryana 122002, India
+91 88002 80482