History UsefulNotes / TeaAndTeaCulture

12th Aug '16 8:09:41 PM nombretomado
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* '''Oolong tea''', spelled ''wūlóng'' in Pinyin, is more oxidized than green tea but less than black; it can occupy any point in that spectrum. It remains the most popular drinking tea in Taiwan and China. A shipment of it was [[TheAmericanRevolution dumped into Boston Harbour in a(n in)famous incident]] and was the type most-consumed in Britain before the proliferation of Indian tea plantations in the late 19th century.

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* '''Oolong tea''', spelled ''wūlóng'' in Pinyin, is more oxidized than green tea but less than black; it can occupy any point in that spectrum. It remains the most popular drinking tea in Taiwan and China. A shipment of it was [[TheAmericanRevolution [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution dumped into Boston Harbour in a(n in)famous incident]] and was the type most-consumed in Britain before the proliferation of Indian tea plantations in the late 19th century.
19th Jun '16 1:13:49 AM DavidDelony
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* Hot tea is normally sweetened to taste throughout the country. Milk is rare though, even in hot tea; Americans prefer lemon instead. It might be a panic over kidney stones. Expats and angophiles will be happy to learn that the major British brands, Tetley, Twinings and PG Tips, are readily available in U.S. supermarkets.

to:

* Hot tea is normally sweetened to taste throughout the country. Milk is rare though, even in hot tea; Americans prefer lemon instead. It might be a panic over kidney stones. Expats and angophiles anglophiles will be happy to learn that the major British brands, Tetley, Twinings and PG Tips, are readily available in U.S. supermarkets.
9th Jun '16 7:24:46 PM WiddershinsDaughter
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* Southern-style sweet tea is very much an acquired taste, largely because it's ''very'' sweet. It's made by brewing the tea with sugar added to the pot, resulting in a concoction that can have twice as much sugar as Coca-Cola. Lemon is commonly added as well. Iced tea is common elsewhere in the country, but it's nowhere near as sweet as the Southern variety. Within the South, there's some debate as to whether you add the sugar when the tea is hot or cold (the latter slightly caramelizes the sugar for flavor). Despite being in the South itself, New Orleans (borrowing from Cajun culture) drinks its tea like the North, much to the consternation of other Southerners passing through town. (Southerner [[Series/GoodEats Alton Brown]] was truly stunned when he found this out firsthand in his ''Feasting on Asphalt'' series.)

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* Southern-style sweet tea is very much an acquired taste, largely because it's ''very'' sweet. It's made by brewing the tea with sugar added to the pot, resulting in a concoction that can have twice as much sugar as Coca-Cola. Lemon is commonly added as well. Iced tea is common elsewhere in the country, country (and was invented in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 1904 World's Fair, which also gave us the ice-cream cone), but it's nowhere near as sweet as the Southern variety. Within the South, there's some debate as to whether you add the sugar when the tea is hot or cold (the latter slightly caramelizes the sugar for flavor). Despite being in the South itself, New Orleans (borrowing from Cajun culture) drinks its tea like the North, much to the consternation of other Southerners passing through town. (Southerner [[Series/GoodEats Alton Brown]] was truly stunned when he found this out firsthand in his ''Feasting on Asphalt'' series.)
9th Jun '16 3:37:44 PM DavidDelony
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* Hot tea is normally sweetened to taste throughout the country. Milk is rare though, even in hot tea; Americans prefer lemon instead. It might be a panic over kidney stones. The major British brands, Tetley, Twinings and PG Tips, are readily available in U.S. supermarkets, perhaps owing to the popularity of Anglophilia in the 21st century.

to:

* Hot tea is normally sweetened to taste throughout the country. Milk is rare though, even in hot tea; Americans prefer lemon instead. It might be a panic over kidney stones. The Expats and angophiles will be happy to learn that the major British brands, Tetley, Twinings and PG Tips, are readily available in U.S. supermarkets, perhaps owing to the popularity of Anglophilia in the 21st century.supermarkets.
9th Jun '16 3:35:38 PM DavidDelony
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* Hot tea is normally sweetened to taste throughout the country. Milk is rare though, even in hot tea; Americans prefer lemon instead. It might be a panic over kidney stones.

to:

* Hot tea is normally sweetened to taste throughout the country. Milk is rare though, even in hot tea; Americans prefer lemon instead. It might be a panic over kidney stones. The major British brands, Tetley, Twinings and PG Tips, are readily available in U.S. supermarkets, perhaps owing to the popularity of Anglophilia in the 21st century.
18th May '16 5:49:16 PM LovePsychothefirst
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* As in many other places, it's honorable and a [[SacredHospitaliy sign of hospitality]] to pour tea for others. According to legend, this was so ingrained that the Qing emperor Qian Long, while traveling [[KingIncognito incognito]] around the country, would pour tea for his servants to maintain his disguise. This was such an immense honor that the servants would ordinarily be expected to kowtow in this situation; they couldn't do that without giving the emperor away, so they tapped the table with three fingers bent in imitation of a kowtow pose. To this day, this is a traditional gesture of thanks for being served tea.

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* As in many other places, it's honorable and a [[SacredHospitaliy [[SacredHospitality sign of hospitality]] to pour tea for others. According to legend, this was so ingrained that the Qing emperor Qian Long, while traveling [[KingIncognito incognito]] around the country, would pour tea for his servants to maintain his disguise. This was such an immense honor that the servants would ordinarily be expected to kowtow in this situation; they couldn't do that without giving the emperor away, so they tapped the table with three fingers bent in imitation of a kowtow pose. To this day, this is a traditional gesture of thanks for being served tea.
16th May '16 12:44:14 PM DavidDelony
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No wonder then, that tea has inspired centuries of myth, legend, folklore, colonization, war, and Internet debates. Whole subcultures around the world have been formed around the "proper" way of preparing and drinking tea. It's very SeriousBusiness.

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No wonder then, that tea has inspired centuries of myth, legend, folklore, colonization, war, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Internet debates.debates]]. Whole subcultures around the world have been formed around the "proper" way of preparing and drinking tea. It's very SeriousBusiness.
15th May '16 11:07:10 PM GoldenSeals
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For simplicity's sake, these Useful Notes will limit themselves to dealing with ''real'' tea - liquid brewed from the plant ''Camellia sinensis''. Any other brewed drinks that go under the name of "tea", such as herbal tea, are more properly called "infusions" or "tisanes". This includes the likes of popular "red tea" (made from the South African herb called Rooibos and first used as a tea substitute by Dutch colonists there, now famous as the redbush tea favoured by [[Literature/TheNo1LadiesDetectiveAgency Precious Ramotswe]]), yerba mate, honeybush, bissap and so on.

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For simplicity's sake, these Useful Notes this page will limit themselves to dealing concern itself only with ''real'' tea - liquid brewed from the plant ''Camellia sinensis''. Any other brewed drinks that go under the name of "tea", such as herbal tea, are more properly called "infusions" or "tisanes". This includes the likes of popular "red tea" (made from the South African herb called Rooibos and first used as a tea substitute by Dutch colonists there, now famous as the redbush tea favoured by [[Literature/TheNo1LadiesDetectiveAgency Precious Ramotswe]]), yerba mate, honeybush, bissap and so on.



* '''Green tea''' is minimally heat-treated with steam or hot air to prevent oxidation, then dried, retaining the green color of the leaf. '''White tea''' and '''yellow tea''' can be considered special subsets of green tea - white is even less processed and uses only the unopened buds and young leaves, yellow is dried more slowly.
* '''Black tea''' is also called "red tea" in Chinese and languages with strong Chinese influences, not to be confused with the herbal "red tea". Its color comes from a process where the tea leaves are bruised and allowed to fully oxidize before drying, resulting in the dark color, stronger flavor and higher caffeine content; the "black" terminology comes from the color of the leaves (really more of a very dark brown bordering on black) after oxidation, while the East Asian "red tea" terminology comes from the color of the resultant brew. Before modern transport and preservation this was the only way tea could be shipped long-distance, and it remains the most popular style outside of China and Japan. Former colonies India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon), the other most famous tea producers, mainly produce black tea.
* '''Oolong tea''', spelled "wūlóng" in Pinyin, is more oxidized than green but less than black, and can occupy any point along that spectrum. It remains the most popular drinking tea in Taiwan and China. A shipment of it was [[TheAmericanRevolution dumped into Boston Harbour in a(n in)famous incident]] and was the type most-consumed in Britain before the flowering of Indian tea plantations in the late 19th century.
* '''Post-fermented tea''' such as pu-erh teas are made from green or oolong tea leaves aged to allow fermentation and additional oxidation, producing a dark brown tea. ''This'' is what is called "black tea" in China, though "dark tea" is an equally valid translation. It is usually sold in compressed form as bricks, discs, or even more distinctive shapes like bowls and mushrooms. The ideal duration of the aging process is widely disputed.
* '''Scented tea''' is tea that has been infused with the scent of aromatics such as jasmine, rose petals or other flowers, in a complex process that results in the leaves naturally infused with the scent, without actually having the flowers left in the cup. '''Flavored tea''' is tea blended with any form of flavoring, such as herbs, spices, oils and extracts. Scented tea might be called flavored but never vice versa. '''Blended tea''' is any combination of different (usually regional) tea varietals which may or may not be flavored/scented afterward.
** A peculiar variety of flavored tea would be a ''smoked tea'' such as ''Lapsang Suchong'' (or ''Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong'', its correct Chinese name), that is, a tea infused with wood smoke, giving it a characteristic "campfire" aroma. There are two conflicting theories of its origin. One said that during a particularly difficult voyage some tea caravan drowned a part of its cargo in some creek, and a merchant, keen on saving his profits, tried to dry it up on the campfires. Another one is that, during a collection season, some Chinese tea factory couldn't meet the deadline, and tried to speed up the process by drying the half-ready tea by the open fires. In any case, despite such tea being an acquired taste, there turned out enough aficionados--particularly in East Asia and Russia--for the technology to be reproduced and refined, and to remain in production up to this day.

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* '''Green tea''' is minimally heat-treated with steam or hot air to prevent oxidation, then dried, retaining the green color of the leaf. '''White tea''' and '''yellow tea''' can be considered special subsets of green tea - tea; white is even less processed and uses only the unopened buds and young leaves, and yellow is dried more slowly.
* '''Black tea''' is also called "red tea" in Chinese and languages with strong Chinese influences, influences; it's not to be confused with the same as the herbal "red tea". Its color comes from a process where the tea leaves are bruised and allowed to fully oxidize before drying, resulting in the dark color, stronger flavor and higher caffeine content; the "black" terminology comes from the color of the leaves (really more of a very dark brown bordering on black) brown) after oxidation, while the East Asian "red tea" terminology comes from the color of the resultant brew. Before modern transport and preservation preservation, this was the only way tea could be shipped long-distance, and it remains the most popular style outside of China and Japan. Former British colonies India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon), the other most famous tea producers, mainly produce black tea.
* '''Oolong tea''', spelled "wūlóng" ''wūlóng'' in Pinyin, is more oxidized than green tea but less than black, and black; it can occupy any point along in that spectrum. It remains the most popular drinking tea in Taiwan and China. A shipment of it was [[TheAmericanRevolution dumped into Boston Harbour in a(n in)famous incident]] and was the type most-consumed in Britain before the flowering proliferation of Indian tea plantations in the late 19th century.
* '''Post-fermented tea''' tea''', such as pu-erh teas are tea, is made from green or oolong tea leaves aged to allow fermentation and additional oxidation, producing a dark brown tea. ''This'' is what is called "black tea" in China, though "dark tea" is an equally valid translation. It is usually sold in compressed form as bricks, discs, or even more distinctive shapes like bowls and mushrooms. The ideal duration of the aging process is widely disputed.
* '''Scented tea''' is tea that has been infused with the scent of aromatics such as jasmine, rose petals or other flowers, in a complex process that results in the leaves naturally infused with the scent, without actually having the flowers left in the cup. '''Flavored tea''' is tea blended with any form of flavoring, such as herbs, spices, oils and extracts. Scented tea might be called flavored "flavored", but never vice versa.vice-versa. '''Blended tea''' is any combination of different (usually regional) tea varietals which may or may not be flavored/scented afterward.
** A peculiar variety of flavored tea would be a ''smoked tea'' such as tea'', the most famous of which is ''Lapsang Suchong'' (or ''Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong'', its correct Chinese name), that is, name). It's a tea infused with wood smoke, giving it a characteristic "campfire" aroma. There are two conflicting theories of its origin. One said that during a particularly difficult voyage some voyage, a tea caravan drowned a part of its lost some cargo in some into a creek, and a merchant, keen on saving his profits, tried to dry it up on the campfires. Another one is that, that during a collection season, some Chinese tea factory couldn't meet the deadline, and so they tried to speed up the process by drying the half-ready tea by the open fires. In any case, despite such tea being an acquired taste, there turned out enough aficionados--particularly aficionados -- particularly in East Asia and Russia--for Russia -- for the technology to be reproduced and refined, and to remain it remains in production up to this day.



* '''Tea bags''' are an affront to most serious tea drinkers, because they contain lower-quality tea, processed smaller so the air exposure leads to deterioration of the flavor, crammed into a space too small for the water to diffuse through properly. Nonetheless in several parts of the world their popularity far outstrips "loose leaf" tea. Larger "pyramid bags" and "tea sachets" with better tea in larger pieces aren't perfect but fare somewhat better. Tea aficionados in America consider them a necessary evil, as loose-leaf tea is relatively hard to come by there. And by "relatively," we mean "almost impossible to find outside of mail order, specialty tea shops, and Asian and Middle Eastern ethnic grocery stores." The higher-end tea bags mitigate some of their disadvantages.
* '''Instant tea''', resembling instant coffee, [[DamnedByFaintPraise exists]]. Tea does ''not'' lend itself to the process of dehydration and reconstitution, and the results range from [[BadToTheLastDrop utterly undrinkable]] to 'merely' poor. On the other hand, instant green tea is becoming popular in Japan, where tea (like everything else) is SeriousBusiness.

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* '''Tea bags''' are an affront to most serious tea drinkers, because they contain lower-quality tea, drinkers. The tea is lower-quality, it's processed smaller so the leading to more air exposure leads to deterioration of the flavor, (and flavor deterioration), and it's crammed into a space too small for the water to diffuse through properly. Nonetheless But in several parts of the world their popularity far outstrips world, including the U.S., it's much more popular than "loose leaf" tea. Larger "pyramid bags" and "tea sachets" with better tea in larger pieces aren't perfect but fare somewhat better. Tea aficionados in America consider them a necessary evil, as loose-leaf tea is relatively hard to come by there. And by "relatively," we mean "almost impossible to find can't really be found outside of mail order, specialty tea shops, stores. The technology is improving, though, and Asian larger "pyramid bags" and Middle Eastern ethnic grocery stores." The higher-end tea bags mitigate some of their disadvantages.
"tea sachets" are modest improvements as well.
* '''Instant tea''', resembling instant coffee, [[DamnedByFaintPraise exists]]. Tea does ''not'' lend itself to the process of dehydration and reconstitution, and the results range from [[BadToTheLastDrop utterly undrinkable]] to 'merely' merely poor. On the other hand, instant green tea The main advantage is becoming popular in its ease of distribution; even in Japan, where tea (like everything else) is SeriousBusiness.
SeriousBusiness, you can easily come across instant green tea.



As for preparing tea, [[http://www.theteadetective.com/HowToBrewTea.html we leave that discussion to others]]. However it's worth saying this about what you put ''in'' tea: ignoring the bizarreness that is the green tea latte, generally only black tea is suited for drinking with milk, although you could make a case for the darker oolongs being acceptable as well. Sweetener is a matter of regional and personal preference, but really good tea doesn't need sugar to be drinkable--but this isn't to say that putting a little bit of sugar in your good tea is an abomination, as long as you're respectful to the drink. Hey, some people just have a sweet tooth.

