Tea tradition from China to Morocco
Tea is drunk all over the world and is considered one of the most popular drinks. In some nations, the preparation and enjoyment of hot drinks have developed their own culture and tradition that continues to influence everyday life today. Discover how different the tea ceremonies really are in Great Britain, China, East Frisia and Morocco and how you can try them out for yourself.
British tea time
Tea and England – they just belong together. But this tradition also had its origins at some point, namely in the 17th century when tea was exported to Europe from its country of origin, China. First of all, the aristocrats and the upper class took a liking to the, then luxurious and expensive, hot drink precisely because of the exclusivity, rituals and behaviors developed that have persisted to this day and have become an integral part of British culture across all social classes. The typical afternoon tea goes back to the early 1840s, when the Duchess of Bedford and lady-in-waiting of Queen Victoria, Anna Maria Stanhope, introduced tea enjoyment including pastries or other little things between lunch and dinner.
What does a typical English tea ceremony look like? A few unwritten rules must be observed in order to follow the course of a traditional tea ceremony. Usually tea time takes place in the afternoon between three and five o’clock and lasts a maximum of two hours. Most households now use normal tea bags in more upscale societies, on the other hand, the tea comes naturally from the silver teapot, which contains loose tea leaves. These are poured with hot water and remain in it all the time. If the tea develops too many bitter substances, more water is added. To enjoy a real afternoon tea, you should opt for Ceylon, Breakfast Tea or the typical Five O’Clock Tea – with milk. However, whether the milk or the tea ends up in the cup first is often discussed. To avoid this, you can use a lemon wedge as an alternative to the shot of milk.
Biscuits or a piece of cake are the perfect complement to hot drinks. If you like it originally British, choose the so-called “scones”, a soft pastry with “clotted cream” and jam.
Traditionally, tea time takes place at the host’s home. Meanwhile, however, many Brits also prefer “Teahouse” or “Tearoom”, a kind of café for tea. Simply choose the place that you and your guests like best, after all, tea time is for relaxation and contemplation.
Drinking tea in East Frisia – the tea ceremony in the far north
Even recognized as an intangible cultural asset by UNESCO, the North Frisian tea ceremony called “Teetied” has achieved a level of awareness that extends beyond regional borders. The preparation of the tea as part of the East Frisian tea ceremony is also worth a little digression.
Here are three easy steps to brewing tea to become a teaied master:
- First, put a large piece of rock candy in the cup or “Ostfriesenrose”.
- Then pour the East Frisian tea directly on the rock sugar, also called “Kluntje”, so that it cracks nicely.
- The conclusion is the cream. Stir these in counterclockwise (!) With a spoon. With this ritual, the East Frisian stops time for a brief moment. The cream also creates the cream cloud called “Wulkje”.
There is no further stirring. So when drinking the tea, you first enjoy the layer of cream, then the intense tea and finally the sweetness of the rock candy. The classic way to enjoy three cups of the hot beverage. In addition to the “Elführerje” at 11 am, people like to drink a cup or two of tea in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Deeply anchored in the culture for centuries – tea tradition in China
Even if the Japanese tea culture is mainly known, the ceremonial drinking of tea has its origin in China, the oldest writings go back to the 9th century. As a firmly anchored part of culture, in addition to Buddhism and Confucianism, Daoism in particular, with its spiritual elements of calm, serenity, joy and truth, has influenced the Chinese tea ceremony. Within tea culture, there are different types of tea ceremonies – usually carried out by a tea master – which have several aspects in common. The most important is probably the said calm and contemplation, which is completed by naturalness, purity and spirituality.
One of the most famous forms of tea ceremony in China is the Taiwanese “Gong Fu Cha”. For this, a person needs two tea bowls or cups, one of which is used for smelling and the other for tasting. There is also a teapot and loose tea, either green tea, oolong or pu erh tea.
Since the procedure already includes several steps before the infusion, we give you step-by-step instructions with which an authentic “Gong Fu Cha” tea ceremony can be achieved very easily:
- First, the teapot is filled about halfway with the tea leaves, so that it can be washed off briefly with boiling water. This is then removed again immediately.
- New, freshly brewed water is now used to infuse the tea and let it steep for 1 minute.
- The finished tea can then be poured into the bowls through a sieve.
- Now important: The one cup is only used to experience the aroma and fragrances. Only then is the tea drunk from the other bowl.
As part of the classic Chinese tea ceremony, the tea can be infused up to three times in total. After that, the tea drinker should use new leaves.
Mint and sugar – tea tradition in Morocco
In Morocco, too, tea enjoys a very special place in culture. When you enter a Moroccan home, a glass of tea is usually prepared immediately – if it is not already being brewed anyway. Because the typical mint tea is not only a sign of hospitality, but is an everyday companion. The art is in the right preparation, because the tea tradition in the North African country (of course) does not consist of hot water and tea bags. Instead, the cup of tea is brewed and consumed, these are the rules of the Moroccan tea ceremony.
- The most important thing for the taste is the type of tea, traditionally green tea, often “gunpowder”, is used in the form of loose leaves.
- This is heated with water in a teapot.
- As soon as this boils, add a bunch of fresh mint and sugar – how much is left to individual taste. Let the jug stand for another 5 minutes.
- The first one or two glasses are filled with the tea that has been brewed in this way. The special thing is that these are not drunk, but poured back into the pot. This is intended to circulate the aromas and reduce the bitterness of the tea.
- Then it’s time to enjoy. The green tea, mixed with mint and sugar, is poured into each glass from a large distance above the vessel, creating the typical tea foam.
Pouring from a height of at least 30 cm not only ensures a foamy surface, but is also a real spectacle when it comes to who can accurately place the tea in the glass from the greatest distance.
The types of tea can vary depending on the time of year and the occasion; green tea with mint is not always tasted. Herbs such as thyme, sage, lemongrass and wormwood are often added – also in so-called Berber tea, a type of herbal tea to which only a little sugar needs to be added.
In many cultures, tea is much more than just a delicious hot drink. It is an expression of an attitude towards life and an opportunity to relax in everyday life. From the English tea time to East Frisian tea to Moroccan and Chinese tea ceremonies, the cup of tea brings people together and has grown as a tea tradition in various countries over the centuries.
In order to be carried away by the cultural diversity of tea drinking, you don’t necessarily have to travel to the countries. With the teas from TangyCoffee – whether black tea , herbal tea , green tea , East Frisian tea or many more such as matcha or chai – and that Matching tea accessories – be it a teapot , cup or tea filter – you can easily discover the flavors from all over the world at home and tea preparation is as successful as at a real tea ceremony.