Tea Rituals from Around the World

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Tea rituals from around the world are designed to slow down the busyness of life for a spell, delight your senses, and encourage you to be totally engaged in the joy of your moment.

Here is a wee snapshot of a few…

In Russia the traditional way of making tea is by heating a ‘samovar’ (a tea urn) with charcoal or wood (the modern ones use an electrical element) which brews the teapot of ‘zavarka’ (concentrated black tea) that sits on top.

The zavarka is diluted down with hot water when served, and is offered with milk, sugar and usually a light snack.

In Japan the tea ceremony, Chanoyu, is highly ritualistic and beautifully detailed; from the greeting of guests and the arrangement of flowers, through to the making, serving and drinking of the tea.

Matcha (powdered green tea) is usually the tea of choice, and it is served with light sweets to compliment the tea’s bitterness.

Tea rituals

India serves a large variety of tea, with one of its more popular teas being Masala Chia. It is a blend of black tea leaves with spices such as nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon.

Chai is served throughout the day, and is always immediately offered whenever guests arrive.

In Morocco green tea leaves are mixed with mint and sugar to make Maghrebi (or Touareg) tea. The tea is customarily poured at arm’s length, which can be done with great aplomb by a skilled tea pourer, into glass or metal cups.

The tea is poured in this way so as to not only aerate the tea, but also to fill the air with the refreshing and energising aroma of mint.

Tea rituals

England’s quintessential tea tradition is afternoon tea (or when served formally, called ‘High Tea’).

As the English evening meal is often served late, afternoon tea is a custom in nearly every home, workplace, and eating venue as a bridge between lunch and dinner. The tea is usually black and is offered with milk, sugar, or lemon and served with biscuits, cakes or scones.

High Tea is served with lovely bone china or silver teapots and fine china cups, with a variety of delicate sandwiches and pastries.

China’s ancient, traditional Tea ritual is Gongfu Cha, the essence of which is, time and effort provide one with a meaningful experience. The detail is meditative; from the ‘scent cups’ (to smell the leaves before the tea is made) to the way the tea leaves are washed and the cups warmed before the tea is poured into them.

The tea is usually oolong (fermented green) and it is steeped and served a number of times, without accompaniment, so that the tea may be savoured fully.

There are three Tea rituals in Australia. Australia’s Aboriginal people have an ancient bush medicine practice of making tea from Teatree (leptospermum) for its multitude of health benefits.

Afternoon tea, English style, is also popular in Australia.

But the tradition that is most iconically Australian, is billy tea. Campers, farmers and bushies (a person who lives in the bush) boil a ‘billy’ (a tin can with a wire handle) over an open camp fire, then make their tea in mugs and sit around the campfire taking in the vastness and beauty of the great Australian bush.

Tea rituals

However you make and drink your tea, it is worth making the effort to relish the moment, step back from the bustle of life into your own little world and be enchanted with the mysticism that tea is shrouded in.

‘A cup of tea is a cup of peace.’ ~Soshitsu Sen XV

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Beth Plotnick
    June 23, 2019 1:54 pm

    High tea is commonly misunderstood outside the UK, and it is not at all what you describe. You have described afternoon tea. High tea is the working man’s tea at the end of the working day, and it typically happened at 6:00.

    • Yes, you are indeed right Beth! One of those phrases that has changed in meaning somewhat overtime. It was originally the tea of the ‘common folk’, the bridge until dinner was served. Now it refers to a more dress-up (for both the tea and the folk involved) affair. Blessings, and thank you!


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