Tea around the world : Asia

2015/10/12 - Gaëlle

Tea is the second most consumed beverage around the world after water. While all teas originate from the same plant, the Camellia sinensis, its methods of preparation and consumption changes from one country and culture the other.

As tea originated from Asia, it is only fitting to start our exploration there. Let’s take a trip around the world!


You can’t go to Japan without at least taking part or attending a tea ceremony. This historical and traditional ritual is organized by the host, who prepares and serves Matcha, the powdered green tea, to the guests. The powdered tea leaves are placed in a bowl where hot water is gradually added and the whole mixture whisked using special tools until it is soup-like. There are several schools and clubs that teach the art of the tea ceremony, which can sometimes take up to four hours!


The country where it all began! According to legend, Chinese emperor Shennon discovered tea when a tea leaf accidentally fell into his hot water cup. Like their ancestors before them, the Chinese still enjoy their daily cup of tea and often gather in tea houses to get together and chat over their favorite drink. It is also still commonly used as a medicinal treatment for a variety of illnesses as well as during meditation. They also have their own tea ceremony which symbolizes respect and gratitude. The most commonly consumed types are green tea, black tea and scented tea.


Unlike the rest of Asian countries, tea in Korea is drunk for relaxation purposes but recently, traditional Korean tea ceremonies are being revived. Even though green tea is the most used type, several other imported or native teas are also served. Preference is for fresh harvest and leaves are rarely left to age.


The global phenomenon of pearl milk tea, or bubble tea, finds its roots in Taiwan. Mixed with fruit or milk, it is served with tapioca balls cooked in sugar syrup. Taiwan is one of the largest producers of Oolong tea which is a favorite in the country as well.

Other Asian countries

Thai tea consists of brewed black tea served chilled along with sugar and condensed or evaporated milk. In Hong Kong, it is called pantyhose tea due to its color being similar to that of nude stockings.

Tibet is famous for its butter tea, or po cha. After brewing the tea leaves for several hours, they are then combined with salt and yak butter. This energy boosting drink is perfect for life in the Himalayas.

In Malaysia, there is also a preference for strong brews. Their own specialty of tea, Teh tarik adds milk and sugar to frothed black tea for a bubbly drink.
As for India, tea is also part of the daily life. Cha-ya is found everywhere and can even be sold on the streets in small cups. It is black tea to which pepper, cardamom, cloves and other spices are added, and then mixed with sugar and milk. Chai is also a favorite in Pakistan, where the specialty is Noon Chai, a pink tea with milk, pistachios, almonds and spices.

À la découverte du thé

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