Continuation of Tea Traditions Around the World Part 1!
Tibet: Butter Tea (Pok Cha)
Tibet has the peculiar tradition of butter tea. During the times of the Silk Road trade routes, Lapsang Souchong and Pu-erh bricks were the most popular kinds of tea transported to Tibet. The tea was very valued by monks because it helped them stay awake and alert through long meditations and it was even used as a monetary form with common-folk and traders.
Eventually, Tibetans started boiling their black tea (often times for hours) together with milk, salt, and yak butter.
This tea is very comforting and warming for the cold Himalayan climates, however for many outsiders it is a taste that's hard to get used to.
Thailand: Thai Iced Tea (Cha Yen)
Cha Yen, known as Thai iced tea is the tea beverage of choice in Thailand. This tea is a blend of Sri Lankan Ceylon black tea with sugar, condensed milk, star anise, tamarind, and orange blossom. Sweet, yet a very unique and delicious taste.
Taiwan: Bubble Tea (Boba Naicha)
Traditional and often times highly priced Taiwanese high mountain tea is still widespread throughout the island and praised by many tea connoisseurs worldwide.
However, bubble tea is the beverage of choice for the younger generations. Originally created in the 1980s, this drink has become highly popular in many other countries throughout the world.
To make bubble tea, usually a lower quality local black or green tea is used, then mixed with milk, sugar, and ice. Finally starchy, sugary tapioca balls are added. Nowadays there are many bubble tea shops throughout Taiwan which try to bring back the appreciation for better quality tea, implementing quality high mountain teas into their menus.
Pakistan: Noon Chai
In Pakistan a very special pink tea called Noon Chai is drunk. This tea is made from special green tea leaves, pistachios, almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, anise, milk, and salt. Baking soda is usually added to enhance the pink color.
The tea is brewed using a samovar, very similar to the Russian version.
Iran grows and produces its own black tea, making it an inseparable part of local culture. Throughout the day people will gather to socialize over the tea, which is served on silver trays with sweets.
The black tea is served very strong, and instead of mixing sugar into the tea, tea drinkers will put the sugar cubes directly in their mouth while sipping the tea.
Malaysia: Teh Tarik
Teh Tarik is the tea beverage of choice in Malaysia. Made with black tea, sugar, and condensed milk. Teh Tarik is translated as “pulled tea”. To make it, the tea is repeatedly poured from one cup to another, until a desired frothy consistency is reached. The froth is what dictates the quality and care that went into making Teh Tarik.
Hong Kong: Milk Tea (Naaihcha)
Although located in close proximity to some of China’s best tea growing regions, British tea traditions still prevail in Hong Kong. Hong Kong milk tea is one of the most popular beverages and differs from regular milk tea because a stronger brew is used and condensed milk is added.
No matter where in the world you go to, tea has spread far and wide. In the past few centuries, tea traditions have become so intertwined with local culture that sometimes refusing a cup of tea from a friend or stranger is considered the biggest insult you can inflict on both the person and the culture.
No matter what your favorite way of drinking tea is, at Path of Cha we always try to educate on and promote quality loose leaf tea that comes from the source, with minimal processing and no outside ingredients. The teas we sell are meant to be enjoyed without any sugar or milk, as they have a subtle yet complex flavor of their own.
You can read about why we recommend drinking loose leaf tea here.