87% of Millennials say that they regularly drink tea, and most of that tea is black tea.
However, American Millennials aren’t the biggest group of tea drinkers in the world. Turkey is the largest tea-consuming country in the world, which is surprising given all of the stereotypical jokes about how the English love their tea.
Where else in the world can you find great tea? Well, get your bucket list out because there are actually quite a few des-TEA-nations. Here are some of the best places to travel for tea lovers.
Explore Turkey’s Tea Culture
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about tea travel without first mentioning the largest tea-consuming country in the world.
It’s easiest to understand how the Turks view their tea with one popular Turkish phrase: “Conversations without tea are like a night sky without the moon.”
In fact, it’s such a part of their culture that it’s considered incredibly rude if you don’t offer guests tea when they visit your home.
Like Turkish coffee, Turkish tea is pretty strong. That’s why they serve it in small, tulip-shaped glasses.
You can search the World Tea Directory to find out what kind of teas they use in Turkey, but it actually happens that most of the tea used all around the country is Rize tea, which is a variety of black tea.
When ordering at tea places in Turkey, you’ll want to know that if you want your tea strong, order half of a glass (koyu or demli).
If you want a normal cup of tea, order just a quarter of a glass. And, for a lighter cup of tea, ask for light (açık).
Sip Masala Chai Tea in India
While India gains most of its tea fame to the Darjeeling variety, chai is just as much of a contender for the best tea in the world.
In Indian culture, they prepare chai tea using black tea and a mix of spices. Depending on where you are in India, this could include cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and peppercorn.
They boil this together with milk and sugar for a spicy, creamy concoction that is nothing like you’ve ever tasted before.
While the drink is popular all throughout India, it’s hard to find a true authentic masala chai in most of the more touristy places.
To explore India’s chai tea culture, head to Jaipur and look for the Sahu tea stall. It’s incredibly easy to miss, so to ensure that you find it, you might want to ask a local for directions.
If you get too lost, just ask any local where the nearest “chai wallah” is and they’ll probably point you in the right direction.
Marvel Over Mint Tea in Morocco
It’s hard to travel to Morocco and not marvel over the incredibly diverse and delicious local cuisine. Try not to get too lost in the wonder that is Moroccan food and remember to try the mint tea.
In fact, life pretty much revolves around the mint tea, which they brew from green tea.
However, what’s probably most impressive in regards to travel tea is the way in which Moroccans serve the tea.
It’s the tradition to serve it in silver teapots three times in increasing strength. They begin by pouring at least one foot about your teacup in order to create a delicious layer of foam.
You’ll also want to know that, in order to show Moroccans just how much you loved the tea, that you’ll need to slurp it and not sip it. The more noise the better!
If you’re traveling with your family, then they’ll serve your parents first. It’s an important part of Moroccan tradition to serve the oldest person in the room first.
This means that if you’re the baby of the family, you might have to wait so long that you’ll need to take your tea to go.
Enjoy a Tea Lovers Japanese Tea Ceremony
In Japan, drinking tea is actually a ceremonial ritual. This art form, which the locals call Chanoyu, centers around matcha tea.
Again, like Morocco, what’s most impressive about the tea culture in Japan is the cultural serving aspect that surrounds it. If you’re traveling to Japan, then you’ll definitely want to add a tea ceremony to your list of things to do.
The tea, which locals whisk with hot water to make it stronger, must be brewed according to strict rituals that date back to the 6th century.
While Japanese matcha tea is delicious and incredibly strong, the ceremony is a must for traveling tea lovers. It can last over four hours, so prepare to sit in for the long-haul!
Explore the Origin of Tea in China
According to historical accounts, tea originated in Southwest China. The Chinese originally used it as a medicinal drink, which means that have centuries of experience in preparing the beverage.
Most teas from around the world actually came from China, as it’s famous for the hundreds of varieties of black, green, oolong, white, and Pu-erh teas that it produces.
To enjoy China’s most popular and best-rated tea, West Lake Dragon Well Tea, head to West Lake, which is just south of Hangzhou City.
Huangshan, however, is a popular travel tea destination due to the various tea plantations that you can tour while traveling. It was here that people believe tea to have originated.
The infamous Yellow Emperor was reportedly sitting under a tree while his servant was boiling water. Some tea leaves fell into the pot and well, the rest is history.
Exploring the World Through Tea
For tea lovers, heading to countries like Turkey and China are a wonderful delight.
Not only do these places offer delectable variations of a traditional cup of tea, but the rich culture surrounding their traditions makes the travel even more enriching.
Exploring the world through tea is a great way to enjoy hidden yet rich aspects of any country’s culture.
If you’re not sure where you want to head to next, take a look at our travel guides and tips. They’ll help you figure out where to explore when you’re on your next trek for the best cup of tea.