You’d be surprised to know that the most consumed beverage in the world isn’t coffee or soda. Not counting water, the majority of the world’s population actually prefers to drink tea.
If you haven’t jumped on to the bandwagon yet, maybe a tea-related health fact can convince you: teas contain polyphenols that are antioxidants that help repair cells, which in turn, help your body fight off the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, and other ailments. It can also help you control your weight.
aWhether you’re drinking green, black, red, or white tea, you’re sure to get the same health benefits. But if this advantage still can’t persuade you, these fantastic international teas can hopefully change your mind.
Black tea is a favorite for the British, introduced to the country in the 17th century. However, it is their tradition of afternoon tea time that made waves, which was started by Duchess Anna of Bedford in 1840. Tea can be served on its own or with milk or sugar.
There’s a wide variety of teas in the country, with ranges of flavors and colors. One of the favorites is pu-erh. Packaged in bricks or balls, it is crumbled into the cup then steeped in hot water.
Another country with an intricate tea ceremony tradition is Japan. Also called Chanoyu, Sado, or Ocha, these ceremonies often call for choreographed brewing. The preferred tea is matcha or finely ground green tea leaves.
Unlike bagged or loose-leaf tea, powdered matcha is dissolved and mixed with hot water.
Malaysia’s teh tarik or pulled tea is a frothy mix of black tea, sugar, and condensed milk. To get its frothy texture, the brewer pulls the drink back and forth between two mugs to let cold air get into the drink.
What makes this remarkable, though, is the showmanship the brewers have created from the process of frothing.
Cha Yen or Thai milk tea was a product of 1949’s end of Chinese Civil War when refugees brought the tea tradition to Thailand. The creamy concoction is made with robust Ceylon or Assam with sugar and condensed milk. Other spices are also mixed in like star anise, tamarind, and orange blossom.
It is sometimes topped off with evaporated milk to create an ombre effect. The contrast with the amber tea is a joy to capture in photos, which Instagram foodies and food photographers like Ralph Wunsch often do.
The traditional zavarka or loose-leaf black tea concentrate is brewed in a samovar, a small metal container. Russians usually take a small amount of this and mix it in only with more hot water.
There’s also an alcohol-infused Russian tea that is served with rum and lemon juice.
Pakistan’s Noon Chai is a blend of pistachios, almonds, salt, milk, and spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise. An element of Kashmiri culture, Noon Chai bares a signature pink color.
Pakistanis also enjoy an afternoon tea of spicy masala chai, with English Breakfast as a base.
Also called the “drink of the gods,” yerba mate is a vitamin-packed herbal tea that is also popular in Portugal, Lebanon, and Syria. It is customarily prepared and drank in a small pot or dried calabaza gourd.
To drink, people must use a straining straw called bombilla. Yerba mate has a signature smoky flavor, can be served hot or cold, and with or without sweeteners.
Have you tried any of these teas? What do you think about its taste?
About the Author
Meghan Roces is considered a social butterfly due to her overwhelming energy and charisma, as proven by people who get to meet her. She also loves traveling and has been to a few amazing places around the world. However, one can only have such energy, and sometimes, Meghan would opt to lie low and have an alone time—curled up in bed with a really good book.