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As for preparing tea, [[http://www.theteadetective.com/HowToBrewTea.html we leave that discussion to others]]. However it's worth saying this about what you put ''in'' tea: ignoring the bizarreness that is the green tea latte, generally only black tea is suited for drinking with milk, although you could make a case for the darker oolongs being acceptable as well. Sweetener is a matter of regional and personal preference, but really good tea doesn't need sugar to be drinkable--but this drinkable. This isn't to say that putting a little bit of sugar in your good tea is an abomination, as long as you're respectful to the drink. Hey, some people just have a sweet tooth.



There's a reason the poster children for the SpotOfTea trope are the British. The British demand for tea drove, among other things, the monopoly of the uber-powerful Dutch-style British East India Company, and the 1840-42 and 1856-60 Opium Wars. The media portrayal of the Brits as tea crazy [[FreakierThanFiction pales next to many of the real life accounts.]] No shortage of British writers, including Creator/GeorgeOrwell [[http://www.george-orwell.org/A_Nice_Cup_of_Tea/0.html]], Creator/DouglasAdams [[http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/A61345]], Creator/NeilGaiman and a panel of British scientists [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_standard_cup_of_tea]][[note]]But despite rumours this is not the government insisting on how people make their tea. The rules were made to make taste comparisons fair.[[/note]], have written essays on the subject of proper tea prep.

'''Less Laconically''': In 1660, King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland married princess Catarina de Bragança of Portugal. Part of her dowry was the Portuguese outpost at Bombay, which was sold in turn to the English East India Company. Consequently, ever greater quantities of tea and textiles were imported directly to Britain from India and China. By 1750 the British had fallen in love with it.

As a late-comer to the transcontinental trade, the East India Company had to make do with the proverbial scraps left over from the Portuguese, and then the Dutch (the world's great merchant-shipping power in the 17th century). However, Dutch supremacy could not last forever, and it was in the field of textiles and tea in particular that their early advantage counted against them. The Dutch had moved, ruthlessly, to monopolise the supply and transportation of spices, which were quite easily the most valuable goods to be found out east. However, the demand for spices proved limited; people can only eat so much of them, and their value eventually went down as the European market became saturated. On the other hand the British, having [[Series/{{Connections}} invited a Dutchman over to... kind of... be King]] in 1688, and having borrowed the modern Dutch financial system lock, stock, and barrel, and having made a few small but significant improvements on it (particularly, the invention of modern shipping insurance), and having gotten over their [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar political troubles]], managed to get enough money to exploit an unnoticed niche in the market: they would realise and capitalise upon the elasticity of demand for cotton and silk clothing (leading directly to the catastrophic collapse of the British wool-textile industry). And--of course--tea.

By elasticity of demand, we mean to point out that people are more willing to buy more of certain things than others. You can only buy and maintain so many cars, for instance. But there really is no upper limit, comparatively, to the number of music-recordings you might amass (especially these days). What this means in economic terms is that a small change in the price of a product with a high elasticity of demand will change the amount demanded a lot--reduce the price a bit, and a lot more people will start buying it (and/or people already buying the product will start buying more), but if you raise prices, the reduction in quantity demanded by consumers will be just as drastic. Because small reductions in price lead to large increases in quantity sold, a producer of a product with a high elasticity of demand will tend to try to maximise profits by selling more stuff at a lower price (if you can sell 10000 pounds of tea for 3 [[UsefulNotes/OldBritishMoney shillings]] per pound, or 30000 pounds of tea for 1 shilling sixpence per pound--which is three times the quantity at half the price--which would you prefer?[[note]]Assuming that your costs per pound of tea don't increase, which for the East India Company they did not in any significant way.[[/note]]). That is what the East India Company did with tea. What happened as the supply of Tea increased and the prices of it dropped is that it appealed to an ever broader (and relatively poorer) base of people. Consequently, the East India Company tentatively tried to see just how much Wulong tea they could flood Britain with before it became unprofitable. They were not disappointed. In Britain at least, by the 1750s it was already a recognized national drink. Interestingly, a significant upswing in health followed as people began boiling their water before drinking it. However, it was not until the latter half of the 19th century that people commonly took their tea with milk. This is because Wulong tea was cheaper, more widely available and highly regarded until about this time - when British investment in Indian plantations (which produced darker and more astringent teas) began to pay off. The transport and investment networks (i.e. railways and banks with the money and willingness to invest in pithy local business ventures) required to transport fresh milk to the Metropolises simply didn't exist before then anyway.

'''How they drink it''': Black, hot and in large quantities (typically using teabags[[note]]In fact they're just as ubiquitous as in the USA for everyday consumption, although supermarkets generally sell fancier loose leaf teas on the next shelf over.[[/note]]). Adding milk is common, and there is an ongoing holy war as to whether the milk or the tea goes into the cup first. Some people avoid the debate altogether by squeezing lemon into it instead[[note]]But never both. Curdled milk tea is not a nice thing.[[/note]]. It is entirely possible to divine a Briton's class, upbringing, and even politics, based on the way they drink tea. The mid-afternoon light meal called "afternoon tea", with sandwiches and scones and its precise etiquette, is a product of the upper-middle class[[note]]It was essentially an invention of the rising middle class to feel "posher".[[/note]] (not to be confused with the evening meal, which working to lower-middle class people call "tea" rather than "dinner" or "supper"--even more confusingly, this working-class "tea" is what upper class Brits call "high tea"; high just meaning later in the day/eaten off physically "higher" dinner tables as opposed to the "low" tea tables to distinguish it from afternoon tea), while lower classes stick with a cup of tea and a snack. "Builder's tea", the staple of the working classes, is cheap tea brewed extra strong with a generous amount of milk and sugar (jokingly, an amount sufficient for the spoon to stand upright in the mug). Earl Grey, invented in China, named after The Earl Grey, who received a shipment of it as a gift, is tea flavoured with oil of bergamot, a bitter citrus fruit, and in some varieties with added orange or lemon peel, or with various flowers such as lavender, verbena or rose petals. "English Breakfast" and "Irish Breakfast" are both popular named tea blends, but the actual teas included in them vary; what matters is that they're strong, hearty concoctions that can stand up to the English/Irish full breakfast of eggs and fatty cured meats.

Also: as you might have understood from the above, British patterns of tea consumption are largely replicated in Ireland, with some minor differences. Indeed, the Irish are, if anything, even ''more'' tea-crazy than the British, consistently consuming more tea--by weight--per capita than the British do.

* During WWI the British used water cooled machine guns. British soldiers would sometimes fire off hundreds of rounds just to heat up the the water inside the cooling jacket of their machine guns so they could make tea.
* During World War II, Britain shipped, by weight, more tea to her troops than anything save ''bullets''. Small arms ammunition, that is: the British army got through more tea than ''artillery shells''. ''By weight''. Contemporary soldier Creator/SpikeMilligan [[Literature/AdolfHitlerMyPartInHisDownfall observed]] that they were damn lucky that Rommel never tried baiting minefields with tea.
** Creator/ArthurCClarke recounted in his autobiography that during WWII, one of his jobs in the civil service was to coordinate the dispersal of tea stockpiles throughout the country, as the government feared civil disorder if the main warehouses were taken out by a chance bombing.
** In 1942 the Luftwaffe decided that, deprived of tea, the British Empire would pretty much grind to a halt. They therefore decided to bomb Mincing Lane - center of all British and Imperial tea trading - flat. It worked too. The tea industry was sent into chaos and on account of the confusion, tea was rationed to two ounces a week - which is very very little.[[note]]The actual tea stockpiles were unaffected, as Clarke and his fellow civil servants had successfully scattered those across the country; however, all the records about where the bulk tea was and who owned it were destroyed, meaning that distribution could only proceed on the limited information that survived.[[/note]] From a morale point of view it was one of the most successful bombing strategies of the war.
** In response to shortage fears, in 1942 the British decided to buy the tea. [[AllOfThem As in all of it]]. ''In the world.'' That's right: in 1942, to fuel her soldiers, sailors, and airmen, Britannia bought the entire world crop of tea (except for the part of it under Japanese control, of course[[note]]They probably didn't get any of the tea under Soviet control, but that production, limited to a few plantations around Krasnodar, was rather small, and anyway the Russians ''really'' needed that tea.[[/note]]) - and it was as vital to her armies as bullets and tanks.
** On D-Day, the British troops started to make tea on Sword Beach almost as soon as they landed, even though they were still under fire. Later, after the beaches were taken and troops started to move inland, the Americans got upset over reports that the British stopped advancing to make tea, as the plan called for soldiers to advance until nightfall in order to capture as much ground before the expected German counter attack.
*** These reports weren't strictly accurate; a few companies of infantry were ordered to hold position for a short period because they were getting too far ahead of their tank support. Brewing tea happened because it's standard practice in the British Army to grab ''any'' opportunity for a hot drink and preferably some food; it's good for morale, helps stave off the effects of British weather, and you never know how long it'll be before the next chance comes up.
** Creator/SpikeMilligan's mate Harry Edgington showed bravery under fire in North Africa. A German aircraft strafed their artillery position while Edgington was making a brew. Rather than duck for cover, Edgington took off his steel helmet and used it to protect the precious brewing tea, lest it get shot up...
** One of the small, metal blast shelters on Normandy's Pointe du Hoc has the back completely blown out. While it may be an urban legend, the explanation some tour guides give holds that, after the area was captured, two British soldiers decided to make tea. For some reason, whatever they lit to heat the water caused a massive explosion. Their bodies were never recovered, and they were listed as missing in action.
** During the German occupation of the Netherlands, the British dropped tea bags over Amsterdam. That's right, we gave them TEA TO FIGHT THE NAZIS.
*** Alternately, this can be interpreted hilariously as an effort to encourage the troops to fight harder.
* TheOtherWiki notes that [[BritsWithBattleships British Tanks]] contain "a boiling vessel (BV) also known as a kettle or "bivvie" for water which can be used to brew tea, produce other hot beverages and heat "boil-in-the-bag" meals contained in ration packs." Once unique to British armoured vehicles (The Americans working with the Brits in Afghanistan and Iraq are jealous; they appreciate being allowed to use them and the Brits were only too glad to let them.), it is starting to be adopted by other nations in helping extending amount of time crew can spend inside vehicles.
* During half-time during the FA Cup Final, extra power generation capability is online to cope with all the kettles being boiled. The Brits love plug-in, fast-heating electric kettles (probably precisely ''because'' they facilitate making tea) over stovetops or microwaves, a trend that didn't much catch on in the States except for college dorms (and more for ramen than tea).
** Electric kettles sold in the British Isles are generally rated at 3 kW - it's generally not possible (ignoring the voltage differences) to use an appliance that uses so much power in North American households without getting your kitchen re-wired. A NEMA 5-20R (T-slot) outlet typically found in modern kitchens in the US will only deliver a maximum of around 2.4 kW. There are lower power kettles (cheap junk sold in the UK can be anything from 1.5-2 kW) but they're slow as hell in comparison.
** This is the reason why rapid-response power stations such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station Dinorwig]] were built, which can from idling to full power within seconds to accommodate sudden surges in demand. That's right: in the UK they've built specialist power stations ''inside mountains'' just so the entire nation can use their high-powered kettles at the same time.
** The same effect also apparently happens far more regularly at the end of soap operas: ''Britain from Above'' featured a segment showing a National Grid employee watching TV waiting for the end of ''Series/EastEnders'' in order to bring online the extra generators needed to cope with the power surge.
** Domestic power consumption can double in a few seconds with the load from kettles. This is why we have the fastest responding pumped storage power station in the world. Dinorwig in Wales can bring 1320MW of capacity on line in 12 seconds. All to make tea.
** Immediately after the recent televised wedding of Prince William and now-Duchess Kate ended, British utilities reported a surge of electricity consumption approximating ''2,400 megawatts,'' or about 1 million households boiling kettles. (This was not the all-time record; that'd be 2,800 MW consumed right after the 1990 World Cup England-Germany semifinal game ended, after which England [[INeedAFreakingDrink needed a freakin']] SpotOfTea.)
** In fact, British commercial breaks are designed to accommodate the making of tea. It takes roughly three minutes to boil the kettle and make 1-3 cups of tea. Commercial breaks are roughly just over 3 minutes long and the volume is increased substantially over main programmes so that Brits in the kitchen can hear them.
* In the 90's a team from the UK retraced Robert Scott's attempt to reach the South Pole on foot, to prove that it could be done. Now they had some advantages in that they had modern equipment and knowledge such as taking chocolate rather than tea because chocolate has a higher calorie content. When they got to the Pole one member of the team revealed that he had brought a small supply of tea along in order to have a brew-up at the Pole because as he said "This wouldn't have been a British expedition without at least one cup of tea at the Pole!"
* When the SAS patrol Bravo Two Zero were on the run though some of the coldest recorded weather ever in Iraq, they stopped and put a nice hot brew on to stop themselves freezing, despite the risk of fire giving away their position.
* After the [[DudeNotFunny July 7th attacks on the London transport system]], a meme swiftly flew around the net to the effect that [[INeedAFreakingDrink the only appropriate response was a cup of tea]]. And passing out tea was indeed one of the tasks of rescue volunteers.
* [[http://www.metro.co.uk/news/871931-uk-riots-operation-cup-of-tea-takes-twitter-and-facebook-by-storm Operation Cup of Tea]]. The British response to riots in the center of London? Drink tea (and donate the proceeds).
** During the London riots in August 2011, [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixel-eight/6024429000/ some people made tea]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming for the police officers protecting their streets.]]
** In the UK it is a matter of politeness to offer tea to tradesmen (plumbers, carpenters etc.), firemen and policemen, if they are staying for more than an hour. This has caused some confusion with immigrant tradesmen who are initially unfamiliar with the custom.
* In Australia, tea is also very popular, much in the British vein. There's a fairly strong surge of Taiwanese style bubble tea, but general iced tea is more of a pre-bottled thing that is nowhere near as popular as the hot variety.

to:

There's a reason the poster children for the SpotOfTea trope are the British. The British demand for tea drove, among other things, the monopoly of the uber-powerful Dutch-style British East India Company, and the 1840-42 and 1856-60 Opium Wars. The media portrayal of the Brits as tea crazy [[FreakierThanFiction pales next to many of the real life accounts.]] No shortage of British writers, including Creator/GeorgeOrwell [[http://www.george-orwell.org/A_Nice_Cup_of_Tea/0.html]], Creator/DouglasAdams [[http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/A61345]], Creator/NeilGaiman Creator/NeilGaiman, and a panel of British scientists [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_standard_cup_of_tea]][[note]]But despite rumours org/wiki/ISO_standard_cup_of_tea]][[note]]Despite rumours, this is not the government insisting on how people make their tea. The rules were made to make taste comparisons fair.[[/note]], [[/note]] have written essays on the subject of proper tea prep.

preparation.

'''Less Laconically''': Laconically:''' In 1660, King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland married princess Catarina de Bragança of Portugal. Part of her dowry was the Portuguese outpost at Bombay, which was sold in turn to the English East India Company. Consequently, ever greater quantities of tea and textiles were imported directly to Britain from India and China. By 1750 1750, the British had fallen in love with it.

As a late-comer relative latecomer to the transcontinental trade, the East India Company had to make do with the proverbial scraps left over from the Portuguese, and then the Dutch (the world's great merchant-shipping power in the 17th century). However, Dutch supremacy could not last forever, and it was in the field of textiles and tea in particular that their early advantage counted against them. The Dutch had moved, ruthlessly, to monopolise the supply and transportation of spices, which were quite easily the most valuable goods to be found out east.in the East. However, the demand for spices proved limited; people can only eat so much of them, and their value eventually went down as the European market became saturated. On the other hand the British, having British had almost completely borrowed the Dutch financial system, added small but significant improvements (particularly the invention of modern shipping insurance), more or less gotten over their [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar political troubles]], and [[Series/{{Connections}} invited a Dutchman over to... kind of... be King]] in 1688, and having borrowed the modern Dutch financial system lock, stock, and barrel, and having made a few small but significant improvements on it (particularly, the invention of modern shipping insurance), and having gotten over their [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar political troubles]], 1688. With this, Britain managed to get enough money to exploit an unnoticed niche in the market: they would realise and capitalise upon the elasticity of demand[[note]]The basic economic measure of how much demand for a product changes with its price. For relatively "inelastic" goods, even if the price changes a lot, the demand for it won't change that much -- think medication, for instance, which you're always going to need. For "elastic" goods, if the price falls a little, many more people will demand it, and if it rises a little, many more people will give up and just not demand it anymore.[[/note]] for cotton and silk clothing (leading directly to the catastrophic collapse of the British wool-textile industry). And--of course--tea.industry).

