Monday, March 20, 2017

TEA IN . . .


As the national drink, black tea or “shai,” is prepared in two ways.  In northern Egypt it is traditionally steeped in boiling water, sweetened with cane sugar and flavored with fresh mint.  In the south, it is boiled in the water and sweetened with large amounts of cane sugar.  Herbal teas are also popular, especially hibiscus which is often a specialty at Egyptian weddings.

South Africa
The Western Cape region is the only region in the world where Rooibos, literally "red bush" in Afrikaans, grows and it was originally an herbal remedy for a wide range of ailments.  Re-discovered in the 1700s as a beverage for its cool, sweet, refreshing flavor, it is used at social gatherings mixed with fruit juice, champagne or red wine as a punch.



A unique tea to Tibet is po cha or butter and salt tea.  It is a high-fat, energy-boosting drink made from a smoky tea brewed hours to get a bitter taste, then churned with Yak butter and salt!  It has a soup-like consistency perfect for their high altitudes and cold climates and is consumed several times a day. 

Thai tea or
"cha-yen," is a drink made from strongly brewed tea that contains spices like star anise, tamarind, cinnamon and orange blossom plus red & yellow food coloring which is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk.  It is served chilled with ice in a tall glass and the milk is poured over the tea and ice creating an ombre effect before serving.  It complements the culture’s spicy cuisine.


Although similar to the tea culture of England, Ireland has been one of the biggest per capita tea consumers of the world!  Tea in Ireland, however, is slightly spicier and stronger plus usually taken with milk or sugar.

With a very similar history and affection for tea as England, many “salons de thé” can be found, not just in Paris, but in cities throughout the country.  A salon de thé is a serene place for relaxation in comparison to crowded cafes, but slightly more formal than an English tearoom.  The porcelain teapots are sophisticated and the place settings elegant plus the highest quality of tea is of the utmost importance along with exquisite pastries that make "the French art of tea" unique.

In a coffee drinking country, East Frisia is known for its tea culture.  Strong blends of tea are served to visitors in a three-layered tea.  The tea is poured over a kluntjes, a white rock candy sugar that melts slowly and can sweeten multiple cups and then finally heavy cream is added.  Served without a spoon, it is meant to be consumed unstirred so you savor the taste of the cream, tea and then the sweetness at the bottom. As a guest, it is considered impolite to drink fewer than three cups of tea!


Tea houses known as chaikhanehs in Iran are male-dominated, local gathering places for perpetuating conventional and dominant values.   A silver tray customarily carries in the drink, which is accompanied by a bright yellow rock candy called nabat.  Tea is served strong, but rather than mixing in the sugar, it is placed between your front teeth and the tea is sucked through it.  Tea is a nationally embraced beverage and a crucial element in social life, so in homes, the kettle is kept on the stove burner all day!

Turkish coffee may be Turkey's most famous beverage, but tea or Cay is its most popular.  It is strong black tea which is brewed in a two-chamber pot and served with every meal and throughout the day in a small curved glass with a ceramic saucer.  Sugar is offered in cubes on the side and it is commonly served as a Turkish snack with simit – a circle of bread covered with sesame seeds.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; 
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 34:8

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