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World’s Smallest Tea House: Tehran’s Haj Ali Darvish

August 17, 2017

They say good things come in small packages. That may be true in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, home to the world’ smallest tea house: Haj Ali Darvish.

Measuring just 2 meters wide, Haj Ali Darvish has been in business since 1918. In its nearly hundred-year history, the tiny shop has had just three owners. The operation opened under Haj Mohammad Hasan Shamshiri. In 1962, he sold the enterprise to Haj Ali Mabhutyan, who handed it down to his son, current owner Kazem Mabhutyan.

The miniature tea house—tea room might be more accurate—sells herbal teas, coffee, and hot chocolate.

Located inside the Grand Bazaar, the tea room is a popular destination for tourists, who are encouraged to sign the shop’s guest book and receive a souvenir coin for their patronage.

Click here to watch CNN Travel’s video of the pint-sized shop.

The Grand Bazaar is an epic shopping destination:

Measuring 20 square kilometers, the collection of shops stretches 10 kilometers long, and is divided by sections that specialize in particular materials (i.e. the copper section, the leather section). Often labeled a “city within a city,” the Grand Bazaar boasts a wide array of architecture, with some buildings dating back 400 years and other structures built in recent decades.

Tehran's Grand Bazaar

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar | Ljuba brank at Slovenian Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Lonely Planet recommends tourists visit the capital’s shopping mecca in the morning, when “business is brisk but not yet frantic.” No matter what time locals or tourists visit the bazaar, they’re likely to see workers transporting goods on pushcarts or winding through alleys carrying large wares on their backs.

It’s common for shopkeepers of all industries to offer guests tea, the nation’s unofficial beverage:

Since the 16th century, tea has been an important part of Iranian culture, facilitating both business and social interactions. Tea has been produced since the early 20th century in the Gilan promise of Iran, which sits next to the Caspian Sea.

Haj Ali Darvish used to provide tea to many of the shops in the Grand Bazaar before the Iranian Revolution, but since then, most shops prepare their own tea.

Nonetheless, Haj Ali Darvish has enjoyed a steady stream of customers, many of whom are tourists hoping to experience maximum flavor in the worl’d smallest tea house.

In fact, tourism to Iran has increased in recent years. Europeans have been booking more and more trips to the country, while the lifting of sanctions against Iran in 2016 by the United States resulted in more Americans traveling to the county.  In 2014, 5 million foreigners traveled to Iran, and the country expects its tourism to increase five-fold by 2025.

If you’re in the mood to explore Iran’s rich history and a big cup of tea in a small space, set your compass for Tehran, keeping in mind the State Department’s Travel Warning.

Tea Travel

Best In Architecture: To Tsai Tea Room

July 13, 2017

Looking for the best commercial building in all of Europe? It just happens to be a tea room.

The 2017 European Architecture Awards, presented by Archi-Europe, bestowed top commercial honors to Greece’s To Tsai Tea Room in May.

2017 European Architecture Awards, presented by Archi-Europe

Archi-Europe is an international architecture group with more than 185,000 members. For the first time ever, the coalition decided to present awards to projects in various sectors. “When starting a project, architects are faced with numerous technical, legal and environmental constraints which makes their job extremely complex to achieve,” Archi-Europe said. “The European Architecture Award’s 2017 aim is to reward architects that have been capable of integrating all these constraints and turn them into opportunities of state of art projects in terms of quality, design, comfort and sustainability.”

Archi-Europe divided entries into the following categories: Urban Development, City Housing Development, Commercial/Retail, Office Buildings, Healthcare, and Industrial.

To Tsai Tea Room placed first in the Commercial/Retail category, beating out 326 other nominees in the sector for the coveted “Academy Award” of Architecture.

Tsai Tea Room

George Batzios at To Tsai

George Batzios at To Tsai | Greece Is

Greek architect Georges Batzios designed To Tsai two years ago following the Athens shop’s opening back in 2008. It was his first project in his country’s capital. To Tsai—meaning “the tea” in Greek—is divided into two areas: a tea room and a retail area. Taking its cue from Japanese design, the 120 square kilometer space is decidedly sleek, modern, and zen. With gentle lighting, soothing pale wood, and lots of aesthetic lines and shadows, the shop promotes calamity and inspires respite.

