For a drink that was discovered accidentally, tea has had quite a journey. Originating in China, the story of a magical beverage reached Europe before it was unfolded in America. Since then, tea has changed colours as per preferences, has had different partner ingredients to accompany it in different parts of the world, and has made a place in the hearts that is only superseded by water. And water is a basic human requirement! Tea in today’s world is not just a beverage to relax over; it is the glue that keeps the social life together in many parts of the world.
In the UK, we love our tea like we love our Queen, and that is the reason we treat it with reverence, and consider it an essential part of our lives. In fact, we love to travel to places that have rich history of tea cultivation, and are known around the world for their fine quality of tea.
If you too are looking to explore the world sipping a cup of your favourite beverage, below could be some of the options for you to explore:
India is a country that runs on tea or ‘chai’, as it is locally called. Unaware of its existence before the British introduced the country to it in the 19th century, Indians now make for one of the largest consumers of tea worldwide. The expansive tea estates in India, particularly in the north-east and south India, produce the finest quality of tea most of which is exported internationally. The milky, sweet and spiced version of the tea is more famous in the North and West India whereas the South and the East likes its tea black or green. Take a tour of tea plantations in Assam, Darjeeling or Munnar, and you would be surprised at the sheer variety of tea leaves, and tea-making styles the country has produced in the last five decades. Expect to find a ‘chaivala’ in every nook and corner of every street in India, irrespective of the city you are in.
With a backdrop of British influence, the history of tea in Sri Lanka is quite similar to India with the only difference that Sri Lanka capitalised much sooner, and more elaborately on its fertile tea grounds and on its reputation as one of the leading exporters of tea. The result is for everyone to see in the form of the budding tea tourism industry in the country which is the fourth largest producer of the beverage. Some of the most trusted tea tasting sessions in the country are arranged by Dilmah Private Tea Tastings, Euphorium Tea Salon, Ceylon Tea Trails as well as Kahanda Kanda.
Tea is more than just a beverage in Morocco. It is the nucleus of hospitality around which much of the social gatherings revolve. Of the many variants of tea that are produced and consumed here, the Maghrebi Mint Tea remains the most loved. If you are not already smitten by its fresh flavours, let us tell you that this green mint tea is prepared with spearmint leaves and sugar and is served hot. Having made its mark throughout North Africa, France and much of the Arab world, the Moroccan tea is easily available in one of the many tea bars of the country. Because tea is an experience here, try to befriend a local and have a cup with their family. If the family is even slightly traditional, you will be served a delightful cup by the head of the family, and you must not say ‘no more’ before your third cup. It is considered impolite to refuse.
What does it take for one of the most traditional nations in the world to sideline its traditional beverage of ‘ghawa’? A cup of freshly brewed green tea! UAE is emerging as one of the largest consumers of tea, thanks to the influence of tourism. The newly opened cafes in the city are catering to as well as being frequented by tea lovers in large numbers. The rising demand for coupled with Dubai’s status as the world’s largest re-exporter of tea is bringing some of the finest quality of tea that the world has to produce to Dubai. From Karak to Zafrani tea and saffron tea, UAE has embraced and made tea its own. When you visit a cafe in Dubai, and ask for tea, you’ll be surprised to see it served with the warmth that can exist only for something that is truly yours.