Tea All Over the World

Although people all over the world drink tea, traditions and practices vary so much from place to place that the tea consumed in Great Britain may bear very little resemblance to the tea consumed in China, despite the fact they both got their beginnings from the same plant.

A cup with a cricket

In China, tea has evolved over the centuries. During the Song Dynasty, between 960 and 1279, the rich drank powdered tea, according to “Tea Processing in China, circa 1885: A Photographic Essay” by Robert Gardella. Later, whole leaves of loose tea became the norm, but it was not until the 1700s that the classifications we know today emerged. Today, most Chinese prefer green tea with no additives like sugar or flavors.

For some Japanese, tea is the center of a daily religious ceremony. According to Jennifer L. Anderson in “Japanese Tea Ritual: Religion in Practice,” most Japanese do not practice the tea ceremony, but for those who do the formality and aesthetic elements are a daily reminder of spirituality.

In the United Kingdom, tea is an integral part of life. British afternoon tea, accompanied with the option of cream, sugar and snacks, is famous. According to Britain Express, when tea became popular liquor sales went down and the pottery industry prospered. Although high tea reached its heyday during the reign of Queen Victoria, the beverage is still widely consumed on the British Isles.

Many former British colonies share the English love of black tea. In Kenya and other parts of East Africa, for example, people widely drink chai, a spiced black tea, boiled with milk and sugar. According to a cultural reading from the Swahili language book “Swahili: a foundation for speaking, reading and writing” by Thomas J Hinnebusch and Sarah M. Mirza, vendors sell chai in outdoor markets.