To Infini-Tea and Beyond!
India is proud to be one of the largest tea producers in the world. And with famous blends such as Assam and Darjeeling, you can see why. The Asian nation is also known for its Chai blends that contain spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and is sold on nearly every street corner by vendors known as chai wallahs. This particular tea is traditionally served in small clay cups and is often enjoyed on the go.
2. Sri Lanka
Nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka and surrounded by emerald hills, Kandy is seen to be the birthplace of tea production on the island. Sri Lankans are big fans of a brew, and love enjoying a cup of strong, black tea – often called “Ceylon Tea”. Our Tea Hills & Trails trip takes you to Nuwara Eliya, where you’ll get the chance to pick some tea leaves yourself under the guidance of a local Tea Plucker before enjoying a cup for yourself!
Did you know? Sri Lankan teas are ranked according to the height of the ground grown upon. They range from “high-grown” (the finest Ceylon teas) to “low-grown” at much lower ground. Take a train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella and see these rolling emerald hills whizz past as you enjoy the scenic ride.
In Japan, it’s all about the tea ceremony, also known as the Way of Tea. So what’s this all about? Influenced by Zen Buddhism, a tea ceremony involves the preparation and presentation of Matcha, which is powdered green tea. This ceremony is all about the look of the process, and how it appears to guests – every movement is choreographed and thought out. It’s not so much about the actual drinking of the tea but how you get there!
If you want to find out a bit more about Japanese food and drink, have a look at our travel guide which will definitely get your stomach rumbling.
Another biggie in the world of tea production is Indonesia. Similar to Sri Lanka, black tea is a favourite and is grown mostly for export. Indonesians do enjoy a cup though, often sweetening their brew with a lot of sugar and adding extras such as lemongrass, ginger and even raw egg. (Yep, you heard right!) Set amongst high volcanic peaks and lush green hills is the area of Bandung which is the perfect place to experience the best of Indonesian tea culture – emerald plantations as far as the eye can see, housing one of the biggest tea factories in West Java.
Viewed as the country’s national drink, Teh tarik (which literally translates as “pulled tea”) is made from black tea and evaporated or condensed milk and is sold absolutely everywhere in Malaysia. A definite must-try when visiting, Malaysians often see the preparation of this popular beverage as an art form and there are even competitions held for people to show off their skills! The majority of tea is grown in the Cameron Highlands and is the ideal spot to stroll through the endless green hills, discovering the history of Malaysian tea with your local guide.
And last but not least (drum roll please…) it’s China! The birthplace of our favourite hot drink, tea originated in Southwest China as a medicine. Nowdays, tea is enjoyed regularly as part of daily life in this Asian nation but also forms part of several formal customs – notably as a way of apologising, giving thanks, celebrating weddings and as a sign of respect. Head to Chengdu and experience traditional Chinese tea culture for yourself (before meeting the pandas, of course!)