The tea drinking tradition dates back to 2737 BCE. According to legend, the tradition started when some dried leaves accidentally fell in the cup of hot water of the Chinese emperor, Shennong. Since then tea drinking tradition has evolved and spread around the globe.
Its recipes evolved along the way. Let’s look at a few traditions followed around the globe.
The customary blend of Morocco is Touareg Tea is a mix of green tea, mint and sugar it is also known as Maghrebi mint tea. Touareg Tea is poured into slim, delicate glasses and served three times to guests. The flavour varies each time and refusing any serving is considered rudeness. As per the proverb” “The first glass is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love, the third is as bitter as death.”
India is the second largest producer and consumer of tea. The most common variant of Indian tea is its Masala Chai – a blend of black tea and a variety of spices including ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper. Though the recipes vary from households to streets. Tea vendors who are called “chai wallahs” sell the traditional tea in clay cups called Kulhars. Some believe it is the dust from these Kulhars which enhances the flavour!
The 15th century saw the rise of Chaikhanehs, tea houses in the Middle East. But It was only in the 20th century that Iranians began to grow their black tea. Tea is customarily carried in a silver tray and served with Nabat, a bright yellow rock candy. Iranian tea is very strong in flavour and served without sugar. You are to suck the strong tea by holding a sugar cube between your front teeth.
The traditional of Tibet is known as Po Cha. A brick of Pemagul black tea is boiled for hours and then salt, milk and yak butter are added. This mixture is churned together to have a soup-like consistency. This tea is highly suitable to sustain cold climates.
Malaysia’s signature brew Teh Tarik, commonly known as “pulled tea” is a humble blend of black tea, condensed milk and sugar. But what makes it special is how it’s mixed. Its frothy texture makes it unique which is achieved by pouring it back and forth between mugs.
Not only the tea tradition but the showmanship has gained a lot of popularity. Witnessing the mixing of The Tarik is like attending a dance show where the tea accompanies the brewer as a partner by flowing to and fro between mugs and not a drop is lost in the process!