“The ornament-free minimalistic details of the interior spaces, combined with the wonderful odor palette of the teas and the soft music, are creating that ‘Zen’ universe [where] the artsy residents and tourists can retire [while within] this noisy part of the city,” Batzios told Wallpaper.

tsai tea room teas

© Konstantinos Kontos

tsai tea room entrance

© Konstantinos Kontos

tsai tea room teas

© Konstantinos Kontos

tsai tea room

© Konstantinos Kontos

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece | Greece Is

In fact, Georges Batzios told Arch Daily that he thinks Greek people will find To Tsai’s zen atmosphere particularly helpful post-economic downturn.  “It’s like tea works like a remedy,” he reasoned. “Tea culture success is a reflection of the slow change of modern Greek people [and] culture from materialism to essentialism.”

If Larissa-born Batzios had his way, more of Greece’s capital would ride the minimalist wave. “The chaos is the charm and torment of Athens,” he told Greece Is. “We need a framework that defines certain basic characteristics of a European city and which can be used to enhance the city’s charm. Barcelona, for example, has managed to reach a state of controlled chaos. Athens can try and do the same.”

With To Tsai, Batzios has left at least one calm, minimalist handprint in the busy Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens.

To Tsai patrons can sit and enjoy tea and snacks in house or purchase one of 500+ types of loose leaf for enjoyment at home. Or, tourists can purchase a cuppa to go and stroll around Kolonaki, known for its many restaurants, art galleries, and designer shops.

Americans without the ability to travel to Greece can experience Batzios work here in our greatest city—New York—as he is one of the architects responsible for Manhattan’s MoMa Tower.

tsai tea room overview

© Konstantinos Kontos

Visit:

To Tsai Tea Room

Al. Soutsou 19

Athina 106 71, Greece

http://www.tea.gr/el/το-τσαι

 

 

Tea Travel

Exceptional Tea Tourism at China’s Fuchun Resort

June 29, 2017

If relaxing at a luxurious resort with views of picturesque tea plantations in China sounds good to you, set your sights on the Fuchun Resort in Fuyang. Named China’s Leading Resort by the 2016 World Travel Awards, this deluxe destination offers beauty, relaxation, and excellent afternoon tea for travelers near and far.

Tea Plantation

Tea Plantations in LongJing Village | Aurélien Coillet via CC 1.0

 

History

The resort draws inspiration from the 14th century painting “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” by Huang Gongwang. Due to a fire, the painting was burned in half in 1650. The first section can be seen in Hangzhou’s Zhejiang Provincial Museum, while the second half can be seen in Taipei’s National Palace Museum. Together, the two sections stretch over 22 feet long.

Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou

By Huang Gongwang – Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou, Public Domain

Activities

Golf Course Yoga Class

The resort has many appealing features,
including a spa, indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzis, and tennis courts.

Fuuchun Resort also offers a number of classes in disciplines such as yoga, tai chi, guided mediation, and calligraphy.

Take advantage of the 18-hole golf course, or wander off-site to take a mountain hike or go cycling.

The Tea

longjing tea

Longjing Tea | macchi via CC BY-SA 2.0

The pan-roasted green tea in this region is known as Longjing tea, which translates to dragon well tea. Guests at the Fuchun Resort can go tea-picking with a local expert, or sip a variety of special Chinese teas at the resort’s Lakeside pavilion.

The tea comes from the nearby Longjing Village, containing many tea gardens, the most famous of which is the Longjing Imperial Tea Garden. According to Chinese legends, Qing Emperor Qianlong planted 18 tea trees on this ground. Other tea gardens worth a trip off site include the Meijiawu Tea Village and the Longwu Tea Village.

According to Hangzhou Tea Tours, Longjing tea bears a yellow-ish green color, a strong smell, and rich flavor, often compared to orchids and beans. It arguably China’s most famous tea.

After touring a Hangzhou tea plantation, deepen your tea knowledge by visiting the China National Tea Museum located in Hongzhou. Admission is free to the museum, which also holds conferences and functions as a research hub.

