1. The Indian Kama Sutra of Teas Tea
Take one sip of this delicious, aromatic, heavenly toe-dipping tea and you’re going to have a hard time drinking it any other way.
Tea in India is called Chai and is an integral part of the day as well as a significantly important way of welcoming guests. If you are not served Chai in an Indian household, they do not like you.
The Indian tea making ritual requires a little time, but is well worth the effort and plus the beautiful spices give your home a wonderful scent. Chai is spiced with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and star aniseed. In order to make Chai you will need half a cup of water and half a cup of milk per person.
You pour your water into a small steel pot, add the spices and as much sugar as desired, let the spices boil for at least 7 minutes. Add one teabag for every two cups (you can add 1 teabag for 1 cup but just remove it quickly), and boil for 30 seconds. Next, add your milk and bring the whole mixture to a frothy boil, remove from heat and then place back on heat and bring it up to a boil again, remove from heat, remove tea bag and then back onto the heat for a final boil.
Strain the spices and teabag and serve this cup full of deliciousness to guests, who by now will be craning their necks to see what took so long. Chai should always, always be served with some sweets and snacks or you will anger the chai gods.
On one very blessed day some time ago, a leaf dropped into a cup of hot water. In front of the cup sat an interesting fellow who put his lip on the rim and took a sip, the rest is tea history.
Sweet or salty, hot or cold, milky or straight up, the tremendous tea is one of those things that is enjoyed the world over. And yes, there are folks out there who like their tea on the savory side, and that is also what makes tea so interesting.
Tea in its very essence is just tea leaves brewed in water and yet we interesting human beings have found all sorts of interesting ways to drink it. Not only have we combined tea with various other flavors, but in some places there is art and ritual involved in the making of and drinking of said simple tea.
Sooo… if there are in fact so many ways to drink tea and so many rituals to be had then it only makes sense to spice up your tea life a little. Stop drinking it the same old way and try these 4 wonderful traditions from around the world.
2. The Tibetan Butter Me Up Tea
Now over to a ritual found high in the mountains of Tibet. This may throw some people off a little, but give it a try, it’ll give you a chance to visit Tibet without actually being in Tibet.
The Tibetans enjoying brewing their tea and then mixing it with Yak’s butter. Yes, butter and tea, who would’ve thought. And the surprises don’t end there, instead of a sprinkling of sugar they add a sprinkling of salt.
Now the key here is that this provides incredible energy and is great for those cold Himalayan mornings. You can drink this tea first thing in the morning and guaranteed you will feel super energized right through until lunch, without craving a single snack.
Plus the healthy fat in butter mixed with the caffeine provides an invigorating mental clarity as well. You can brew your traditional tea and then add in a tbsp. of butter with a sprinkling of salt.
You could also serve this to guests coming in from a cold fall afternoon as a warm up treat, in this case you could also use sugar. Think of it like a buttery caramel tea … served from the depths of the Himalayas.
3. The Mystics of Morocco Tea
The land of sweet desert nights and crazy souk days also brings you a tradition that can bring a little romance to your tea. Tea is served throughout the day and is an important part of socializing.
Moroccan tea is made with green tea and mint and is served both before and after meals. You can actually have several rounds of tea at one sitting – similar to doing shots in the West.
The tea is brewed in an oh-so lovely teapot called a bred, which is stainless silver, ornate and comes with a long spout which allows you to pour your tea from great heights – we’ll get to that in just a sec.
The tea leaves are placed in boiling water for a minute and that water is discarded – this is cleaning your tea leaves. Leave your tea leaves in your teapot, add mint leaves and lumps of sugar.
Use the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar for each spoon of green tea. Fill the teapot up with boiling water, place on the stove and allow it to boil for 10 minutes.
Get your beautiful little Moroccan tea cups ready – you can use espresso cups if you don’t have Moroccan cups, whatever you use needs to be small.
The tea is then poured from glass to teapot, back and forth several times to get the flavors moving. Then – this is important – you must lift the teapot about a foot above the teacup and pour. This is going to give you some froth and is an important part of the ritual.
The taste of this tea is heavenly and if you are able, it’s great to enjoy it with some traditional Moroccan sweets with some mystical desert music playing in the background. Done!
The Serious Japanese Matcha Tea
Nobody drinks tea like the Japanese drink tea. When they drink said tea, they do it with meaning and purpose. Forget popping a teabag into a cup with some boiling water. No way. Great preparation and great skill is require when serving tea the Japanese way. There is a ritual and ceremony.
Traditionally they have been performed in teahouses and there is a great amount of detail required such as how the tea equipment is cleansed and how exactly it is arranged on the mat on which the guests will be served. There are different rituals depending on time of day and time of year.
For a strictly stripped to the bare minimum version you will need Matcha tea and boiling water. For one cup of the traditional tea called koicha, you need 2 teaspoons of Matcha green tea – this should be high quality tea. You will mix the Matcha tea and water with a whisk.
You and your guests will kneel on a mat on the floor and the host will drink from a teacup, but not directly from the front of the traditional tea cup, but slightly to the side. You will pass this cup around and each person will drink from the same cup, but wipe the rim before passing it to the next person. Part of the tea ceremony is being appreciative of life and the things found in it and it is something to think about while performing this both bonding and cleansing ritual.
Twist your tea
It is clear to see, tea isn’t just tea, it is a magical practice of sorts, designed to bring happiness to every corner of the world. So get a little wild and mix up your tea, throw around flavors and colors and maybe create a few rituals of your own. Twist your tea!
Written by Joti Heir.