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Tea Travel

8 Bucket List Travel Destinations for Tea Lovers

March 7, 2016

Nothing beats starting the day off with a great cup of tea – except maybe starting the day with a great cup of tea in a foreign country. Tea has been a household staple in many parts of the world for ages and many of the traditions that correspond to tea still exist today as a staple to their respective cultures. If you’re a tea lover, you have to travel to these countries so you can experience the wonders of tea from their points of view:

Turkey:

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Turkey is one of the biggest tea drinking nations in the world. The people drink up to four or five cups of tea per day, so you won’t feel out of place when it comes time to satisfy your tea craving. Tea is so strongly integrated into the culture that it is even considered an important part of Turkish hospitality. From offers of free cups of tea while shopping to complimentary tea service when staying at a local guesthouse, there won’t be a shortage of opportunities to sample the many different flavors of Turkish tea.

Russia:

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Russia is a country famous for two drinks: vodka and tea. Their tea consumption is unparalleled and has become an extremely significant aspect of Russian culture. Although other types of tea are available, the Russian population almost exclusively drinks black loose-leaf tea, which is brewed in a small teapot with a high concentration of tea leaves to water (a concoction known as “zavarka”). The mixture is then mixed with boiled water, the quantity dependent on the drinker’s preferred strength. Tea in Russia is also not meant to be served “naked,” or without food to accompany it. Gathering for tea is the most common way for people to socialize in Russia, so therefore there is almost no occasion or situation where it isn’t appropriate to sip on a cup of tea.

China:

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Chinese tea culture is the oldest in the world, dating back to the 10th century B.C. The tea plant actually originated in China, so there’s definitely no shortage of historic tea regions to visit (to name a few – West Lake, Wuyishan and Yunnan). Long before tea became the country’s beverage of choice, it was considered a medicinal staple, said to promote long life and vitality. In today’s modern society, tea drinking customs and traditions are still prevalent – though at a more sociable level. Travelers are often invited to join their hosts for a cup of tea and can also enjoy it at well-known teahouses across the country. Tea lovers can enjoy a variety of tea flavors in China, ranging from green tea, to white, black and flowering teas.

Sri Lanka:

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Sri Lanka boasts a $1.5 billion tea industry, making it one of the biggest growers and exporters of black and green tea worldwide. Its renowned Ceylon tea comes in a range of flavors that fall into three main categories: low-grown, medium-grown, and high-grown, referring to the various elevations of the plantations. The nation’s selection of tea plantations offers visitors a chance to taste the locally grown tea and learn the intricacies of production firsthand. Tea is the refreshment of choice for most Sri Lankans, so you can expect to be presented with a freshly brewed pot at any social gathering.

Morocco:

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In Morocco, brewing and drinking tea is a tradition carried out with great care, representing both hospitality and friendship. Tea preparation, referred to as “atai,” is typically executed by the male head of the family and considered to be an art form passed down through generations. Mint leaves and sugar are added to a green tea base to create the signature Moroccan mint tea, which is served throughout the day, though particularly at mealtimes. The tea is served in small glasses and is only considered drinkable if it has foam on top. The pouring of the tea is done from a long curved spout and from a height of at least twelve inches – a practiced method that, when done correctly, signifies an experienced host or hostess. These many customs are exclusive to the Moroccan tea drinking culture, something that must be experienced firsthand.

India:

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In India, locals consume chai tea on a daily basis. Seriously, you can barely walk a block without coming across it on the street, in a train station or at a restaurant. Tea lovers can travel to the famous town of Darjeeling, which is home to some of the most beautiful tea plantations in the world. There they can admire stunning views while sampling their famous Darjeeling tea, a staple to the Indian tea drinking community.

Japan:

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Tea is the most common drink in Japan and an integral part of the country’s culture. The beverage can be found in practically all restaurants, as well as in vending machines, kiosks, convenience stores and supermarkets. Tea is also served to visitors at various temples and gardens, allowing tourists to sample the unique flavors while simultaneously admiring the beautiful scenery. Green tea is the most common type of tea, and also the central element of the Japanese tea ceremony. These honored ceremonies can last for several hours and put an emphasis on etiquette and Zen-inspired spirituality. By attending one of these tea ceremonies, tea lovers can learn a lot about the Japanese culture and the important part tea plays in it.

England:

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The phrase, “as English as a cup of tea,” depicts how ingrained tea is in English society. English people are particularly proud of being “tea people,” which can be seen in the nearly 2 kilograms of tea consumed per person each year. The most quintessential of English customs is perhaps the activity of afternoon tea. Traditional afternoon tea consists of various teas served with a selection of dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries. Most hotels in England also offer the opportunity to experience the best of the tradition, so tea lovers definitely won’t miss out when they visit.

Have you visited any other tea-loving countries? Let us know in the comments below!