 

Tea Travel

Book A Trip to Hawaii’s Big Island Tea Forest

May 25, 2017

Surf, sand, and tea—Hawaii’s got it all. This year, add visiting a tea garden to your vacation to-do list, and take a trip to Hawaii’s Big Island Tea Forest. This tea garden is located at the northeast slope of Mauna Loa volcano on a 400-year old ash deposit within the Kilinoe Forest. This (extremely cool) location makes it perfect for growing tea and generating vacation envy among all your friends. There’s lots to explore at the Big Island Tea Forest. Here’s a primer:

The Forest

Kilinoe Forest

The Kilinoe Forest (meaning “misty rain” in Hawaiian) is home to thousands of tea plants, native Hawaiian trees, and plants. The forest houses many inter-dependent creatures, including insects, geckoes, the endangered Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaain Goose, and Hawaiian Owl. Spouses Eliah Halpeny and Dr. Cam Muir established the forest in 200 and still run the operation today.

You can enjoy a 2-hour forest tour and tea tasting for $35/person.

You can also enroll in an 8-hour workshop on picking and processing green tea for $100/person.

Or if you’re interested in starting your own tea farm, you can employ Big Island’s consulting services for $600/day.

The Tea

‘A’a Black Tea

Big Island Tea grows single-batch, whole leaf green and black tea using agro-ecological farming methods. The tea is hand-picked and the final product incorporates only whole, finely twisted leaves.

Kilinoe Green Tea

‘A’a Black Tea

Described as “a rich and complex tea hand-processed in small batches with a finished leaf that resembles a little dragon.  The leaves are finely twisted, unbroken, with an ebony color and silvery tips.  The leaves have a rich rose fragrance with citrus, tart apple, and dried cherry notes. Some people taste raisins.  The liquor is a clear, deep mahogany color.  The light sparkles off the pubescence of the unbroken needles giving the appearance of champagne bubbles.  On the palate, `A`a Black Tea has a complex harmony of flavors that are experienced in waves.  Bright, Citrus, and apple, comforting mid-tones of  dried cherry (or date and a little cookie dough), and warm baritones of butter and carmel are part of the experience that does not end with the cup.  Take your time with this tea and experience the after-glow that sneaks up 30 minutes after your last sip.  `A`a Black Tea is never bitter or astringent.”

Kilinoe Green Tea

Described as “a bright, wok fired, hand-processed, complex tea. The leaves are finely twisted with a uniform dark green color punctuated by the silvery tips. The leaves have a bright wildflower, citrus, summer-breeze-dried linen aroma, and the liquor is clear light green shimmering with the pubescence from the needles. On the palate, Kilinoe Green Tea has bright citrus, rich harmonies of flowers, breezy grass with a warm buttery foundation. Kilinoe Green Tea is never bitter or astringent.”

Where to Find Big Island Teas

-Harrods | London, England,

-11 Madison Park Restaurant | New York City

-The Sip Tea Lounge | Hungtinton NY,

-Savon du Bois | Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada

-The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel | Kohala Coast Hawai`i Island

-Bloomingdales | Honolulu, Hawaii

Buy Online

Email Eliah@BigIslandTea.com to purchase 25 g, 50g, and 100g bags of tea

~

Set your compass for Hawaii, and enjoy the Big Island Tea Garden!

Big Island Tea Garden

18-2465 N Glenwood Rd

Mountain View, HI 96771

www.bigislandtea.com

Tea Travel

What is Muscatel Tea?

May 11, 2017

Muscatel isn’t really a tea—it’s a flavor. A very special flavor that characterizes some teas grown in Darjeeling, India.

Darjeeling, a northeastern city in India, is home to 85 tea plantations that generate 7 million kilos of tea per year. Teas from Darjeeling are known as Darjeeling tea, for obvious reasons. And in May and June, some Darjeeling teas have a special flavor known as muscatel.

Darjeeling India

In May and June, cold winds blow into Darjeeling, and along with them, two insects: thrips and jassids.  Thrips and jassids feast on tea plants in a time period known as second flush. But just how do these insects affect Darjeeling tea’s flavor?

World Tea News puts it well:

“In simple terms, these green flies feed on tender tea leaves by sucking juices inside the leaves, resulting in the green leaves turning yellow in color. During this process, a substance called terpene is produced. With some moderate oxidation of terpene during the fermentation process, the tea gains the flavor of muscatel or honey.”