By elasticity of demand, we mean to point out that people are more willing to buy more of certain things than others. You can only buy and maintain so many cars, for instance. But there really is no upper limit, comparatively, to the number of music-recordings you might amass (especially these days). What this means in economic terms is that a small change in the price of a product with a high elasticity of demand will change the amount demanded a lot--reduce the price a bit, and a lot more people will start buying it (and/or people already buying the product will start buying more), but if you raise prices, the reduction in quantity demanded by consumers will be just as drastic. Because small reductions in price lead to large increases in quantity sold, a producer of a product with a high elasticity of demand will tend to try to maximise profits by selling more stuff at a lower price (if you can sell 10000 pounds of tea for 3 [[UsefulNotes/OldBritishMoney shillings]] per pound, or 30000 pounds of tea for 1 shilling sixpence per pound--which is three times the quantity at half the price--which would you prefer?[[note]]Assuming that your costs per pound of tea don't increase, which for the The East India Company was largely able to flood the market with Wulong tea; they did not in any significant way.[[/note]]). That is what the East India Company did with tea. What happened as the supply had so much of Tea increased and the prices of it dropped is that it appealed to an ever broader (and it, production costs were relatively poorer) base of people. Consequently, the East India Company tentatively tried to see just how much Wulong tea low, they could flood Britain with before make it a little cheaper, and they could see how long they could go until it became unprofitable. They were not disappointed. In Britain at least, by By the 1750s 1750s, it was already a recognized national drink. Interestingly, a significant upswing drink in Britain. It also improved the health followed of its citizens, as people began also took to boiling their water before drinking it. However, it was not it.

Interestingly, though, Britons wouldn't commonly add milk to their tea
until the latter half of the 19th century that people commonly took their tea with milk. This century. There are two reasons for this. The first is because the transition from Wulong tea was cheaper, tea, imported from China, to darker and more widely available and highly regarded until about this time - when astringent Indian teas, as British investment in Indian plantations (which produced darker and more astringent teas) began to pay off. The transport second is that it wasn't until then that it was viable and investment networks (i.e. railways and banks with the money and willingness cost-effective to invest in pithy local business ventures) required to transport get fresh milk to big cities.

The craze also spilled over into Ireland, which mostly mimics British tea consumption patters. if anything, they're even ''more'' tea-crazy than
the Metropolises simply didn't exist before then anyway.

British; by weight, they consume more tea per capita. Australia is similar, but they're much closer to Asia and tend to be quicker to adopt modern Asian tea crazes, like Taiwanese bubble tea.

'''How they drink it''': it:''' Black, hot hot, and in large quantities (typically using teabags[[note]]In fact they're just as ubiquitous as in the USA for everyday consumption, quantities. Typically, they use teabags, although supermarkets generally sell fancier loose leaf stores are more likely to have fancy loose-leaf teas on the next shelf over.[[/note]]). Adding milk is common, as well than in other places. Beyond that, it can vary a lot, and there is an ongoing holy war as to whether the milk or the tea goes into the cup first. Some people avoid the debate altogether by squeezing lemon into it instead[[note]]But never both. Curdled milk tea is not a nice thing.[[/note]]. It is it's entirely possible to divine a Briton's class, upbringing, and even politics, based on the way politics by how they drink tea. The tea.
* Adding milk is the common way of drinking it; the ongoing holy war is whether the milk or the tea goes into the cup first. Some people [[TakeAThirdOption avoid the debate altogether]] by squeezing lemon into it instead. But don't do both; curdled milk tea is not a nice thing.
* There's a whole
mid-afternoon light meal called "afternoon tea", with sandwiches famous for tiny sandwiches, scones, and scones and its precise etiquette, is a product of the etiquette. It's typically an upper-middle class[[note]]It class thing, and it was essentially an invention of the a rising middle class looking to feel "posher".[[/note]] (not to be confused with the evening meal, which working to lower-middle "posher". Lower-middle class people just call "tea" rather than "dinner" or "supper"--even more confusingly, this working-class "tea" is what it "tea". The upper class Brits call has ''multiple'' tiny meals it calls "tea", with afternoon tea being "low tea" and the later, middle-class timing "high tea"; high just meaning later in the day/eaten off physically "higher" dinner tables as opposed to the "low" tea tables to distinguish it from afternoon tea), while lower classes stick with a cup of tea and a snack. tea". It gets confusing sometimes.
*
"Builder's tea", the tea" is a staple of the working classes, is classes; it's cheap tea brewed extra strong strong, with a generous amount of milk and sugar (jokingly, an amount sufficient enough for the spoon to stand upright in the mug). mug).
* Polite Britons will typically offer tradesmen (''e.g.'' plumbers, carpenters), firemen, and policemen a SpotOfTea if they're staying as guests for more than an hour. As more and more tradesmen in Britain are immigrants, this is starting to cause some confusion, but as you'll see below, this sort of offering is not unheard of in other parts of the world.
* Flavors are numerous, but
Earl Grey, invented in China, named after The Earl Grey, who received a shipment is one of it as a gift, is tea the most common. It's flavoured with oil of bergamot, a bitter citrus fruit, and in some varieties with added varietes it might also have orange or lemon peel, or with various flowers such as like lavender, verbena verbena, or rose petals. It's [[CaptainObvious named after the Earl Grey]], who received a shipment of it as a gift.
**
"English Breakfast" and "Irish Breakfast" are both popular popularly named tea blends, blends you might encounter, but the actual teas included in them vary; what may vary. What matters is that they're strong, hearty concoctions that can stand up to the full English/Irish full breakfast of eggs and fatty cured meats.

Also: as you might have understood from the above, British patterns of tea consumption are largely replicated in Ireland,
meats.
* Tea is popularly made
with some minor differences. Indeed, the Irish are, if anything, even ''more'' tea-crazy than the British, consistently consuming more tea--by weight--per capita than the British do.

* During WWI the British used water cooled machine guns. British soldiers would sometimes fire off hundreds of rounds just to heat up the the water inside the cooling jacket of their machine guns so they could make tea.
* During World War II, Britain shipped, by weight, more tea to her troops than anything save ''bullets''. Small arms ammunition, that is: the British army got through more tea than ''artillery shells''. ''By weight''. Contemporary soldier Creator/SpikeMilligan [[Literature/AdolfHitlerMyPartInHisDownfall observed]] that they were damn lucky that Rommel never tried baiting minefields with tea.
** Creator/ArthurCClarke recounted in his autobiography that during WWII, one of his jobs in the civil service was to coordinate the dispersal of tea stockpiles throughout the country, as the government feared civil disorder if the main warehouses were taken out by a chance bombing.
** In 1942 the Luftwaffe decided that, deprived of tea, the British Empire would pretty much grind to a halt. They therefore decided to bomb Mincing Lane - center of all British and Imperial tea trading - flat. It worked too. The tea industry was sent into chaos and on account of the confusion, tea was rationed to two ounces a week - which is very very little.[[note]]The actual tea stockpiles were unaffected, as Clarke and his fellow civil servants had successfully scattered those across the country; however, all the records about where the bulk tea was and who owned it were destroyed, meaning that distribution could only proceed on the limited information that survived.[[/note]] From a morale point of view it was one of the most successful bombing strategies of the war.
** In response to shortage fears, in 1942 the British decided to buy the tea. [[AllOfThem As in all of it]]. ''In the world.'' That's right: in 1942, to fuel her soldiers, sailors, and airmen, Britannia bought the entire world crop of tea (except for the part of it under Japanese control, of course[[note]]They probably didn't get any of the tea under Soviet control, but that production, limited to a few plantations around Krasnodar, was rather small, and anyway the Russians ''really'' needed that tea.[[/note]]) - and it was as vital to her armies as bullets and tanks.
** On D-Day, the British troops started to make tea on Sword Beach almost as soon as they landed, even though they were still under fire. Later, after the beaches were taken and troops started to move inland, the Americans got upset over reports that the British stopped advancing to make tea, as the plan called for soldiers to advance until nightfall in order to capture as much ground before the expected German counter attack.
*** These reports weren't strictly accurate; a few companies of infantry were ordered to hold position for a short period because they were getting too far ahead of their tank support. Brewing tea happened because it's standard practice in the British Army to grab ''any'' opportunity for a hot drink and preferably some food; it's good for morale, helps stave off the effects of British weather, and you never know how long it'll be before the next chance comes up.
** Creator/SpikeMilligan's mate Harry Edgington showed bravery under fire in North Africa. A German aircraft strafed their artillery position while Edgington was making a brew. Rather than duck for cover, Edgington took off his steel helmet and used it to protect the precious brewing tea, lest it get shot up...
** One of the small, metal blast shelters on Normandy's Pointe du Hoc has the back completely blown out. While it may be an urban legend, the explanation some tour guides give holds that, after the area was captured, two British soldiers decided to make tea. For some reason, whatever they lit to heat the water caused a massive explosion. Their bodies were never recovered, and they were listed as missing in action.
** During the German occupation of the Netherlands, the British dropped tea bags over Amsterdam. That's right, we gave them TEA TO FIGHT THE NAZIS.
*** Alternately, this can be interpreted hilariously as an effort to encourage the troops to fight harder.
* TheOtherWiki notes that [[BritsWithBattleships British Tanks]] contain "a boiling vessel (BV) also known as a kettle or "bivvie" for water which can be used to brew tea, produce other hot beverages and heat "boil-in-the-bag" meals contained in ration packs." Once unique to British armoured vehicles (The Americans working with the Brits in Afghanistan and Iraq are jealous; they appreciate being allowed to use them and the Brits were only too glad to let them.), it is starting to be adopted by other nations in helping extending amount of time crew can spend inside vehicles.
* During half-time during the FA Cup Final, extra power generation capability is online to cope with all the kettles being boiled. The Brits love plug-in, fast-heating
electric kettles (probably precisely ''because'' they facilitate making tea) over rather than stovetops or microwaves, a trend microwaves. Such electric kettles are that much more popular in Britain than in the U.S. (where it didn't much catch on in the States except for outside college dorms (and more for ramen than tea).
students making [[RamenAsDehydratedNoodles instant ramen]]).
** Electric kettles sold in the It helps that British Isles power standards are different from those in the U.S., allowing powerful appliances that are generally rated at 3 kW - it's generally not possible (ignoring the voltage differences) to use kW, which an appliance that uses so much power in North American households without getting your kitchen re-wired. A NEMA 5-20R (T-slot) outlet typically found in modern kitchens in the US will only deliver a maximum of around 2.4 kW. There are lower power kettles (cheap junk sold in the UK can be anything from 1.5-2 kW) but they're slow as hell in comparison.
** This is the reason why
probably couldn't handle. But sometimes ''everyone'' wants tea at once, which has necessitated rapid-response power stations such as like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station Dinorwig]] were built, Dinorwig]], which can from idling to full power within come online in seconds to accommodate meet sudden surges in of demand. That's right: in the UK they've built specialist power stations ''inside mountains'' just so the entire nation can use their high-powered kettles at the same time.
** The same effect also apparently happens far more regularly at
These surges typically coincide with the end of soap operas: ''Britain operas (''Britain from Above'' featured a segment showing once showed a National Grid employee watching TV nervously waiting for the end of ''Series/EastEnders'' in order to bring online ''Series/EastEnders''). Major one-time events, like the extra generators needed to cope with the power surge.
** Domestic power consumption can double in a few seconds with the load from kettles. This is why we have the fastest responding pumped storage power station in the world. Dinorwig in Wales can bring 1320MW of capacity on line in 12 seconds. All to make tea.
** Immediately after the recent televised
wedding of Prince William and now-Duchess Kate ended, Duchess Kate, after which British utilities reported recorded a surge of electricity consumption approximating ''2,400 megawatts,'' or about 1 million households boiling kettles. (This was not 2,400 megawatts. If you're wondering, the all-time record; that'd be record is 2,800 MW consumed right megawatts, after Germany knocked England out in the 1990 World Cup England-Germany semifinal game ended, after which England of the 1990 UsefulNotes/FIFAWorldCup [[HumiliationConga on penalties]], and the nation [[INeedAFreakingDrink needed a freakin']] SpotOfTea.)
freaking Spot of Tea]].
*Tea figures in ''hugely'' in the military in Britain.
** In fact, During UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, the British commercial breaks are designed to accommodate the making of tea. It takes roughly three minutes to boil the kettle and make 1-3 cups of tea. Commercial breaks are roughly just over 3 minutes long and the volume is increased substantially over main programmes so that Brits in the kitchen can hear them.
* In the 90's a team from the UK retraced Robert Scott's attempt to reach the South Pole on foot, to prove that it could be done. Now they had some advantages in
used water-cooled machine guns. They quickly learned that they had modern equipment and knowledge such as taking chocolate rather than tea because chocolate has a higher calorie content. When they got to could use the Pole one member hot water in their guns' cooling jackets [[MundaneUtility to make tea]], sometimes firing off hundreds of the team revealed that he had brought rounds at a small supply of tea along in order time to have a brew-up at the Pole because as he said "This wouldn't have been a do so. British expedition without at least one cup of tea at the Pole!"
* When the SAS patrol Bravo Two Zero
tanks from UsefulNotes/WorldWarII onwards also had on-board water boiling vessels, which were on designed mostly to disinfect water or cook "boil-in-the-bag" rations, but which were mostly used for a SpotOfTea.
** Tea distribution within
the run though some country during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was a big deal, for morale if nothing else. One of the coldest recorded weather ever in Iraq, they stopped and put a nice hot brew on Luftwaffe's biggest blows to stop themselves freezing, despite the risk of fire giving away their position.
* After the [[DudeNotFunny July 7th attacks on the London transport system]], a meme swiftly flew around the net to the effect that [[INeedAFreakingDrink the only appropriate response was a cup of tea]]. And passing out tea was indeed one of the tasks of rescue volunteers.
* [[http://www.metro.co.uk/news/871931-uk-riots-operation-cup-of-tea-takes-twitter-and-facebook-by-storm Operation Cup of Tea]]. The
British morale was a 1942 bombing attack on Mincing Lane, Britain's biggest tea trade centre. In response to shortage fears, the British government decided to buy [[AllOfThem all the tea]], buying practically anything they could get their hands on. They sent more tea to British troops, by weight, than anything save ''bullets'' -- even more than ''artillery shells''. They also assigned civil servants to coordinate the dispersal and movement of tea stockpiles throughout the country, a job Creator/ArthurCClarke describes having done in his autobiography.
** World War II soldier Creator/SpikeMilligan [[Literature/AdolfHitlerMyPartInHisDownfall observed]] that they were damn lucky that Rommel never tried baiting minefields with tea. He describes a mate, Harry Edgington, who showed bravery under fire in North Africa -- by protecting his still-brewing tea from German aircraft with his own helmet.
* Tea is also commonly used as a coping mechanism, sometimes for things as trivial England's [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut admittedly frequent]] sports humiliations, but also for things as serious as riots and disasters. Rescue volunteers distributed tea to victims of the 2005 terrorist bombing of UsefulNotes/TheLondonUndergound, and during
riots in the center of London? Drink tea (and donate the proceeds).
** During the
London riots in August 2011, [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixel-eight/6024429000/ some people bystanders made tea]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming for the police officers protecting their streets.]]
** In
at the UK it is a matter of politeness to offer tea to tradesmen (plumbers, carpenters etc.), firemen and policemen, if they are staying for more than an hour. This has caused some confusion with immigrant tradesmen who are initially unfamiliar with the custom.
* In Australia, tea is also very popular, much in the British vein. There's a fairly strong surge of Taiwanese style bubble tea, but general iced tea is more of a pre-bottled thing that is nowhere near as popular as the hot variety.
scene.



