Tea From Around the World

Posted by Gina Pennington on

The historic origins and uses of tea are often overlooked when enjoying the tasty beverage today. But for many people around the world, tea remains more than a drink but an intrinsic way of life. The history of tea is deeply connected with one’s people and culture. From ancient legends of the origins of tea in China to the traditional art of Japanese tea ceremonies, every culture has its own unique connection with tea.

Below is a list of tea cultures, habits and flavours from all over the world. Whether you use it to find out more about the fascinating oddities of tea culture or to open your mind to new delectable tea blends you are yet to try is completely up to you!



Although there is disagreement among historians as to when tea first arrived in Turkey, it was likely popularised during the 19th century. Turkish tea, also known as çay, is central to Turkish culture. The popularity of traditional Turkish black tea is made unmistakeably apparent by its title as the traditional national hot beverage of Turkey. It is prepared directly on the stovetop in a special teapot, known as çaydanlık, and is usually drunk from small tulip-shaped tea glasses. The material of these accessories is thought to be as important as the tea itself and they are usually made from copper, stainless steel or glass.


According to legend, the history of tea dates back to 2732BC when the Chinese emperor Shen Nung accidentally discovered tea after drinking boiled water infused with the leaf of the Camellia sinensis tree. Chinese tea is still important in traditional culture today. Gongfu cha, the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, is still carried out in many households across China. During the ceremony, Oolong tea is prepared and served to guests as a sign of respect.

Originally cultivated for its medicinal properties and health benefits, tea is grown in many regions across China and is one of the world’s largest tea exporters. The climate conditions provide the perfect growing conditions for hundreds of different types of tea including Oolong, Jasmine Green Tea, Lapsang Souchong, Lung Ching Dragonwell and Baihao Yinzhen to name a few.


Tea drinking is without a doubt one of Britain’s most iconic cultural traditions. The history of tea in Britain and its rapid rise to fame as the nation’s favourite drink is fascinating considering it only landed on British shores in the 1650s – rather late to the tea-party it would seem! Brits later added milk and sugar to tea to take the bitter edge away which was not done in China where the tea was being imported from. This saw black tea become more favoured than green tea and, to this this day, black English Breakfast Tea is still the nation’s favourite hot beverage.

Britain’s most notorious connection with the hot beverage is traditional afternoon tea. The custom was invented in the Victorian Era to stem women’s afternoon hunger until their late evening meal. Today, you can enjoy afternoon tea in a traditional British tearoom where you can expect an impressive display of finger sandwiches with scrumptious fillings, savoury tarts, cakes and scones alongside your pot of English Breakfast Tea or Earl Grey Tea.


Japan is known for its rich tea culture. Tea was first brought to Japan by a monk about 2000 years after people started drinking it in China. It became a central part of Buddhist religious practice and was thought to have spiritual healing properties. Chado, or ‘way of tea’, is a Japanese tea ceremony and a way of preparing and drinking Japanese tea in a traditional Japanese tearoom. It encourages guests to enjoy the hospitality of the host and calm away from everyday life.

The most well-known type of tea is Japanese green tea, popular for its strong taste and ability to invigorate the senses. Some of the most popular Japanese teas include Japanese Matcha and Japanese Sencha Green Tea.


Although tea drinking does have ancient origins in India, the Indian tea industry didn’t take off until the arrival of British Colonisers in the 1830s. Tea in India does however have its own tea culture, with tea estates being passed down through generations. It became common for locals to add spices to tea for medicinal value and served the beverage in small clay pots.

Chai Tea is the national drink of India. It is a delicious black tea infused with spiced flavours of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, cardamon and cloves. Other variations include Masala Chai Tea which is enjoyed regularly throughout the day at home or from local tea vendors.


It is unclear when ancient tea trees first appeared in northern regions of Thailand. One belief is that the ancient king of northern Thailand, Phaya Mengrai, planted tea seeds about 1000 years ago. Another belief is that the Bulang tribe brought tea seeds to northern Thailand as they migrated across the country many centuries ago. Today, Thailand is best known for producing Oolong tea.

In Thailand’s tropical climate, it comes to no surprise that Thai iced tea, or ‘cha-yen’ is one of the nation’s favourite drinks and is equally popular with tourists. The refreshing Thai tea beverage is made from black tea poured over ice but is much sweeter and creamier than regular iced tea as condensed milk is added to give it it’s unique flavour.


Tea first arrived in Brazil from Portuguese and Spanish Colonists in the 17th century. South America has a diverse range of climates that provide the perfect tea growing support. The traditional tea plant Camellia sinensis is grown in Brazil, Peru and Argentina but Yerba maté is only grown in some areas. The Yerba maté plant is cultivated differently to the Camellia sinensis plant and the cultivation process is an ancient ritual and tradition in Brazil. Brazilian tea is traditionally heated to stop oxidation before being finely chopped and served. It is often enjoyed in cafés and teahouses with milk and sugar.

Check out Penningtons wide range of teas today.

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