Communi-Tea: Tea Traditions Around the World
Tea traditions can be found across the globe, spanning countless cultures and communities. Wherever tea is enjoyed, it promotes connectivity, community and hospitality. From the English tea tradition of afternoon tea, to Japan’s highly formalized tea ceremony, the customs of brewing and drinking tea creates an opportunity to connect, relax and recharge.
One of the many things we love most about tea is how it brings people together. We want to share our favorite things with our favorite people. Read on to discover some very different tea traditions:
English Afternoon Tea
Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, is said to have started the quintessentially English tradition of afternoon tea in the mid-1800s. Anna preferred a light meal with a pot of tea in the late afternoon, to span the gap before the trendy late evening meal after 8:00 pm.
This afternoon tea tradition soon took off among the upper class as not only an opportunity for fortification, but an opportunity to build friendships. Sweets and savories were served. Small sandwiches were paired with teas, along with cakes or scones with cream and jam.
Invite friends over to try these perfect afternoon tea favorites:
Rich and malty English Breakfast
Bright, sophisticated Premium Earl Grey
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The Japanese tea ceremony represents harmony and respect, and is influenced greatly by Zen Buddhism. Every element of the tea ceremony, from the welcoming of guests, to the ikebana flower arrangement, and even the layout of the tearoom, is precisely arranged.
Ceremonial matcha (powdered Japanese green tea) is prepared using a bamboo whisk and served by an artisan to a small group of guests. Each detail is noted and respected as a way of being only in the present moment. It offers the opportunity for the host to connect with each guest, and the guests to in turn connect with the host and with each other.
There is a custom around the placement of the utensils and even the tea bowls. Teaware is chosen for its rustic “wabi-sabi” qualities that emphasize simplicity, natural imperfections and the colors and textures that echo the natural world. A small sweet is often served along with the matcha, such as daifuku or wagashi.
Try your hand at whisking matcha!
The pinnacle of the ceremony, Ceremonial Matcha
A twist on the tradition, Vanilla Matcha
Yerba Mate, a South American Tea Tradition
Yerba mate is native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. In much of South America, leaves of this plant are infused in hot water, drank from a gourd and sipped through a bombilla straw. This “drink of the gods” is enjoyed by many South Americans and continues to be a diet staple of the indigenous people. The convivial drink is frequently shared among close friends and family; the gourd and bombilla are passed around to celebrate companionship. Try yerba mate with a hearty meal such as roast beef tenderloin.
Take a sip of the “drink of the gods”:
Rich and smooth Caramel Cream Yerba Mate
Full bodied and comforting Roasted Pumpkin Yerba Mate
Keep an eye out for part two of our Communi-tea series where we’ll discover more about tea traditions around the world.