All things tea can be traced back to China. The tea leaf, the tea pot, the teahouse and tea garden, even the tea ceremony - not one like in Japan, but its own tradition called ''gongfu'', where oolong or black tea is brewed several times over the course of several minutes, with short brew times and small cups to experience every nuance of flavor the tea has to offer.

'''How They Drink It''': The choice of white, green, oolong or black tea as a favorite varies regionally; however, it is almost invariably drunk straight and hot. Chinese tea is weaker than the Indian black tea common in Britain, and most Chinese are lactose intolerant. However, the strong and astringent teas common to central China are also drunk straight, but they are served in small shotglasses. The variances from this are foreign customs: bottled cold tea has a respectable showing; the Mongol Empire of the Yuan (whose Central Asian masters were among the few lactose-tolerant peoples in Asia) is probably responsible for the milk-in-tea custom traveling west; and Tibet has the (in)famous yak butter tea which is as much a food as it is drink. ''Pu erh'' tea, of the formerly-Muslim south-western provinces (Sichuan, Yunnan), is pressed into bricks and aged in caves like cheese - this is a rather specialist taste (the fermentation/aging process gives it a unique mushroomy/umami flavour).

* As in many other places, it's honorable and a sign of hospitality to pour tea for another - brides and grooms pour it for their parents, juniors for their elders, and so on. Legend has it that Qing dynasty emperor Qian Long would often travel through the land [[KingIncognito incognito]] and his servants were forbidden from letting the secret slip. One day as they were all seated for tea, the Emperor took his turn pouring tea for his servants. This was an immense honor that in any other situation would have called for the servants to kowtow; since they could not do that without giving the emperor away, they tapped the table with three fingers bent as if in a kowtow pose. To this day is continues as a gesture of thanks for being served tea.
* Like Britain, where tea drinking improved the health and productivity of the population, so it also was in Tang Dynasty China, where it allowed the population to greatly increase and greased the gears of poets, songwriters, and painters. In a place where your other option for safe drinking was rice-wine, tea was ''very'' popular (not that some poets didn't [[DrunkenMaster thrive on wine]], though, [[ArtisticStimulation Li Po/Li Bai]] being the most famous).
* The name for the dim sum-like tradition of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yum_cha yum cha]] literally means 'drink tea' - the little buns and fried snacks were a later addition.
* Though we might imagine the tea-drinking habits of ancient Buddhist monks to be mired in ritual and spirituality, it was actually incorporated for a much more mundane reason: to keep them from falling asleep while meditating for long periods at a time. This is why Bhodidharma's eyelids figure into the tea origin myth.
* In Hong Kong, which was formerly British-ruled, "milk tea" is hot tea with evaporated milk, usually of the "Black & White" brand. Other variants include mixing milk tea and coffee, which sort-of ends the tea vs coffee debate.

to:

All things tea can be traced back to China. The tea leaf, the tea pot, the teahouse and tea garden, even the tea ceremony - -- not one like in Japan, but its own tradition called ''gongfu'', where oolong or black tea is brewed several times over the course of several minutes, with short brew times and small cups to experience every nuance of flavor the tea has to offer.

offer. Like in Britain, the proliferation of tea in Tang Dynasty China also contributed to a population boom because it got people in the habit of boiling water; not surprisingly, the Tang era also saw the proliferation of many great artists and philosophers.

'''How They Drink It''': It:'''
*
The choice of white, green, oolong or black tea as a favorite varies regionally; however, it is almost invariably regionally.
** Almost invariably, though, it's
drunk straight and hot. Chinese tea is weaker than the Indian black tea common in Britain, and most Chinese are lactose intolerant. However, the But they also do this to strong and astringent teas common to from central China are also drunk straight, but they are China, albeit served in small shotglasses. The variances shotglasses.
** Adding milk to tea, though, probably originated
from this are foreign customs: bottled cold tea has a respectable showing; the Mongol Empire of the Yuan (whose Yuan, whose Central Asian masters were among the few lactose-tolerant peoples in Asia) is probably responsible for Asia. It's likely from here that the milk-in-tea custom traveling west; and moved west to Europe. Tibet also has the its (in)famous yak butter tea tea, which is as much a food as it is drink. a drink.
**
''Pu erh'' tea, of tea comes from the formerly-Muslim south-western one-time Muslim provinces (Sichuan, Yunnan), is in the southwest, Sichuan and Yunnan. It's pressed into bricks and aged in caves caves, like cheese - this is a rather specialist taste (the fermentation/aging process cheese. This gives it a unique mushroomy/umami flavour).

mushroomy or umami flavor, and it's rather an acquired taste.
** "Milk tea" is popular in Hong Kong, a former British colony. It's hot tea with evaporated milk, usually of the "Black & White" brand. It's also common in Hong Kong to mix tea and coffee, a sort of compromise position between [[MustHaveCaffeine the traditional caffeine options]].
* As in many other places, it's honorable and a [[SacredHospitaliy sign of hospitality hospitality]] to pour tea for another - brides and grooms pour it for their parents, juniors for their elders, and others. According to legend, this was so on. Legend has it ingrained that the Qing dynasty emperor Qian Long would often travel through the land Long, while traveling [[KingIncognito incognito]] and around the country, would pour tea for his servants were forbidden from letting the secret slip. One day as they were all seated for tea, the Emperor took to maintain his turn pouring tea for his servants. disguise. This was such an immense honor that in any other situation would have called for the servants would ordinarily be expected to kowtow; since kowtow in this situation; they could not couldn't do that without giving the emperor away, so they tapped the table with three fingers bent as if in imitation of a kowtow pose. To this day day, this is continues as a traditional gesture of thanks for being served tea.
* Like Britain, where tea drinking improved the health and productivity of the population, so it also was in Tang Dynasty China, where it allowed the population to greatly increase and greased the gears of poets, songwriters, and painters. In a place where your other option for safe drinking was rice-wine, tea was ''very'' popular (not that some poets didn't [[DrunkenMaster thrive on wine]], though, [[ArtisticStimulation Li Po/Li Bai]] being the most famous).
*
The name for the dim sum-like ''dim sum''-like tradition of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yum_cha yum cha]] literally means 'drink tea' - the "drink tea". Like afternoon tea in Britain, it's got little snacks with it (in the form of buns and fried snacks tidbits), but these were largely a later addition.
* Ancient Buddhist monks were often associated with tea-drinking. Though we might imagine the tea-drinking habits of ancient Buddhist monks that they did so to be mired in ritual and enhance their spirituality, it in fact the reason was actually incorporated for a much more mundane reason: mundane: to keep them from falling asleep stay awake while meditating for long periods at a time. This is why Bhodidharma's eyelids figure into the tea origin myth.
* In Hong Kong, which was formerly British-ruled, "milk tea" is hot tea with evaporated milk, usually of the "Black & White" brand. Other variants include mixing milk tea and coffee, which sort-of ends the tea vs coffee debate.



Japanese green tea gets the honorific 'O' prefix to its name: Ocha. This is the clearest indicator of Japanese reverence; any other kind of tea is simply 'cha'. In fact, the hot water required to brew tea (and make baths) gets the 'O' -- "oyu" -- but any other temperature is just 'mizu'.

Tea in Japan has always been deeply intertwined with Buddhism and Shintoism. And the rituals that have developed around the serving of tea has become a deep and exacting discipline over the centuries. In the Japanese tea ceremony (or ''chado'', literally "the Way of Tea"), the preparation and drinking of tea is treated as a quasi-religious ritual and the prescribed movements is as exacting as a dance. The study of the ceremony can literally take a lifetime.

'''How they drink it''': Green tea is, of course, king, though oolong is also popular and black tea, usually served as "milk tea"[[note]]with milk and sugar, similar to the British "builder's tea" though the preparation is closer to Indian chai as the tea is actually boiled[[/note]], is sometimes drunk in cafes and in bottled form. Tea ceremony aside, the most common form of tea served in Japan is brewed loose-leaf ''sencha'', though tea bags and instant tea are also increasingly popular for their convenience and cheapness after the economic bubble burst. Even though Japan is famous for its tea ceremony, as with the Brits, everyday tea drinking is a much humbler affair there, with loose-leaf sencha or tea bags served in mugs, Western-style. Having been isolationist for the greater part of its history and having limited space for farmland, the Japanese came up with a variety of inventive ways to stretch the green tea supply, including ''genmaicha'' (tea mixed with toasted rice), ''kukicha'' (a nutty-tasting tea that includes the stems and twigs from the leftovers of ''matcha'' and ''sencha'' production) and ''hojicha'' (lower grade tea than ''sencha'', called ''bancha'', that has been roasted over charcoal for flavor). Nowadays, Japan supplements their local supply with Chinese imports as well.

Because tea is so popular, hot water boilers and the electric kettles that the Brits are so fond of are ubiquitous in Japanese kitchens and offices. They're also handy for making [[UsefulNotes/RamenAsDehydratedNoodles instant ramen]].

to:

Japanese green tea gets the honorific 'O' "O" prefix to its name: Ocha. ''Ocha''. This is the clearest indicator of Japanese reverence; any other kind of tea is simply 'cha'. "cha". In fact, the hot water required to brew tea (and make baths) also gets the 'O' "O" (''oyu'' -- "oyu" -- but any other temperature water is just 'mizu'.

"mizu").

Tea in Japan has always been deeply intertwined with Buddhism UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} and Shintoism. And the UsefulNotes/{{Shinto}}ism. The rituals that have developed around the serving of tea has have become a deep and exacting discipline over the centuries. In the Japanese tea ceremony (or ''chado'', literally "the Way of Tea"), the preparation and drinking of tea is treated as a quasi-religious ritual ritual, and the prescribed movements is are as exacting as in a dance. The study of the ceremony can literally take a lifetime.

'''How they drink it''': it:'''
*
Green tea is, of course, is king, though oolong is also popular and black tea, usually served as "milk tea"[[note]]with milk and sugar, similar to the British "builder's tea" though the preparation is closer to Indian chai as the tea is actually boiled[[/note]], is sometimes drunk in cafes and in bottled form. of course. Tea ceremony aside, the most common form of tea served in Japan is brewed loose-leaf ''sencha'', though tea bags and instant tea are also increasingly popular for their convenience and cheapness after the economic bubble burst. Even though Japan is famous for its tea ceremony, as with the Brits, ''sencha''. For everyday tea drinking is a much humbler affair there, with loose-leaf sencha or tea bags use, it's commonly served in mugs, Western-style. Having been isolationist for But given the greater part of its history relative isolationism and having limited space for farmland, the Japanese came up with lack of available land in Japan, there are a variety of inventive ways to stretch the green tea supply, including ''genmaicha'' (tea including:
** ''Genmaicha'' -- tea
mixed with toasted rice), ''kukicha'' (a rice
** ''Kukicha'' -- a
nutty-tasting tea that includes the stems and twigs left over from the leftovers of ''matcha'' and ''sencha'' production) and ''hojicha'' (lower grade production
** ''Hojicha'' or ''bancha'' -- a lower-grade
tea than ''sencha'', called ''bancha'', that ''sencha'' which has been roasted over charcoal for flavor). Nowadays, flavor.
** These days,
Japan supplements their local will also supplement its tea supply with Chinese imports as well.

well.
* Other popular varieties include wulong and black tea. The latter is usually served as "milk tea" -- with milk and sugar, similar to British "builder's tea" (although the tea itself is boiled, similar to Indian chai). It's often drunk in cafés and in bottled form. Teabags and instant tea are also popular, largely for their convenience and cheapness (and making use of Japan's ubiquitous vending machines).
*
Because tea is so popular, hot water boilers and the British-style electric kettles that the Brits are so fond of are ubiquitous in Japanese kitchens and offices. They're also handy for making [[UsefulNotes/RamenAsDehydratedNoodles instant ramen]].



For years, the Indians knew about tea and had access to tea plants, but thought of tea mostly as a medicinal herb. For better or worse, it was the British who were responsible for turning India into the tea-growing juggernaut it is today, smuggling techniques and plant cuttings out of China (under pain of death if they got caught) and learning to cultivate the Indian tea varietal as well. British colonial rule ended in the 1940s but ''chai'' remains a big deal, especially in the famous Assam and Darjeeling growing regions.

'''How They Drink It:''' British-style with milk (although unlike the UK and rather like Hong Kong, the milk is often evaporated milk) and sugar, and in a variety of Indian preperations involving various combinations of spices and herbs. Of those, ''masala chai'' is the best known, including black tea and a variety of spices among which cardamom, ginger and sometimes black pepper feature prominantly, but there's also ''kahwah'', green tea with almonds and spices originating in the Kashmir region, and ''noon chai'', also from Kashmir, featuring cardamom, pistachio, a pinch of salt and a pink color produced by adding baking soda. However it's mixed, the Indian customs differ from the British in that they make tea by boiling everything - milk, tea and sugar - in the same pot. (An exception: Darjeeling tea, though sold as black, actually tends to be less oxidized and technically an oolong. This "champagne of teas" in its pure form needs no adulterations; do note however that a lot of what is sold as "Darjeeling tea", especially cheap stuff, is either not actually from Darjeeling or blended with a lot of cheaper tea.)

* Roadside tea vendors called chai wallahs line many Indian streets. Since roadside tea stalls are limited in the number of utensils they can use, the vendor usually uses just one pot to make lots of cups. He starts a pot, and starts vending the tea. When the supply becomes low, he simply adds more water, sugar, tea and milk into the pot. He keeps on adjusting the ingredients as he goes along while using the color of the tea as a guide to tell him when the tea is "done". This has an added advantage for the chai wallah because the batches after the first one require less tea. This style of tea is called Kadak (literally "hard") because the end result is generally stronger. A lot of people who are used to drinking Kadak chai mimic this by slow boiling the tea after adding the milk.
* Most of India's neighbor countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh, also enjoy the various chai styles. The Kashmiri-origin teas in particular are also popular in Pakistan (which claims all of Kashmir and has ''de facto'' control over a substantial chunk of it).


!!USA and The Americas
It used to be the case that finding a good cup of tea in the USA was an uncertain proposition. Despite being ex-British citizens [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution their fondness for French and other continental European cultures after their break-up]] and access to relatively cheap coffee in Central and South America eventually cemented the USA's status as a coffee culture. (The upper class still drank British-style black tea, though, especially in the Northeast and New York.) The accidental invention of the tea bag by a New Yorker in 1907 didn't help any, ensuring this was the only form of tea most Americans would ever see on grocery store shelves.

But while the US is a coffee culture, [[TheDeepSouth the South]] is a tea culture, very fond of iced sweet tea -- a ''very'' sweet preparation, brewed with sugar added to the pot, which is borderline undrinkable if you weren't born to it (and sometimes even if you were; it can have twice as much sugar as Coca-Cola). Southern sweet tea was originally made with green tea, but supplies of green tea were cut off in the 1930s and '40s due to Japan's war in China. Black tea from India, Tanganyika, and the Caribbean remained available, so the South switched to that, and has never switched back; perhaps sweet green tea was a little ''too'' sweet.

Fortunately for tea lovers, the US is [[PopularityPolynomial coming back around to tea]]. Since 1990, both the North and the South have seen green and oolong teas becoming much more widely available. Coffee shops have started serving full-leaf tea, and some experimental brands of premium tea have been introduced -- especially Tazo. Specialty tea retail is a growing business, especially in newly-gentrified parts of major cities. British tourists remain unimpressed, but it's better than the previous situation; they might be well advised to visit Chinese and Japanese restaurants, which have long been good places for oolong and green tea respectively.