These insects are usually considered pests in other industries, but for the tea industry, thrips and jassids create a special type of tea that connoisseurs love to introduce to their taste buds.

Surender Dalal

Jassid | Surender Dalal via CC by 2.0

The word muscatel comes from the muscat grape, a flavor to which this tea is often compared.

But describing the flavor of muscatel tea is often quite hard. It’s one of those flavors that’s hard to put into words, but you know it when you taste it.

World of Tea asked people who’d tasted muscatel tea to describe its flavor, and these are some of the responses:

“dried raisins with a hay like finish”

“sweet cantaloupe with some honey drops”

“a hint of plum pulp and tobacco”

“a light fragrant note of fresh grapes with a hint of lychee”

“ a mix of aromatic woodsy and sour elements, with a complex after-aroma”

“ a spicy deep fruit taste, almost grilled-peach in nature

“wine, wet fallen leaves & the smell of cedar bark”

If you’re dying to try muscatel tea and give its flavor your own description, here are some options:

1) Castleton Special Summer Muscatel Black Tea from TEABOX

 Castleton Special Summer Muscatel Black Tea from TEABOX

This tea hails from Castelton Tea Estate in Darjeeling, the premier producer of muscatel teas.

2) Puttabong Estate Muscatel Darjeeling Organic Black Tea from American Tea Room

Puttabong Estate Muscatel Darjeeling Organic Black Tea from American Tea Room

This tea hails from the Puttabong Estate in Darjeeling.

3) 2nd Flush Darjeeling Teabags from Lux Tea Company 2nd Flush Darjeeling Teabags from Lux Tea Company

These teabags contain tea produced during the Second Flush in Darjeeling.

If you’re really committed to trying muscatel tea, book a trip to India in June and visit a Darjeeling tea estate yourself!

Tea Travel

Visit America’s Very Own Tea Plantation

March 16, 2017

Most of the world’s tea is produced far from our borders in countries like India, Sri Lanka, China, and Kenya. But if you’re looking to visit a working tea plantation without updating your passport, look no further than South Carolina, where the Charleston Tea Plantation churns out the good stuff on its 127-acre property.

Located on Wadmalaw Island a few miles south of Charleston, the Charleston Tea Plantation has been in operation since 1987, but its history dates back to the 1700s, when tea plants first came to the United States. No one had much success growing tea in the USA until Charles Shepherd launched a tea plantation in South Carolina in the late 19th century. South Carolina’s sub-tropical climate and plentiful rainfall made the endeavor a success. When Shepherd passed away in 1915, his tea plants continued to grow in the wild for decades. In 1963, the tea plants were uprooted and replanted on an experimental farm located on Wadmalaw Island. 24 years later, William Barclay Hall purchased the property, and, putting his years as a tea-taster and the knowledge he gained as a tea apprentice in London to use, turned the land into a commercial farm. He renamed it the Charleston Tea Plantation and grew his own brand called American Classic Tea for the next 16 years. Then in 2003, he sold the property to Big Tea operator Bigelow Tea, but continues to work with the tea plantation to this day. It is the only tea plantation in North America.

The Charleston Tea Plantation grows tea with leaves that are larger than typical, creating a product that boasts a rich and smooth taste. The plantation doesn’t use any pesticides in its harvesting process, and its irrigation system relies only on rainwater and pond water to promote plant growth. The plantation’s commitment to environmentally conscious processes continues with its use of plant waste—such as stems—for mulch.

When you visit to the Charleston Tea Plantation, you can enjoy a free tour of the factory or a $10 trolley
ride around the grounds, where you’ll visit the farm’s greenhouse. In the gift shop, you can taste and purchase American Classic Tea teabags, loose leaf tea tins, bottled teas, and tea-based body products.

Depending on the season, your visit will coincide with a different part of the harvesting schedule. The plantation’s harvest season commences in May and continues through the summer. Harvesting ends in late September or early October, when the tea plants begin to bloom, showing off their beautiful white petals and yellow stamens. The plants sleep during the winter, but the factory and farm remain open to the public for education and shopping.

Growing interest in tea has encouraged more American farmers to start growing tea plants, but the Charleston Tea Plantation remains the oldest, most historic plantation in the country.

