One thing I always like to do when travelling is to experience similar items from different countries to see how they compare to each other. A simple cup of tea is one of those items.
One simple drink we all know and love is TEA, and there are so many varieties and styles from around the world – most of them delicious! Tea leaves are picked and harvested by hand by hard-working people, and you should always try to remember this as you sit back and relax with a cuppa. Now I want to share some my favourite brews that I have discovered from far and wide!
Thai Iced Tea is a Thai drink made from strongly brewed Ceylon tea. This tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and then served chilled. Evaporated milk, coconut milk or whole milk is generally poured over the tea and ice before serving to add taste and creamy appearance. In Thai restaurants worldwide, it is served in a tall glass, though when sold from street and market stalls in Thailand it is more typically poured over the crushed ice in a tall plastic cup.
Green Tea is greatly associated with Japan. Many varieties of green tea have been created in the countries where it is grown, and these varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, horticulture, production processing, and harvesting time. Many claims have been made for the beneficial health effects of green tea consumption, but they have generally not been borne out by scientific investigation; excessive consumption is associated with some harmful health effects but moderate, regular consumption is safe.
Masala Chai is a flavoured tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Originating in India, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses.
Teh Tarik is a hot milk tea beverage which can be commonly found in restaurants, outdoor stalls, and kopitiams in Malaysia and Singapore. Its name is derived from the pouring process of ‘pulling’ the drink during preparation. It is made from black tea, condensed milk and/or evaporated milk. It is also considered as the national drink of Malaysia.
Bubble Tea is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in Taichung in the 1980s. Most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base mixed/shaken with fruit or milk, to which chewy tapioca balls and/or fruit jellies are often added. The “bubble” refers to the foam created by shaking the tea.
Milk Tea is made from black tea and milk (usually evaporated milk or condensed milk). It is usually part of lunch in Hong Kong tea culture. Although originating from Hong Kong, it is also frequently found overseas in restaurants serving Hong Kong cuisine.
Earl Grey is a traditional English tea blend with a distinctive citrus flavour and aroma derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit. It is now one of the most popular teas across the globe.
Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process including withering the plant under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. The name oolong tea came into the English language from the Chinese name for “black dragon”. The taste of oolong varies widely among different varieties. It can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas, or woody and thick with roasted aromas, or green and fresh with bouquet aromas, all depending on the horticulture and style of production.
Tibetan Po Cha is a drink of the people in the Himalayas, most famously in Tibet. Traditionally, it is made from tea leaves, yak butter, water, and salt, however, given its wider availability and reduced cost, butter made from cow’s milk is increasingly used.
Turkish Tea is a form of black tea consumed without milk, and is produced on the coast of the Black Sea. Turkish tea is typically prepared using two stacked kettles called “çaydanlık” specially designed for tea preparation. Water is brought to a boil in the larger lower kettle and then some of the water is used to fill the smaller kettle on top, producing a very strong tea. Tea is drunk from small glasses to enjoy it hot in addition to showing its colour, with cubes of beet sugar.
Yerba Mate is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink, particularly popular in Argentina and Chile. It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water and is served with a metal straw (known as a bombilla) from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is traditionally made of silver. The gourd is known as a mate. Yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture ready for consumption.