'''How They Drink It''': Iced tea is infinitely more common than hot; this is as true of the North as it is of the South. Lemon is quite commonly added (iced tea will often be served with a wedge of lemon put in, and most restaurants will provide more lemon for the asking), but you can live your whole life in the US without seeing someone add milk or cream to iced tea -- even though many Northerners will readily drink iced coffee with milk. Many restaurants offer fruit syrups as additives to tea; a few regions mix fresh or frozen fruit pulp with iced tea. Lately, a drink called the Arnold Palmer (named for the golfer; also called Half and Half), half iced tea and half lemonade, has been coming to prominence in parts of the country; it's rare in the South, though.

Where hot tea is drunk, it's normally sweetened to taste; this is true even in the North. Milk and cream are rare even in hot tea, perhaps for fear of kidney stones; lemon is as common with hot tea as with iced.

Boston, which has long preserved a tea culture even though it's also the cradle of Dunkin' Doughnuts (which is better known in Boston for its coffee), has a very interesting custom: [[BlatantLies old Boston families sometimes brew tea with saltwater]], [[TheAmericanRevolution preferably from Boston Harbor.]]

* The American Revolution was set off, in large part, by tea. After spending a vast amount of money to conquer the rest of eastern North America in the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War in the United States), thereby securing the borders of the Thirteen Colonies, Parliament started taxing the colonies to recoup the costs of the war -- without the colonies' approval. The colonists had long had a great deal of autonomy, including the rights to set their own taxes and pass their own laws; and besides, they saw themselves as Englishmen. (This is because they mostly were Englishmen; ''Albion's Seed'' describes how the Northeast is essentially Essex, Virginia and the Deep South are basically the West Riding, Pennsylvania is Yorkshire -- especially the Quakers of that region -- and Appalachia is the Scots Border, which also gave TheTroubles to the world.)
** The last straw for Massachusetts, where the American Revolution began, wasn't the imposition of a new tax but the ''lowering'' of an existing one. The British East India Company was given monopoly rights to import tea to Boston, basically duty-free; this meant that the EIC could sell legal tea cheaper than Boston's merchant-smuggler families could sell the illegal kind. But most Americans bought tea from the smugglers, and didn't know what the real price of tea was (before surcharges for smuggling or tax); so the smugglers dressed up as very unconvincing American Indians, threw the legal tea into the harbor, and told everyone else that they were protesting a tax ''increase''. The British followed with the Intolerable Acts; the rest of the country rallied to Massachusetts' cause, knowing that if they lost their privileges the other colonies would be next; and then the British decided to seize the arsenal at Concord, Massachusetts, and at this point the American Revolution was on.
** During the Revolution, it became common (only in the North?) to give up tea in favor of coffee, as a sign of defiance towards the British government; after the WarOf1812 -- two wars with Britain in two generations -- this habit stuck. This must have been frustrating for the tea smugglers who started the whole thing; but then, there were many other businesses that they could go into now that the British had previously monopolized.
* Several towns in New England used to use to choose their new ministers by looking at how they drank their tea; a candidate was too passionate for the job if he took his tea with both milk and sugar.
* Foreign countries (including the North) are hell for a Southerner used to drinking iced sweet tea. On the other hand, Northerners are often put off by the amount of sugar in Southern sweet tea (one recipe that makes a sweet tea that is in the mid-range of sweetness calls for a 1:8 ratio of sugar to water), and usually prefer their iced tea to be unsweetened or fruit-sweetened.
** In the South sweet tea is very SeriousBusiness. The Georgia House of Representatives put forward a bill making it a misdemeanor to sell tea without the option of sweet tea in restaurants. This was an April Fools joke, but they fooled quite a few people.
** Sweet tea is a point of contention between the South and New Orleans, a Southern city with French (Cajun) and generally cosmopolitan culture. New Orleans brews its tea like the North -- brewing unsweetened and perhaps adding sweeteners to taste -- but traditional Southern drinkers insist that sugar ''must'' be brewed with the tea. Since it's SeriousBusiness as noted, dining venues along major tourist routes come under a lot of pressure to provide tea brewed sweet. (When Southerner [[Series/GoodEats Alton Brown]] rode through New Orleans for his ''Feasting On Asphalt'' docu-series, this was a source of considerable astonishment.)
** Serious business indeed: this space used to contain the accounts of Southern Tropers arguing over how to add the sugar to sweet tea - whether to add it while the tea was hot (claiming it added flavor from the sugar slightly caramelizing), or as sugar syrup when cold.
** Tea and sugar brewed together can be made sweeter than tea with sugar added later, due to supersaturation. Sugar doesn't dissolve well in tea after it's been iced, either—there's nothing quite like the shock of having wet sugar granules slide in your mouth as you take your final swig.
** Sweet tea has gone mainstream in recent years, appearing on restaurant menus and in grocery stores. Both the North and the South ''do'' like a lot of sugar in most foods...
* Masala chai is increasingly popular in urban areas, as a comfort-drink alternative to hot chocolate and caffe latte. It's usually made with a concentrated tea-and-spice syrup (or sometimes a powder, like hot chocolate), and so tends to be sweeter and a bit heavier than the Indian original.
* British and Irish-style teas are readily available in many parts of the country, but often at a jaw-dropping premium (especially for Irish brands like Barrys). Twinings and Tetley's are two brands that are widely available without being extortionately priced, although Tetley's "British blend" (their flagship product) is a little harder to find; their American blend is lighter, more ice-friendly.
* You might expect that Canada, being where all the Loyalists went after 1776 and priding itself on its continued loyalty to the Crown to this day, would be emphatically British-style tea country, but you'd be wrong; social identity is one thing, cheap American coffee is something else, and so Canada is at least as coffee crazy as its southern neighbour. Still, while coffee is king in Canada to the point of being SeriousBusiness, First Nations tend to serve and drink (hot) tea much more than the rest of Canada. This is probably due to the fact that in earlier generations the main supplier of goods to most Reserves was the (then-)British owned and operated Hudson's Bay Company.[[note]]The Hudson's Bay Company still exists today, but it's a Canadian corporation with HQ in Toronto and owns department stores. Canadians know this, but Americans might not--Saks Fifth Avenue? That's HBC.[[/note]]
** You'd be surprised how, much like the United States (above), tea is becoming increasingly popular in many parts of Canada. This is helped by the fact that, thanks to Tim Hortons (a famous chain of coffee shops and Canada's cultural equivalent to America's [=McDonald's=]), you can now get almost any kind of coffee, latte, cappuccino, and... yes... tea under the sun. This includes an entire assortment of bagged teas (such as Black Tea, Green Tea, and any flavour from Earl Grey to English Breakfast to Chai), as well as Steeped Tea. Much like Australians and upper-class Americans, there are a great many "English" Canadians who enjoy their tea ''almost'' as much as the First Nations or South Asian immigrants. Coffee, however, is still the single most-bought hot beverage, although Hot Chocolate is somewhat popular (especially in mid-winter).
*** Iced Tea is also present in Canada, although almost exclusively from Nestle and Brisk. It's almost always sweetened; it's almost never sweetened as much as it is in the American South. Diet Iced Tea -- an idea unknown in the South -- is also available.
** UsefulNotes/McDonalds [=McCafe=] is also in on the tea business in Canada, serving a full array of hot teas (Orange Pekoe black tea, Earl Grey, Peppermint, and Green tea) - which generally isn't the case in the US.
** It must also be noted that Canadians drink significantly more coffee than Americans (6.5 kg/person/year vs. 4.2), but also drink more tea (0.4 kg/person/year vs. 0.3 in the US, Britain is 2.7, Ireland is 3.2, and Morocco is 4.3). It gets ''really'' cold in Canada.
* People who bother to drink tea in North America at all will most likely make it from tea bags, as that's all that's available on most grocery store shelves. There are a number of small companies selling loose-leaf tea by mail order for serious tea aficionados. That said, specialty tea stores, such as David's Tea and Teavana are expanding now so that in any major urban area of Canada and the U.S. you are guaranteed to find around half a dozen stores. There is even one in Toronto's international airport. You can also find loose leaf tea in the better grocery stores with a bulk natural foods section.
* Owing to the growing popularity of tea stateside, electric kettles are now easily available at "big box" stores in the U.S.; but, as previously mentioned, they're not nearly as powerful as their British counterparts. They're still handy, as they don't tie up the stove and they shut off automatically when they're done boiling for safety.
* Green tea is becoming popular in the U.S. as a health food, particularly among women. Coffee shops also have green tea lattes available. Matcha is also popular among urban hipsters.

to:

For years, the Indians knew about tea and had access to tea plants, but they thought of tea mostly as a medicinal herb. For better or worse, it was the British who were responsible for turning India into the tea-growing juggernaut it is today, smuggling techniques and plant cuttings out of China (under pain of death if they got were caught) and learning to cultivate the Indian tea varietal as well. British colonial rule ended in the 1940s 1940s, but ''chai'' remains a big deal, especially in the famous Assam and Darjeeling growing regions.

India is the big consumer in the region, but its neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh also enjoy various styles of chai. Pakistan in particular likes the varieties from Kashmir (a region disputed between India and Pakistan).

'''How They Drink It:''' British-style Like the British, they drink it with milk (although unlike the UK and sugar. Unlike Britain (and rather like Hong Kong, the milk is Kong), they more often than not use evaporated milk) milk. Also unlike Britain, Indians make tea by boiling everything -- tea, milk, and sugar, and sugar -- all together in a variety of one pot. Also, there are several Indian preperations preparations involving various combinations of spices and herbs. Of those, herbs.
* The best known is
''masala chai'' is the best known, including chai'', which includes black tea and a variety of spices among which spices; cardamom, ginger ginger, and sometimes black pepper feature prominantly, but there's also ''kahwah'', prominently.
* ''Kahwah'' is
green tea with almonds and spices originating in spices; it originates from the Kashmir region, and ''noon region.
* ''Noon
chai'', also from Kashmir, featuring has cardamom, pistachio, a pinch of salt salt, and a pink color produced by adding baking soda. However it's mixed, the Indian customs differ from the British in that they make tea by boiling everything - milk, tea and sugar - in the same pot. (An exception: soda, which turns it pink.
*
Darjeeling tea, though called the "champagne of teas", is one of the highest-quality teas you can find. As such, it's ''not'' made with milk and sugar; in its pure form, it needs no alterations. Although sold as black, actually black tea, it tends to be less oxidized and oxidized, making it technically an oolong. This "champagne of teas" in its pure form needs no adulterations; do note however that a lot of what is sold as Be careful, though; most cheap "Darjeeling tea", especially cheap stuff, tea" is either not actually from Darjeeling or blended with a lot of cheaper tea.)

the genuine article.
* Roadside ''Kadak'' tea vendors (literally "hard" tea) is popularly made by roadside tea vendors, called chai wallahs line many "chai wallahs", who are ubiquitous on Indian streets. Since roadside tea stalls are limited in the number of To save on utensils they can use, the vendor usually uses and materials, chai wallahs will just one pot to make lots of cups. He starts all the tea in a big pot, and starts vending the tea. When the supply becomes low, he simply adds more adding water, sugar, tea tea, and milk into the pot. He keeps on adjusting the ingredients as he goes they go along while using (and conveniently needed to use less tea with each subsequent batch) until they get the color of the tea as a guide to tell him when the tea is "done". This has an added advantage for the chai wallah because the batches after the first one require less tea. This style of tea is called Kadak (literally "hard") because the they want. The end result is generally stronger. A lot of people who are used to drinking Kadak chai mimic this stronger than usual. People also replicate it by slow boiling slow-boiling the tea after adding the milk.
* Most of India's neighbor countries including Pakistan
milk.

!!The United States
and Bangladesh, also enjoy the various chai styles. The Kashmiri-origin teas Americas

Let's face it; the U.S. is primarily a coffee culture. Despite being British at one time, Americans abandoned tea because coffee was more easily available
in particular are also popular in Pakistan (which claims all of Kashmir and has ''de facto'' control over a substantial chunk of it).


!!USA and The Americas
Central America (and [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution they were more enamored with the French at the time anyway]]). It used to be the case that finding a good cup of tea in the USA U.S. was an uncertain proposition. Despite being ex-British citizens proposition, but things are changing.

Tea in America is often associated with the "Boston Tea Party", an event which took place before the clean break with Britain. Bostonians were just as big on tea as Londoners, but it was hard to get back then; much of it was smuggled in to avoid heavy import duties, which Parliament largely levied on the colonies without their permission. Ironically, the Tea Party itself -- a protest where an entire shipment of tea was thrown into Boston Harbor -- came as a result of a tax ''decrease'', which cut into the smugglers' profit margin. [[SeriousBusiness The pissed-off British]] responded with the "Intolerable Acts", and
[[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution their fondness for French and other continental European cultures after their break-up]] and access to relatively cheap coffee in Central and South America eventually cemented the USA's status as a coffee culture. (The rest is history]].

Some tea culture has been around all along, just in small doses. The
upper class still drank in the Northeast, especially New York, tended to drink British-style black tea, though, especially in the Northeast and New York.) The accidental invention of the tea bag by tea. Then a New Yorker accidentally invented the tea bag in 1907 didn't help any, ensuring this 1907, after which it became such a big deal that it was the only form kind of tea most Americans would ever see on grocery store shelves.

But while the US is a coffee culture,
you'd find in an American store. [[TheDeepSouth the The South]] is has also had a long-running tea culture, very fond but with its own variety of iced sweet tea.

Starting in TheNineties,
tea -- a ''very'' sweet preparation, brewed with sugar added culture finally started to the pot, which is borderline undrinkable if you weren't born to it (and sometimes even if you were; it can have twice as much sugar as Coca-Cola). Southern sweet tea was originally made with green tea, but supplies of green tea were cut take off in the 1930s and '40s due to Japan's war in China. Black States. Loose-leaf tea from India, Tanganyika, and the Caribbean remained available, so the South switched to that, and has never switched back; perhaps sweet green tea was a little ''too'' sweet.

Fortunately for tea lovers, the US is [[PopularityPolynomial coming back around to tea]]. Since 1990, both the North and the South have seen green and oolong teas becoming much more widely available. Coffee shops have
started serving full-leaf tea, to appear, albeit mostly limited to specialty stores and some tea shops, but you're also now seeing experimental brands of premium tea have been introduced -- especially tea, like Tazo. Specialty tea retail is a growing business, especially in newly-gentrified parts of major cities. (You can find British tourists remain unimpressed, and Irish brands, but it's better than the previous situation; they might tend to be well advised significantly marked up.) You're even starting to visit see more electric kettles like in Britain. Asian tea varieties are also making an appearance, meaning that for British visitors, their best bet at finding tea they'd actually be impressed with would be in a Chinese and or Japanese restaurants, which have long been good places for oolong restaurant.

Canada, being a [[CanadaEh rather cold place]], sees a lot of hot beverage consumption. Like the States, the allure of cheap coffee turned the country into a coffee country. Tea is most common among the First Nations, who in earlier generations were largely supplied by the then-British Hudson's Bay Company. These days, tea is seeing a revival in Canada like in the States,
and green loose-leaf tea respectively.

is starting to make serious inroads, but mostly you'll store-bought varieties or stuff you can get from ubiquitous coffee chains like Tim Horton's.

'''How They Drink It''': Iced It:'''
* Hot
tea is infinitely more common than hot; this is as true of the North as it is of the South. Lemon is quite commonly added (iced tea will often be served with a wedge of lemon put in, and most restaurants will provide more lemon for the asking), but you can live your whole life in the US without seeing someone add milk or cream to iced tea -- even though many Northerners will readily drink iced coffee with milk. Many restaurants offer fruit syrups as additives to tea; a few regions mix fresh or frozen fruit pulp with iced tea. Lately, a drink called the Arnold Palmer (named for the golfer; also called Half and Half), half iced tea and half lemonade, has been coming to prominence in parts of the country; it's rare in the South, though.