Plan your visit today!

The Charleston Tea Plantation

6617 Maybank Highway

Charleston, South Carolina 29487

 

HOURS:

Monday-Saturday, 10:00 AM – 4 PM | Sunday, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

www.charlestonteaplantation.com

~

Cover Image via Instagram 

Tea Travel

Ten Cool Tea Parlors To Check Out

November 10, 2016

From sea to shining sea, there are some great places to grab tea.  From parlors you should hit up to relish in their history to parlors you should visit because they are simply stunning, here are 10 tea spots  to plug into your GPS:

1) Nom Wah Tea Parlor – New York City 

Nam Wah Tea Parlor

Image Courtesy Laura Brienza

Smack dab in the middle of a street shaped like a boomerang, this tea parlor’s been pouring the good stuff since 1920. Back in the day, the street was known as “The Bloody Angle” for all the Chinese gang violence that plagued the street—its curvature made it perfect for sneak attacks. Nom Wah serves a plethora of teas to go with its famed dim sum. From oolong and Tie Guanyin to Long Jing and Chrysanthemum, Nom Wah serves teas that offer a variety of flavors and benefits, like boosted weight loss and antioxidants. Peek inside for a 360 degree view HERE.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

13 Doyers Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 962-6047
nomwah.com

2) Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel – New York City

Palm Court Plaza Hotel New York City

Photo Credit: John Wisniewski from Flickr via Creative Commons

For the fanciest afternoon tea of your life, head to New York’s most famous hotel: The Plaza. Inside on the first floor, architect Thierry Despont did his best to bring Central Park indoors with the Palm Court. Palm trees, plants, marble, and a stained glass dome blend nature and luxury. Tea aficionados young and old will delight in the setting and menu. From scones and sandwiches to pastries and baked goods, there’s plenty that’s savory and sweet to go with your tea. For children who want to be like Eloise, there’s Tropical Garden or Vanilla Iced Tea, and for adults there’s a selection of teas and champagne. Children 16 and under can get Afternoon Tea for $50, while adults will need to shell out $110.

The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel

768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019
www.theplazany.com/dining/the-palm-court/
212-546-5300

3) American Tea Room – Los Angeles  

American Tea Room Travel

Photo From American Tea Room’s Instagram

This Los Angeles tearoom features a wide array of iced and hot teas. The Cold Bar offers standouts like the Marrakesh Mojito (Marrakesh Green Tea with lime, mint, and syrup) and the Georgia Peach Sweet Tea. The Hot Bar features items such as the Himalayan Butter Tea (Nepalese Black, Oolong & Pu Er Tea Churned with Butter, Salt, Milk, and Honey) and the Okinawa Life Tea (Grand Jasmine Tea, Zingiber Tea, Turmeric, Ginger and Honey). There’s also a bevy of matcha options along with pastries, savory pies, truffles, and petit fours for hungry stomachs.

American Tea Room

909 S Santa Fe Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90021
213.239.9100
www.americantearoom.com

4) Samovar Tea Bar – San Francisco

Who said a tearoom has to be kitschy and cute? Samovar in San Franciso’s Mission district is sleek and minimalist. No doilies or knick-knacks here. They’ve got chai teas, tea lattes, herbal teas, iced teas, and more, like Oolong, white, turmeric, and Chocolate Pu-er. On-trend toasts and sweets are available to pair. If you’re looking for sit-down service, the minds behind Samovar run three tea lounges in San Francisco.

Samovar Tea Room Travel

Photo by T.Tseng from Flick via Creative Commons

Samovar Tea Bar

The Mission
411 Valencia Street
San Francisco, 94103
(415) 553-6887
www.samovartea.com

5) Ching Ching Cha – Washington, DC

Proprietor Ching Ching named this DC teahouse after himself. Every year, he travels to China, Taiwan, and Japan to bring back the best teas for his customers at this Georgetown tearoom. Ching Ching Cha features over 70 different kinds of tea along with traditional Chinese deserts, dumplings, and snacks. Everything is served in a traditional Chinese way—no shoes, no service. The environment is serene; a Washington City Paper reviewer even said that sipping tea here was like getting a full body massage, a sentiment that the Washington Post echoed in 1999 when it wrote Ching Ching Cha “has such an aura of peaceful beauty that you feel as if you were shedding the outside world along with your coat.” So for some inner peace and a tasty drink, head to Ching Ching Cha.