Tea Recipes

7 Tea Cocktail Recipes to Try this Spring

March 7, 2016
iced green tea mojito

So we’ve shown you how to bake with tea and pair it with food, but what about how to drink with it?When you initially think of tea, there’s a good chance you don’t associate it with alcohol or going out. Tea has been around for centuries and has definitely had its fair exposure to the cocktail world. But for some reason, it seems to have lost its popularity in cocktails. We want to change that. We’ve found some of the best tea cocktails on the internet and can’t wait to test them out.

Chai Tea CocktailChai_tea_cocktail 2

We love this recipe because it’s so simple and sounds delicious! Enjoy it in the fall with some pumpkin baked goods or in the summer over ice on the beach. Regardless of where you test this out, you really can never go wrong with chai in any form.

Iced Green Tea Mojito

iced green tea mojito

Who doesn’t want to get rich antioxidants while simultaneously relaxing with a cocktail? This mojito does it all and will surely serve as the perfect summer drink. The ingredients are all very simple, so odds are you probably already have them. And did we mention it’s only 110 calories?! What more is there to love.

Adult Iced TeaAdult Iced Tea

This tasty but strong drink is sure to satisfy your craving for iced tea and, apparently, tastes just like the real thing! This recipe uses Earl Grey and is perfect for hot summer days. Relax and enjoy this by the pool, but make sure to take it slow.

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This recipe is by far our favorite. This peachy and summery drink is perfect to enjoy anytime and even has a small caffeine kick. We love the mix of flavors and how refreshing this drink is.You can even use Starbucks Teavana Shaken Iced Peach Green Tea to make your job a little easier.

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This cocktail has a great energy boost to start the night off. Its mild but classic flavor makes it perfect to enjoy at any time of the year. It’s also relatively healthy compared to nearly every other cocktail out there. The recipe calls for some lavender sprigs, which are definitely worth getting and make the drink much more flavorful!

Lemonade in Bloom

As described above, this “boozy, floral eye-opener” makes the perfect refreshment. The chamomile tea used in this recipe definitely adds a calming factor that is well harmonized with the lemon infused vodka. While this takes a bit of prep, it will easily be the hit of the party.

Pu-erh Old FashionedPu-erh Old Fashioned

This drink takes some preparation ahead of time, but boy is it worth it. It’s the perfect twist on the classic Old Fashioned and can definitely be tailored to your taste buds. Use your favorite Bourbon that can be enjoyed neat, and you’re on your way to this perfect treat.

Let us know which recipe is your favorite after trying them out in the comments below!

 

Tea Guides

Non-Pumpkin Flavors to Enjoy This Fall

October 16, 2015
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Now that it’s fall, odds are you’ve encountered the pumpkin craze. But pumpkin spice latte isn’t for everyone. Some people see it as the epitome of the season but there are plenty of other flavors to enjoy this time of year. Here are some of our suggestions for those of you looking to expand your taste beyond pumpkin

Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but who said it couldn’t be apple tea! This tea makes us especially reminiscent of our childhood of drinking warm apple cider, less thick and heavy.  Here’s an Apple Tea that you’ll love and is perfect to cozy up with on a chilly night. 

Chai

You can really never go wrong with chai. There are so many variations that you’re bound to find some type you like. Our personal favorite is Bigelow Vanilla Chai. This flavor has the best aroma every time you make it and has the perfect balance of sugar and spice. If you’re going for more of a sweet drink, add some milk, sugar and/or honey and you’re golden!

Gingerbread

Who says it’s too early for holiday flavors? Gingerbread is the perfect essence if you’re looking for something to awaken those taste buds. This gingerbread spice tea, with a blend of cinnamon and ginger, will satisfy any sweet tooth and it’s naturally caffeine free! (Ideal for an after dinner delight)

Vanilla

We love this vanilla black tea! It’s tasty with some milk and sweetener but still lighter than a latte.

Caramel

This new salted caramel tea from Bigelow is to die for and has a combination of sweet and salty! Like vanilla black tea, salted carmel is best with milk and sweetener and paired with a treat.

Maple

Maple tea has the smoothest flavor for those looking to indulge. This particular tea comes in a wooden box, which can be used for decor or preservation!

Cinnamon

Cinnamon tea is just slightly spicier than chai but still has that cozy flavor perfect for fall! This combination of warm and spicy flavors is best enjoyed outdoors by a campfire.

Earl grey

Earl Grey is a classic tea that can really be enjoyed year-round. But what we love the most is the blend of citrus and black tea, especially in the fall. Bigelow makes a great earl grey with amazing bergamot oil from Italy.

Chamomile

This honey vanilla chamomile tea is our all time favorite variation of the herb. The honey vanilla flavor adds sweetness but doesn’t overwhelm the chamomile flavor. At the end of a long fall day, this too is the flavor to cozy up to.

While pumpkin is the obvious popular trend this time of the year, there are plenty more flavors to “fall” in love with! Cozy-up to some of our flavors by fireside or on a brisk walk — we guarantee you’ll enjoy every sip.

Have any additional flavor suggestions of favorite fall teas? Let us know in the comments below!