Where hot tea is drunk, it's
normally sweetened to taste; this is true even in taste throughout the North. country. Milk and cream are is rare though, even in hot tea, perhaps for fear of tea; Americans prefer lemon instead. It might be a panic over kidney stones; lemon is as common with hot stones.
* Southern-style sweet
tea as with iced.

Boston, which has long preserved a tea culture even though
is very much an acquired taste, largely because it's also ''very'' sweet. It's made by brewing the cradle of Dunkin' Doughnuts (which is better known in Boston for its coffee), has a very interesting custom: [[BlatantLies old Boston families sometimes brew tea with saltwater]], [[TheAmericanRevolution preferably from Boston Harbor.]]

* The American Revolution was set off, in large part, by tea. After spending a vast amount of money
sugar added to conquer the rest of eastern North America pot, resulting in a concoction that can have twice as much sugar as Coca-Cola. Lemon is commonly added as well. Iced tea is common elsewhere in the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War country, but it's nowhere near as sweet as the Southern variety. Within the South, there's some debate as to whether you add the sugar when the tea is hot or cold (the latter slightly caramelizes the sugar for flavor). Despite being in the United States), thereby securing the borders of the Thirteen Colonies, Parliament started taxing the colonies to recoup the costs of the war -- without the colonies' approval. The colonists had long had a great deal of autonomy, including the rights to set their own taxes and pass their own laws; and besides, they saw themselves as Englishmen. (This is because they mostly were Englishmen; ''Albion's Seed'' describes how the Northeast is essentially Essex, Virginia and the Deep South are basically itself, New Orleans (borrowing from Cajun culture) drinks its tea like the West Riding, Pennsylvania is Yorkshire -- especially the Quakers of that region -- and Appalachia is the Scots Border, which also gave TheTroubles North, much to the world.consternation of other Southerners passing through town. (Southerner [[Series/GoodEats Alton Brown]] was truly stunned when he found this out firsthand in his ''Feasting on Asphalt'' series.)
** * The last straw for Massachusetts, where the American Revolution began, wasn't the imposition of a new tax but the ''lowering'' of an existing one. The British East India Company was given monopoly rights to import tea to Boston, basically duty-free; this meant that the EIC could sell legal tea cheaper than Boston's merchant-smuggler families could sell the illegal kind. But most Americans bought tea from the smugglers, and didn't know what the real price of tea was (before surcharges for smuggling or tax); so the smugglers dressed up as very unconvincing American Indians, threw the legal tea into the harbor, and told everyone else that they were protesting a tax ''increase''. The British followed with the Intolerable Acts; the rest of the country rallied to Massachusetts' cause, knowing that if they lost their privileges the other colonies would be next; and then the British decided to seize the arsenal at Concord, Massachusetts, and at this point the American Revolution was on.
** During the Revolution, it became common (only in the North?) to give up tea in favor of coffee, as a sign of defiance towards the British government; after the WarOf1812 -- two wars with Britain in two generations -- this habit stuck. This must have been frustrating
"Arnold Palmer", named for the tea smugglers who started the whole thing; but then, there were many other businesses that they could go into now that the British had previously monopolized.
* Several towns in New England used to use to choose their new ministers by looking at how they drank their tea; a candidate was too passionate for the job if he took his tea with both milk and sugar.
* Foreign countries (including the North) are hell for a Southerner used to drinking iced sweet tea. On the other hand, Northerners are often put off by the amount of sugar in Southern sweet tea (one recipe that makes a sweet tea that
golfer, is in the mid-range of sweetness calls for a 1:8 ratio of sugar to water), and usually prefer their sweetened iced tea to be unsweetened or fruit-sweetened.
** In
variety found outside the South sweet tea which is very SeriousBusiness. The Georgia House of Representatives put forward a bill making it a misdemeanor to sell tea without the option of sweet tea in restaurants. This was an April Fools joke, but they fooled quite a few people.
** Sweet tea is a point of contention between the South and New Orleans, a Southern city with French (Cajun) and generally cosmopolitan culture. New Orleans brews its tea like the North -- brewing unsweetened and perhaps adding sweeteners to taste -- but traditional Southern drinkers insist that sugar ''must'' be brewed with the tea. Since it's SeriousBusiness as noted, dining venues along major tourist routes come under a lot of pressure to provide tea brewed sweet. (When Southerner [[Series/GoodEats Alton Brown]] rode through New Orleans for his ''Feasting On Asphalt'' docu-series, this was a source of considerable astonishment.)
** Serious business indeed: this space used to contain the accounts of Southern Tropers arguing over how to add the sugar to sweet tea - whether to add it while the tea was hot (claiming it added flavor from the sugar slightly caramelizing), or as sugar syrup when cold.
** Tea and sugar brewed together can be
made sweeter than of equal parts iced tea with sugar added later, due to supersaturation. Sugar doesn't dissolve well in tea after it's been iced, either—there's nothing quite like the shock of having wet sugar granules slide in your mouth as you take your final swig.
** Sweet tea has gone mainstream in recent years, appearing on restaurant menus
and in grocery stores. Both the North and the South ''do'' like a lot of sugar in most foods...
lemonade.
* Masala chai chai, as described above, is becoming increasingly popular in urban areas, areas as a comfort-drink alternative to hot chocolate and or caffe latte. It's In the States, it's usually made with a concentrated tea-and-spice syrup (or sometimes a powder, like hot chocolate), and so chocolate). As such, it tends to be sweeter and a bit heavier than the Indian original.
* British and Irish-style teas are readily available in many parts of the country, but often at a jaw-dropping premium (especially for Irish brands like Barrys). Twinings and Tetley's are two brands that are widely available without being extortionately priced, although Tetley's "British blend" (their flagship product) is a little harder to find; their American blend is lighter, more ice-friendly.
* You might expect that Canada, being where all the Loyalists went after 1776 and priding itself on its continued loyalty to the Crown to this day, would be emphatically British-style tea country, but you'd be wrong; social identity is one thing, cheap American coffee is something else, and so Canada is at least as coffee crazy as its southern neighbour. Still, while coffee is king in Canada to the point of being SeriousBusiness, First Nations tend to serve and drink (hot) tea much more than the rest of Canada. This is probably due to the fact that in earlier generations the main supplier of goods to most Reserves was the (then-)British owned and operated Hudson's Bay Company.[[note]]The Hudson's Bay Company still exists today, but it's a Canadian corporation with HQ in Toronto and owns department stores. Canadians know this, but Americans might not--Saks Fifth Avenue? That's HBC.[[/note]]
** You'd be surprised how, much like the United States (above), tea is becoming increasingly popular in many parts of Canada. This is helped by the fact that, thanks to Tim Hortons (a famous chain of coffee shops and Canada's cultural equivalent to America's [=McDonald's=]), you can now get almost any kind of coffee, latte, cappuccino, and... yes... tea under the sun. This includes an entire assortment of bagged teas (such as Black Tea, Green Tea, and any flavour from Earl Grey to English Breakfast to Chai), as well as Steeped Tea. Much like Australians and upper-class Americans, there are a great many "English" Canadians who enjoy their tea ''almost'' as much as the First Nations or South Asian immigrants. Coffee, however, is still the single most-bought hot beverage, although Hot Chocolate is somewhat popular (especially in mid-winter).
*** Iced Tea is also present in Canada, although almost exclusively from Nestle and Brisk. It's almost always sweetened; it's almost never sweetened as much as it is in the American South. Diet Iced Tea -- an idea unknown in the South -- is also available.
** UsefulNotes/McDonalds [=McCafe=] is also in on the tea business in Canada, serving a full array of hot teas (Orange Pekoe black tea, Earl Grey, Peppermint, and Green tea) - which generally isn't the case in the US.
** It must also be noted that Canadians drink significantly more coffee than Americans (6.5 kg/person/year vs. 4.2), but also drink more tea (0.4 kg/person/year vs. 0.3 in the US, Britain is 2.7, Ireland is 3.2, and Morocco is 4.3). It gets ''really'' cold in Canada.
* People who bother to drink tea in North America at all will most likely make it from tea bags, as that's all that's available on most grocery store shelves. There are a number of small companies selling loose-leaf tea by mail order for serious tea aficionados. That said, specialty tea stores, such as David's Tea and Teavana are expanding now so that in any major urban area of Canada and the U.S. you are guaranteed to find around half a dozen stores. There is even one in Toronto's international airport. You can also find loose leaf tea in the better grocery stores with a bulk natural foods section.
* Owing to the growing popularity of tea stateside, electric kettles are now easily available at "big box" stores in the U.S.; but, as previously mentioned, they're not nearly as powerful as their British counterparts. They're still handy, as they don't tie up the stove and they shut off automatically when they're done boiling for safety.
*
Green tea is largely seen as a "hipster" drink, being the "authentic" high-quality Asian tea. Not being all ''that'' concerned with authenticity, you'll also see green tea lattes in coffee shops. Green tea is also becoming popular in the U.S. as a health food, particularly among women. Coffee shops also have green tea lattes available. Matcha is also popular among urban hipsters.
food.



The Mongols' conquest of the Kievan Rus and annexation of its former territories in the middle ages brought Steppe and, by extension, other Asian cultures to Ukraine and Russia in a very direct and incredibly bloody way. However, tea was not part of this, since the Mongols themselves had no regard for it at the time. (Recall how Marco Polo spent ten years as a governor for the Mongols in China and never laid eyes on a pot of tea.) The Yuan Dynasty (the Mongol khanate in China) did come to favour tea, as the Yuan Mongols adopted Chinese culture; but Russia had no contact with the Yuan, and the other Mongols, who weren't ruling over Chinese subjects, didn't become Sinified.

From early on, but particularly after Russia defeated the Golden Horde in the 16th century, Russian trappers and traders, sort of supported by the state (think of the Wild West in American history), expanded into Siberia with forts and trade outposts; they were looking for many things in Siberia, but mostly for fur. (In an age when cloth was hard to produce and not particularly warm, fur was very big business: not much more expensive than the alternative, and much more practical. Recall the similar importance of fur traders in British and French expansion in North America.)

In the 17th century, fur-trapping in Siberia led to Russian contact with China: specifically with the Manchus of the Qing Dynasty, who had overthrown the native Ming, who had overthrown the Yuan Mongols. This was initially hostile but low-key, as both countries' fur-trapping desperados skirmished along the frontier; pitched battles between Russian and Chinese troops over control of the northern part of the Amur River basin led to the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, written in Latin because it was the only language that members of both courts spoke. (Latin was the language of learning in all of Europe at the time; and the Qing had Jesuit missionaries who knew Latin and had learned Manchurian and Chinese.)

With peace came trade, and therefore tea. By the early 1800s, tea was an institution in Russia; by 1915, Russia was buying 65% of China's tea culture; today, tea can be fairly called Russia's national beverage, even more than [[VodkaDrunkenski vodka]]. Russia today consumes the third most tea per capita in Europe (the most heavily tea-drinking country being Ireland, then the United Kingdom); but it consumes it in a very distinctive way, and the path to tea adoption was a rocky one.

Tea first appeared in Russia in the early 17th century, given as a gift to the embassy of the Tsar Mikhail I. The ambassador didn't like it, and actually didn't even present it to the Tsar for fear of angering him. The second attempt, now by the Qing embassy to Mikhail's son Alexei I, was more successful, and the court loved the drink; but for most of the 17th century it was an expensive import, available only to the nobility. (The typical tea caravan required three years to make the round trip from Moscow to Peking, trading Russian furs for Chinese tea.) It didn't help that Peter the Great, Alexei's son, didn't care for the drink (associating it with Moscow, which he hated) and was an avid coffee fan (coffee was all the rage in 17th-century Western Europe, and Peter wanted Russia to be more Western); nor did competition from Russia's traditional warm drink — sbiten', [[labelnote:*]]сбитень in Cyrillic[[/labelnote]] a hot herbal brew sweetened with honey and/or jam.[[note]]Incidentally, sbiten' may be prepared with wine rather than water to produce Russia's answer to mulled wine. It's considered to be more festive than the water-based sbiten'.[[/note]]

But tea consumption never quite went away; with increasing trade with the Qing, it became steadily more affordable -- at first because more tea caravans were being sent to China; then, much later, because of the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. (But railroad-hauled tea wasn't quite as flavorful as camel-hauled, and attempts started to be made to reproduce the old-fashioned tea's flavor. Today, Twining's makes "Russian Caravan" tea out of a mix of dried and smoked tea leaves.) Urban merchants and artisans appreciated tea's stimulating properties, and soon started drinking it instead of sbiten'; but they developed a unique way of drinking tea, heavily based on sbiten'-drinking. Russian tea is brewed very strong in a small pot; drinkers dilute the tea concentrate to taste with hot water (traditionally from a large ''samovar''), and add lemon and/or sweeteners to taste -- typically jam or honey instead of sugar.

By the 19th century, tea was ''the'' drink of Russia's urban classes -- even of soldiers. (Russian soldiers even took samovars into the Caucasus Mountains on donkey-back during the war with Imam Shamyl.) Coffee was a drink of the rich, more expensive than tea and more time-consuming to prepare.

In [[RomanovsAndRevolutions the Russian Civil War]], tea contributed to the Red (Communist) victory: the Red Army captured the tsars' enormous tea stockpiles, started issuing the tea to their soldiers, and banned alcohol. Tea-drinking gave the Red Army better discipline and better health, and protected them from typhoid fever (which was a plague throughout Russia during the Civil War). The decision was easier to make because most of the distilleries for vodka -- and most of Russia's surplus grain and potatoes, needed for distilling it -- were in the areas controlled by the Whites (semi-traditionalist authoritarians, comparable to Chiang Kai-Shek or maybe Franco on one of Franco's better days); and the presence of vodka in White territory did nothing to help the White military cause.

During World War II, the Soviets regarded tea almost as highly as the British did; they classed it as a strategic material, on the level of [[SeriousBusiness vodka]] [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers and diesel]].

The Sino-Soviet split shifted the focus of Russian tea imports from China, with which relations had soured, to India, which became a strategic Russian ally, but it didn't change the nation's obsession with the drink. Nowadays Chinese imports have resumed, and appreciation of tea's finer points soared to unseen heights. It is therefore safe to say that it will continue to be a staple drink in the years to come.

'''How They Drink It''': Hot and and often sweet, usually black but sometimes oolong. Old Russian teas often had a smoky taste because the teas exported to the central Asian 'barbarian' countries were invariably of very low quality (because such uncivilized louts couldn't appreciate 'proper tea'), making 'smoking' it a necessary expedient to increase its drinkability. The quality of tea exported to central Asia improved over time but the great bulk of it was still smoked because that's what they were used to and preferred (or because it blended with a smoked tea such as ''lapsang souchong''). But perhaps thanks to the disruption caused by the Sino-Soviet split such blends are now rare, with most modern Russian teas coming from Assam, Darjeeling or Ceylon. There is small local production in the south parts of the country, and Krasnodar's tea plantations are the northernmost in the world.

The most common time of the day for tea is either morning or the late afternoon; but people drink it whenever they fancy, and a teapot is a hallowed accessory in any Soviet or Russian office, to be used during even the smallest break and vigilantly protected against fire inspectors. Tea follows every meal in copious quantities, and the type of tea drunk carries strong social connotations. In the 19th century, even the Tsar and the upper class drank sweet tea; but today, the working class takes its tea dark, strong, and sweet (for its supportive properties, like British builder's tea), while the sophisticated opt for more delicate blends, usually unsweetened.

Green tea is drunk by Central Asian migrant laborers, who drink cheap pressed "brick tea", and by refined intellectuals who import Chinese or Japanese luxury blends. Milk tea is known, but not nearly as popular as in Britain; and there's even alcoholic tea, "Admiral's Tea", which is technically a type of grog: strong, sweet tea, lemon, and rum, gin, or vodka.