Ching Ching Cha Tea

Photo by Ketzirah Lesser & Art Drauglis from Flickr via Creative Commons

Ching Ching Cha

1063 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington DC 20007, USA
202-333-8288
chingchingcha.com

6) Tea Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental – Las Vegas

Tea Lounge Travel Las Vegas

Photo by Deidre Woollard from Flickr via Creative Commons

Enjoy a pot of your favorite tea while gazing at the Eifel Tower from this skyscraping Vegas tea lounge. Adults can enjoy Afternoon Tea for $38, treating themselves to a selection of loose-leaf teas, salmon, chicken, crab, scones, and pastries. Children 12 and under can enjoy Children’s Afternoon Tea for $28, which includes kid-friendly PB&J, turkey and cheese, scones, a cupcake, and pastries. The Mandarin offers additional on-trend alcoholic teas, like the Royal Tea, which blends vodka with chilled Osmanthus Oolong tea and lemon, or the Tea-tini, which combines bourbon with cold Jasmine pearl tea, apple juice, and agave nectar.

Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

3752 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89158, USA
(702) 590 8888
www.mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas/fine-dining/tea-lounge

7) High Garden – Nashville

Indoor branches and stools made from tree stumps put the garden in Music City’s High Garden. This East Nashville shop serves premium loose leaf teas from Japan, China, Taiwan, and India, as well as herbal infusions that promote energy, wellness, and relaxation. The Tea Flights special offers four teas served side-by-side for $10.

Loose Leaf Tea Travel Nashville

Photo from High Garden’s Instagram

High Garden

935 Woodland St
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 919-4195
highgardentea.com

8) Abigail’s Tea Room – Boston           

Abigail's Tea Room Boston

Photo by Marco Verch from Flickr via Creative Commons

When you hear “tea,” you think Boston. Home of the Boston Tea Party, Beantown has a proud history of tea drinkers (and throwers). Abigail’s Tea Room is part of the Boston Tea Party Museum. After actors bring the story of the Boston Tea Party to life, you can settle in to celebrate the drink that is partly responsible for our independence. Abigail’s serves up five historic teas in a bottomless Tea Tasting cup for $2.95; a Tea Platter for four is just $12 and includes a pot of Abigail’s Blend to pair with scones.

Abigail’s Tea Room

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
306 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
www.bostonteapartyship.com/tea-room

9) Band of Bohemia – Chicago

Band of Bohemia Chicago

Photo from Band of Bohemia’s Instagram

This Chicago eatery bills itself as a “culinary brewhouse” and it’s known for its teas, which include black or green iced Tea and several premium blends, such as the Yame Kabusecha, described as a “Kabuse-style green tea from Hoshinumura Village” with notes of cucumber, untoasted nori, and sea salt. The Ruby 18 tea brings together Taiwanese and Indian Assam teas with notes of sassafras, menthol, and earth. Paintings by Chicago artist Elizabeth Webe decorate the space, giving it an artistic vibe.

Band of Bohemia

4710 N Ravenswood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 271-4710
www.bandofbohemia.com

 10) Full English – Austin

Full English Austin Tea House

Photo from Full English’s Instagram

England is known for its tea. But if you don’t have the dough to hop across the pond, you’ll love this Brit-owned and run café in Austin. It’s artsy and old school and there’s even legos to keep your hands busy in between sips of tea, of which they have plenty: leaf teas, bagged teas and tea lattes abound. Try the Zhi Egyptian Chamomile, the Tetley Masala, or the Full English London Fog Latte. High Tea is available by appointment 24 hours in advance for $15 and includes a selection of tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets. So put on your best British accent or red coat and get Full English.

Full English

2000 Southern Oaks Drive
Austin, TX 78745
512-240-2748
www.fullenglishfood.com

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:

tee-296212_1920

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:

moscow-863527_1280

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:

da-hong-pao-734225_1280

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:

sri-lanka-334437_1280

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:

pouring-tea-740885_1280

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:

tee-1028745_1280

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!