Guests are served tea, no matter how uninvited or unwelcome they might be. To serve weak tea to a guest is an insult to the host: a sign of poor hospitality.

Unless it's being taken with a meal, tea is accompanied by "tea stuff": cake, pastries, biscuits, and other baked goods and confectionery, which serve as a light meal like British high tea.

Traditional Russian black tea is brewed in advance, as a tea concentrate called "zavarka"; this is allowed to sit on the leaves indefinitely, and is poured and diluted by each drinker to taste. This makes for a lot of very strong tea from a small amount of tea leaves, but adds bitterness which honey or jam can offset; it also gives drinkers a lot of freedom to match their tea to their preferences.

Traditional Russian tea culture centered around the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samovar Samovar]]: a communal hot-water urn, often lavishly decorated and frequently made of silver; a pot of ''zavarka'' sat on top of the samovar to keep warm, and drinkers took zavarka from the pot, then hot water from the samovar. Today, urban households use a teapot for ''zavarka'' and a tea-kettle for hot water, but the rest of traditional tea-drinking persists, and automated hot-water dispensers, imported from Japan and often seen in eastern Russia, suggest that the samovar is making a comeback.

The old-fashioned way of sweetening tea was to add raspberry or blackcurrant jam; today, sugar or honey is more common. One can also combine bitter tea with cakes or cookies, or hold a nut of candy or sugar in the mouth. (This practice, which can also be found in China, probably started out as a Persian custom; to compensate, the Persians like strong, smokey tea in the traditional Russian style.) Traditional Russian lemon tea contains much more lemon juice than Western types, and is often made with candied lemons or lemon jam.

* In Russian prisons, [[KlatchianCoffee incredibly strong tea]], called ''Chifir'', is used as a substitute for alcohol and drugs. Solzhenitsyn gives a recipe of one matchbox full of powdered tea per drinker. This is a really good way to destroy your kidneys, or to die outright; ''chifir'' is often strong enough to cause caffeine poisoning.
* During the Russian Civil War, the Reds started out with the cold and unproductive northwestern parts of the Russian Empire, while the Whites had the Ukraine, the Caucasus, and other warm, fertile agricultural regions. But this meant that the Reds controlled much of the country's heavy industry... and ''all'' of its tea supplies. The Reds distributed the tea generously, and instituted a strict dry law, which was easy to enforce since they were pretty short on food. The Whites, meanwhile, had a huge surplus of grain and virtually no tea, and were plagued by {{MilitaryMoonshiner}}s from the beginning of the war to the end.
* More than you could possibly ever want to know about the SeriousBusiness of Russian tea can be found in the [[https://web.archive.org/web/20150108191719/http://nagydani.felhasznalo.fazekas.hu/rth/Russian-tea-HOWTO-v2.html Russian Tea HOWTO]], which not only describes the perfect cup of Russian tea in excruciating detail, but (as might be expected from a document written for Linux geeks) goes so far as to suggest sweetening your tea with glucose because it's better brain food than regular sucrose.

to:

The Mongols' conquest of the Kievan Rus and annexation of its former territories in the middle ages brought Steppe and, by extension, other Asian cultures Tea first came to Ukraine and Russia in a very direct and incredibly bloody way. However, tea was not part of this, since the Mongols themselves had no regard for it at the time. (Recall how Marco Polo spent ten years as a governor for the Mongols in China and never laid eyes on a pot of tea.) The Yuan Dynasty (the Mongol khanate in China) did come to favour tea, as the Yuan Mongols adopted Chinese culture; but Russia had no contact with the Yuan, and the other Mongols, who weren't ruling over Chinese subjects, didn't become Sinified.

From early on, but particularly after Russia defeated the Golden Horde in the 16th century, Russian trappers and traders, sort of supported by the state (think of the Wild West in American history), expanded into
through Siberia with forts and trade outposts; they were looking for many things in Siberia, but mostly for fur. (In an age when cloth was hard to produce and not particularly warm, fur was very big business: not much more expensive than the alternative, and much more practical. Recall the similar importance of fur traders in British and French expansion in North America.)

In
the 17th century, fur-trapping as fur trappers in Siberia led to Russian made contact with China: specifically Qing Dynasty China. (Previous contact was largely with the Manchus of the Qing Dynasty, Mongols, who had overthrown the native Ming, who had overthrown the Yuan Mongols. This was initially were largely hostile but low-key, as both countries' fur-trapping desperados skirmished along the frontier; pitched battles between Russian and Chinese troops over control of the northern part of the Amur River basin led to the Treaty Russians and not interested in tea.) The Qing embassy gave a gift of Nerchinsk in 1689, written in Latin because tea to Tsar Alexei I; he and his court loved it, but it still took a while to make inroads. Alexei's son UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat didn't like it (wanting to do all things Western European, he preferred coffee), and there was the already a popular traditional warm drink called ''sbiten''', a hot herbal brew sweetened with honey or jam. Even after tea became more popular, sbiten' brewing techniques would often be ported over to making tea.

Tea
only language that members of both courts spoke. (Latin was spread out from the language of learning in all of Europe at Imperial court to the time; general populace as caravans to China became more frequent and the Qing had Jesuit missionaries who knew Latin and had learned Manchurian and Chinese.)

With peace came trade, and therefore tea.
tea became cheaper. By the early 1800s, tea it was an institution in Russia; by 1915, Russia was buying 65% of China's the tea culture; produced in China; today, tea it can be fairly be called Russia's national beverage, even more so than [[VodkaDrunkenski vodka]]. Russia today consumes the third most tea per capita in Europe (the most heavily tea-drinking country being Ireland, then Europe, behind only tea-crazy Ireland and the United Kingdom); but it consumes it in a very distinctive way, and the path to tea adoption was a rocky one.

Tea first appeared in Russia in the early 17th century, given as a gift to the embassy of the Tsar Mikhail I. The ambassador didn't like it, and actually didn't
Kingdom. There's even present it to the Tsar for fear of angering him. The second attempt, now by the Qing embassy to Mikhail's son Alexei I, was more successful, and the court loved the drink; but for most of the 17th century it was an expensive import, available only to the nobility. (The typical tea caravan required three years to make the round trip from Moscow to Peking, trading Russian furs for Chinese tea.) It didn't help that Peter the Great, Alexei's son, didn't care for the drink (associating it with Moscow, which he hated) and was an avid coffee fan (coffee was all the rage in 17th-century Western Europe, and Peter wanted Russia to be more Western); nor did competition from Russia's traditional warm drink — sbiten', [[labelnote:*]]сбитень in Cyrillic[[/labelnote]] a hot herbal brew sweetened with honey and/or jam.[[note]]Incidentally, sbiten' may be prepared with wine rather than water to produce Russia's answer to mulled wine. It's considered to be more festive than the water-based sbiten'.[[/note]]

But tea consumption never quite went away; with increasing trade with the Qing, it became steadily more affordable -- at first because more tea caravans were being sent to China; then, much later, because of the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. (But railroad-hauled tea wasn't quite as flavorful as camel-hauled, and attempts started to be made to reproduce the old-fashioned tea's flavor. Today, Twining's makes "Russian Caravan" tea out of a mix of dried and smoked tea leaves.) Urban merchants and artisans appreciated tea's stimulating properties, and soon started drinking it instead of sbiten'; but they developed a unique way of drinking tea, heavily based on sbiten'-drinking. Russian tea is brewed very strong in a small pot; drinkers dilute the tea concentrate to taste with hot water (traditionally from a large ''samovar''), and add lemon and/or sweeteners to taste -- typically jam or honey instead of sugar.

By the 19th century, tea was ''the'' drink of Russia's urban classes -- even of soldiers. (Russian soldiers even took samovars into the Caucasus Mountains on donkey-back during the war with Imam Shamyl.) Coffee was a drink of the rich, more expensive than tea and more time-consuming to prepare.

In [[RomanovsAndRevolutions the Russian Civil War]], tea contributed to the Red (Communist) victory: the Red Army captured the tsars' enormous tea stockpiles, started issuing the tea to their soldiers, and banned alcohol. Tea-drinking gave the Red Army better discipline and better health, and protected them from typhoid fever (which was a plague throughout Russia during the Civil War). The decision was easier to make because most of the distilleries for vodka -- and most of Russia's surplus grain and potatoes, needed for distilling it -- were in the areas controlled by the Whites (semi-traditionalist authoritarians, comparable to Chiang Kai-Shek or maybe Franco on one of Franco's better days); and the presence of vodka in White territory did nothing to help the White military cause.

During World War II, the Soviets regarded tea almost as highly as the British did; they classed it as a strategic material, on the level of [[SeriousBusiness vodka]] [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers and diesel]].

The Sino-Soviet split shifted the focus of Russian tea imports from China, with which relations had soured, to India, which became a strategic Russian ally, but it didn't change the nation's obsession with the drink. Nowadays Chinese imports have resumed, and appreciation of tea's finer points soared to unseen heights. It is therefore safe to say that it will continue to be a staple drink in the years to come.

'''How They Drink It''': Hot and and often sweet, usually black but sometimes oolong. Old Russian teas often had a smoky taste because the teas exported to the central Asian 'barbarian' countries were invariably of very low quality (because such uncivilized louts couldn't appreciate 'proper tea'), making 'smoking' it a necessary expedient to increase its drinkability. The quality of tea exported to central Asia improved over time but the great bulk of it was still smoked because that's what they were used to and preferred (or because it blended with a smoked tea such as ''lapsang souchong''). But perhaps thanks to the disruption caused by the Sino-Soviet split such blends are now rare, with most modern Russian teas coming from Assam, Darjeeling or Ceylon. There is small local production in the south parts of the country, and Krasnodar's tea plantations are the northernmost in the world.

The most common time of the day for tea is either morning or the late afternoon; but people drink it whenever they fancy, and a teapot is a hallowed accessory in any Soviet or Russian office, to be used during even the smallest break and vigilantly protected against fire inspectors. Tea follows every meal in copious quantities, and the type of tea drunk carries strong social connotations. In the 19th century, even the Tsar and the upper class drank sweet tea; but today, the working class takes its tea dark, strong, and sweet (for its supportive properties, like British builder's tea), while the sophisticated opt for more delicate blends, usually unsweetened.

Green tea is drunk by Central Asian migrant laborers, who drink cheap pressed "brick tea", and by refined intellectuals who import Chinese or Japanese luxury blends. Milk tea is known, but not nearly as popular as in Britain; and there's even alcoholic tea, "Admiral's Tea", which is technically a type of grog: strong, sweet tea, lemon, and rum, gin, or vodka.

Guests are served tea, no matter how uninvited or unwelcome they might be. To serve weak tea to a guest is an insult to the host: a sign of poor hospitality.

Unless it's being taken with a meal, tea is accompanied by "tea stuff": cake, pastries, biscuits, and other baked goods and confectionery, which serve as a light meal like British high tea.

Traditional Russian black tea is brewed in advance, as a tea concentrate called "zavarka"; this is allowed to sit on the leaves indefinitely, and is poured and diluted by each drinker to taste. This makes for a lot of very strong tea from a small amount of tea leaves, but adds bitterness which honey or jam can offset; it also gives drinkers a lot of freedom to match their tea to their preferences.

Traditional Russian tea culture centered around the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samovar Samovar]]: a communal hot-water urn, often lavishly decorated and frequently made of silver; a pot of ''zavarka'' sat on top of the samovar to keep warm, and drinkers took zavarka from the pot, then hot water from the samovar. Today, urban households use a teapot for ''zavarka'' and a tea-kettle for hot water, but the rest of traditional tea-drinking persists, and automated hot-water dispensers, imported from Japan and often seen in eastern Russia, suggest that the samovar is making a comeback.

The old-fashioned way of sweetening tea was to add raspberry or blackcurrant jam; today, sugar or honey is more common. One can also combine bitter tea with cakes or cookies, or hold a nut of candy or sugar in the mouth. (This practice, which can also be found in China, probably started out as a Persian custom; to compensate, the Persians like strong, smokey tea in the traditional Russian style.) Traditional Russian lemon tea contains much more lemon juice than Western types, and is often made with candied lemons or lemon jam.

* In Russian prisons, [[KlatchianCoffee incredibly strong tea]], called ''Chifir'', is used as a substitute for alcohol and drugs. Solzhenitsyn gives a recipe of one matchbox full of powdered tea per drinker. This is a really good way to destroy your kidneys, or to die outright; ''chifir'' is often strong enough to cause caffeine poisoning.
* During the Russian Civil War, the Reds started out with the cold and unproductive northwestern parts of the Russian Empire, while the Whites had the Ukraine, the Caucasus, and other warm, fertile agricultural regions. But this meant that the Reds controlled much of the country's heavy industry... and ''all'' of its tea supplies. The Reds distributed the tea generously, and instituted a strict dry law, which was easy to enforce since they were pretty short on food. The Whites, meanwhile, had a huge surplus of grain and virtually no tea, and were plagued by {{MilitaryMoonshiner}}s from the beginning of the war to the end.
* More than you could possibly ever want to know about the SeriousBusiness of Russian tea can be found in the
[[https://web.archive.org/web/20150108191719/http://nagydani.felhasznalo.fazekas.hu/rth/Russian-tea-HOWTO-v2.html Russian Tea HOWTO]], in which not only describes Linux geeks codify the perfect cup of Russian tea in excruciating detail, detail.

The theme of tea-drinking coinciding with better health applies to Russia, too. During [[UsefulNotes/RomanovsAndRevolutions the Russian Civil War]], the Red Army insisted on tea instead of alcohol (not least of which because the Whites controlled most of the vodka distilleries anyway), which helped them avoid typhoid and gave them an advantage. It was also rationed and distributed during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII with the same care as the British.

'''How They Drink It:'''
* Russian tea is hot and often sweet, usually black,
but (as might be expected sometimes oolong.
** Older Russian teas often had a smoky taste; the tea they could get
from central Asia usually wasn't high-quality, so "smoking" it like ''lapsang souchong'' was necessary to make it taste good. Russians developed a document written taste for Linux geeks) goes so far as it and kept doing it even when they didn't have to. These teas got much harder to suggest get after the Sino-Soviet split; now, most Russian tea comes from India (with a little domestic production in Krasnodar, in the extreme south of the country but still one of the northernmost tea-producing parts of the world).
** Like the British, there's a class distinction in tea. The upper class (including the Tsar when that was a thing) drank more delicate blends, but sweetened; more sophisticated drinkers preferred it unsweetened; and the working class preferred a strong, sweet concoction similar to "builder's tea".
** The traditional method of
sweetening tea was with raspberry or blackcurrant jam, similar to traditional sbiten'. Lemon tea is often made with lemon jam or candied lemons; this combined with a ''lot'' of juice creates a much stronger flavor than Western lemon tea. Sometimes, tea is sweetened by drinking it while holding candy or sugar in one's mouth (a practice borrowed from Persia). These days, though, sugar or honey is the most common sweetener.
** Green tea is popular among Central Asian migrant workers. They drink the pressed "brick tea" popular in the region.
** ''Chifir'' is an [[KlatchianCoffee incredibly strong]] variety made in Russian prisons. It's so strong as to cause caffeine poisoning, wreck
your tea with glucose because kidneys, or even kill you. It's accordingly drunk in relatively small quantities and used as a substitute for drugs.
* Tea is often drunk right after a meal; when it isn't
it's better brain food than regular sucrose.
usually accompanied by "tea stuff" -- the cakes, pastries, and biscuits that are a staple of British afternoon tea.
* Like in many other tea cultures, guests in Russia will always be served tea as a sign of SacredHospitality.
* Traditional Russian black tea is brewed in advance as a tea concentrate called ''zavarka''. This can sit on the leaves indefinitely and diluted to taste. It would sit on top of ''another'' pot of hot water, which was traditionally kept in a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samovar samovar]]. These would often be lavishly decorated; the modern equivalent, though, would be an imported Japanese automated hot water dispenser.



Tea is grown in parts of Africa such as Kenya, but it's mostly a cash crop for export; locals will drink a few cheaper blends, but it's not very culturally important. But tea matters intensely in the Islamic world, where it's as popular as coffee -- and where consuming alcohol is very strongly socially discouraged. (Alcohol is forbidden to all Muslims, as a matter of religious obligation. Historically, Muslim rulers permitted their Christian subjects to make wine for their own use, and tolerated rich Muslims buying wine covertly in Christian districts; today, alcohol is often legal but socially unwelcome, and sometimes outright illegal.)

'''How They Drink It''': Can be divided into three camps: Eastern, Western, and Southern.

* Eastern Camp: This includes Turkey, Lower (i.e. northern) Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Iran and the Gulf states minus Yemen (if you consider it Gulf) and parts of Saudi Arabia. Tea here is black; green tea arrived in the area only recently and is seen as a novelty or an aberration, depending on who's talking. Tea is prepared by pouring the boiling water over the tea leaves or powdered tea (depending on location, preference, and budget); mint or other herbs may be added. Sugar is added to taste after brewing; Middle Eastern tastes in tea run to the sweet, often as sweet as in the American South. Milk is not unknown, but also not common. In Iran and Turkey, tea is often left on a low fire or on top of a larger teapot or kettle to strengthen; this may be the result of Russian influence. Tea in this region is particularly important to SacredHospitality; as in Russia, it's always offered to anyone considered a guest. This rule includes the workplace; if you're in an office or shop, and have to sit down and talk for more than a few minutes to conduct your business, you can expect to be offered a cup.[[note]]Note the words ''sit down and talk''. If you go into a bank but only need to see a teller -- and so will be standing -- you won't be served tea, no matter how long your business takes. If you sit down with a banker to open a line of credit, tea. If you go into a shop to buy some loose tea, the shopkeeper will not serve you tea, even if you stay there for half an hour (at which point even the most indulgent shopkeeper will have kicked you out). If you go to a shop to sit down and negotiate a contract to ''sell'' the shop the loose tea it sells to consumers, you will be served tea, even if you're the shop's regular supplier, the contract is a mere formality, and the visit lasts less than 20 minutes. Poke your head into your professor's office to ask a question, no tea. Sit down to discuss it in more detail, tea.[[/note]] This makes tea bags a bit more common; they're quick and low-mess for workplace kitchens.
** The electric kettles of which the British are so fond are also ubiquitous in Egypt (apart from the many parts of the countryside that don't get reliable electricity). Fortunately for Egypt, televisions aren't nearly as common, so Egypt doesn't suffer from Britan's post-football-match electricity spikes; many if not most Egyptians watch football matches and other TV events in cafés -- which are a predominantly male domain and serve a social role equivalent to the British pub -- rather than in their own homes.
** The Egyptian government considers tea a strategic resource, and owns tea plantations in Sri Lanka and Kenya to ensure a steady supply. Serving tea to a visitor (at home and at work) is considered an [[SacredHospitality almost-sacred duty]] (they even call it ''wagib'', meaning..."duty").
*** Note that you can decline the offer and no-one will be offended. They may be a bit bewildered, but they won't be offended. Also, today they'll often also ask if you'd prefer instant coffee (inevitably called "[[BrandNameTakeover Nescafe]]"), bottled water, or "something cold", i.e. a soft drink; but the default is tea, and if they don't have the other things they will have tea.
** Turkey: Tea there - çay, pronounced like "chai" - is almost always a black tea called Rize tea (named after Rize, the northeastern province of Turkey where the tea is grown), which is drunk whenever the mood strikes. Almost all restaurants, cafes and coffee places (except at Stabucks and Kahve Dünyası, Istanbul's answer to Starbucks) will serve it in small tulip shaped glasses, and you can drink it straight up or with a sugar or two. It's not uncommon to see men with trays running around the streets and bazaars in the busier parts of town delivering tea to the shopkeepers, and chances are if you sit long enough in any shop someone's going to offer you a glass.
** The Russian "tea served with with sugar candy to bite on" is also very popular in UsefulNotes/{{Iran}}; Iranians tend to put a lump or cube of sugar in the mouth and drink unsweetened tea over it, leading to a distinct experience. Since Iran has had (cane) sugar for longer than anyone else but the Indians, the custom likely originated there and thence spread to Russia thanks to all manner of cultural contact from centuries of trade and wars in the Caucasus and Central Asia, to say nothing of the Russo-British competition for influence over the 19th-century Iranian court. The exchange was completed by the partial Iranian adoption of the aforementioned samovar for boiling water for tea. Iranian tea culture also involves something like Russian ''zavarka'' making, but not exactly; the brewed tea is left on the fire for a bit, but not nearly as long as in Russia or in even the Southern Camp.
* Southern Camp: Consisting of Upper (southern) Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen. Tea here is also black; instead of pouring boiling water over tea leaves, large quantities of leaves, and larger quantities of sugar, are put into the pot, and the mixture is boiled over a strong flame for at least five minutes (making this kind of tea a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoction decoction]] rather than an infusion -- even the Iranian and Turkish practice of leaving the tea heated doesn't do that). Foreigners -- probably even American Southerners who have served time in Russian prisons -- know the result as [[KlatchianCoffee "suicide tea"]]. Milk is a common addition here, because sometimes even the locals have to dilute the tea in order to not die of it. This recipe is best known for being drunk in Upper Egypt (thus the name "Saidi Tea"), but it was probably originally Bedouin; it's also found in Bedouin-influenced parts of the Maghreb.
* Western Camp: Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania. Here, green tea is preferred over black. According to one theory, some Barbary corsairs captured some Europeans en route from China, discovered green tea in the hold of their ship, and liked it so much that the preference stuck; another theory is that neither the Bedouin nor any other traders exported black tea into the Maghreb; but the probable reason for green tea's popularity here is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_War the Crimean War]]. Tea was unknown in the Maghreb until that conflict, when the British found themselves in possession of huge quantities of green tea that they could no longer export to the Russians. So, they tried selling it to the Moroccans, and the Moroccans loved it; they traditionally drank a mint tisane, and found that preparing this drink with a mix of mint and green tea leaves produced heavenly results: sweet, light on the tongue, and cool-tasting even when served hot, it pairs excellently with the heavy foods traditional in the Maghreb.
** Maghrebi tea is prepared in the same way as Bedouin-style suicide tea, but the result is far less dangerous: green tea has less caffeine than black, and fewer tea leaves are used to begin with (since the tea's a mix of tea and mint). Wormwood or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysia_citrodora lemon verbena]] is sometimes used instead of mint, or as an addition to it; but Maghrebi tea is always a mix of tea and one or more herbs.
** The Maghreb also has a variety of tea with milk: instead of brewing black tea with water and adding milk to it, they heat up milk, add black tea leaves to it, and add sugar to taste -- producing unique and very interesting results.
** The Moroccans are particularly devoted to mint tea. Educated Moroccans talking with other Arabic-speakers often use Moroccan Arabic "atay" for their tea, in contrast to Modern Standard Arabic "shay" for tea in general. Morocco even has a tea ceremony, not nearly as elaborate as Japan's but still distinctly elaborate; when tea is being served at home to an honored guest -- and so the ceremony is at its full height of sophistication -- one makes a great show of bringing in the trays bearing glasses, mint, tea, and sugar; taste-tests the tea halfway through boiling; and pours the tea, when it's ready, from a height of at least a meter, in order to mix and aerate it thoroughly. Moroccans will also go to great trouble to source high-quality water for their tea, traveling for miles to find pure, un-chlorinated, low-mineral water that won't impart any unpleasant flavors to the tea. They prefer tea that's a bit strong and ''very'' sweet, enough to surprise even other Maghrebi Arabs; there's an old Moroccan proverb that says, "Moroccans do not drink tea, they drink honey."
*** The ceremonial nature of tea in Morocco goes UpToEleven in the southern parts of of the country, which are mostly desert. Preparing and serving tea in the south can take as long as an hour and a half. The Japanese tea ceremony (the ''chaji'') can take as long as four hours, but then, the Japanese tea ceremony includes a four-course meal; this is an hour and a half for the tea alone.

to:

Tea is grown in parts of Africa such as Kenya, but it's mostly a cash crop for export; locals will drink a few cheaper blends, but it's not very culturally important. But tea matters intensely in the Islamic world, where it's as popular as coffee -- and where consuming alcohol is very strongly socially discouraged. (Alcohol is forbidden to all Muslims, as a matter of religious obligation. Historically, Muslim rulers permitted their Christian subjects to make wine for their own use, discouraged, and tolerated rich Muslims buying wine covertly in Christian districts; today, alcohol is often legal but socially unwelcome, and sometimes outright illegal.)

fact [[AgainstMyReligion totally prohibited]] in UsefulNotes/{{Islam}}.

'''How They Drink It''': Can It:''' The region can be divided into three camps: Eastern, Western, and Southern.

* Eastern Camp: This The '''Eastern camp''' includes Turkey, Lower (i.(''i.e. '' northern) Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Iran, the Gulf states minus Yemen (if you consider it Gulf) states, and parts of Saudi Arabia. Arabia.
**
Tea here is black; green tea arrived in the area only recently and is seen as either a novelty or an aberration, depending on who's talking. Tea is aberration. It's prepared by pouring the boiling water over the on tea leaves or powdered tea (depending on location, preference, and budget); tea, adding mint or other herbs may be added. Sugar is added herbs, and adding sugar to taste after brewing; brewing. Middle Eastern tastes in tea run tends to be on the sweet, often sweet side, sometimes as sweet as in the American South. Milk is not unknown, unknown but also not common. In still uncommon.
**
Iran and Turkey, Turkey borrow from the Russian ''samovar'' tradition and keep the tea is often left on a low fire or on top of a larger teapot or kettle of water to strengthen; this may be the result of Russian influence. Tea in this region strengthen it.
** Again, tea
is particularly important to SacredHospitality; as SacredHospitality in Russia, it's always the region. It's offered not only to anyone considered a guest. This rule includes houseguests, but also in the workplace; if you're in an office or shop, and have workplace for business meetings. Oddly, the threshold for when tea is offered is not how long the meeting lasts, but whether you would be expected to sit down and talk for more than a few minutes to conduct your business, you can expect to be offered a cup.[[note]]Note the words ''sit down and talk''. If you go into a bank but only need to see a teller -- and so will be standing -- you won't be served tea, no matter how long your business takes. If you sit down chat with a banker to open a line of credit, tea. If you go into a shop to buy some loose tea, the shopkeeper will not serve you tea, even if you stay there for half an hour (at which point even the most indulgent shopkeeper will have kicked you out). If you go to a shop to sit down and negotiate a contract to ''sell'' the shop the loose tea it sells to consumers, you will be served tea, even if you're the shop's regular supplier, the contract is a mere formality, and the visit lasts less than 20 minutes. Poke your head into your professor's office to ask a question, no tea. Sit down to discuss it in more detail, tea.[[/note]] someone. This makes also means that tea bags a bit more common; are popular here, as they're quick and low-mess more convenient for workplace kitchens.
** The electric Electric kettles of which are popular in the British are so fond are also ubiquitous region, especially in Egypt (apart from Egypt; the many only problem is that not all parts of the countryside that don't country get reliable electricity). Fortunately for Egypt, televisions aren't nearly as common, so Egypt doesn't suffer from Britan's post-football-match electricity spikes; many if not most electricity. Fortunately, Egyptians prefer to watch football matches in a café and other TV events drink their tea there, rather like a British pub-goer.
** Turkey calls tea ''çay'' (pronounced "chai" -- fittingly, as both India and Turkey borrowed the word from Persian). It's almost always a black tea called "Rize tea", named after the province
in northeastern Turkey it comes from, and it's drunk whenever the mood strikes. Almost all restaurants and cafés -- which are a predominantly male domain and will serve a social role equivalent it in small, tulip-shaped glasses, and it can be drunk straight or with sugar. It's not uncommon to see men with trays running around the streets and bazaars in the busier parts of town delivering tea to the British pub -- rather than in their own homes.
** The Egyptian government considers tea a strategic resource,
shopkeepers, and owns tea plantations in Sri Lanka and Kenya to ensure a steady supply. Serving tea to a visitor (at home and at work) is considered an [[SacredHospitality almost-sacred duty]] (they even call it ''wagib'', meaning..."duty").
*** Note that
chances are if you can decline the sit long enough in any shop, someone's going to offer you a glass.
** Iran popularized drinking unsweetened tea while biting on sugar or candy. Iran has had can sugar for longer than anyone other than India, so it's likely that the custom originated there. It's a distinct experience, to say the least. Russia borrowed the tradition from there,
and no-one will be offended. They may be in turn it left a bit bewildered, but they won't be offended. Also, today they'll often also ask if you'd prefer instant coffee (inevitably called "[[BrandNameTakeover Nescafe]]"), bottled water, or "something cold", i.variant of the ''samovar'' tradition.
* The '''Southern camp''' includes Upper (''i.
e. a soft drink; but the default is tea, and if they don't have the other things they will have tea.\n** Turkey: Tea there - çay, pronounced like "chai" - is almost always a black tea called Rize tea (named after Rize, the northeastern province of Turkey where the tea is grown), which is drunk whenever the mood strikes. Almost all restaurants, cafes and coffee places (except at Stabucks and Kahve Dünyası, Istanbul's answer to Starbucks) will serve it in small tulip shaped glasses, and you can drink it straight up or with a sugar or two. It's not uncommon to see men with trays running around the streets and bazaars in the busier parts of town delivering tea to the shopkeepers, and chances are if you sit long enough in any shop someone's going to offer you a glass.\n** The Russian "tea served with with sugar candy to bite on" is also very popular in UsefulNotes/{{Iran}}; Iranians tend to put a lump or cube of sugar in the mouth and drink unsweetened tea over it, leading to a distinct experience. Since Iran has had (cane) sugar for longer than anyone else but the Indians, the custom likely originated there and thence spread to Russia thanks to all manner of cultural contact from centuries of trade and wars in the Caucasus and Central Asia, to say nothing of the Russo-British competition for influence over the 19th-century Iranian court. The exchange was completed by the partial Iranian adoption of the aforementioned samovar for boiling water for tea. Iranian tea culture also involves something like Russian ''zavarka'' making, but not exactly; the brewed tea is left on the fire for a bit, but not nearly as long as in Russia or in even the Southern Camp.\n* Southern Camp: Consisting of Upper (southern) '' southern) Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen. Tea here is also black; black, but instead of pouring boiling water over tea leaves, large quantities of leaves, leaves and larger quantities of sugar, sugar are put into the pot, pot together, and the mixture is boiled over a strong flame for at least five minutes (making this kind minutes. This makes it a sort of tea a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoction decoction]] rather than an infusion -- infusion; even the Iranian and Turkish practice of leaving the tea heated doesn't do that). Foreigners -- probably even American Southerners who have served time in Russian prisons -- know the result that. It's so strong as to be called [[KlatchianCoffee "suicide tea"]]. Milk is a common addition here, because sometimes even Even the locals have to commonly add milk to dilute the tea in order to not die of it. This recipe is best known for being drunk in Upper Egypt (thus the name Egypt, where it's called "Saidi Tea"), tea", but it the original recipe was probably originally Bedouin; it's also found in Bedouin-influenced parts of the Maghreb.
* Western Camp: The '''Western camp''' includes Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania. Mauritania.
**
Here, green ''green'' tea is preferred over to black. According There are a number of theories as to one theory, some how they got it. One claims that Barbary corsairs took it from a European ship they captured some Europeans en route on its way back from China, discovered green tea in the hold of their ship, and liked it so much that the preference stuck; China; another theory is claims that neither it had to do with the Bedouin nor any other traders exported black tea into the Maghreb; but the probable reason for green tea's popularity here is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_War the Crimean War]]. Tea War]], where the British, unable to sell their tea to the Russians, dumped it on the Moroccans, who loved it; before then, tea was largely unknown in the Maghreb until that conflict, when the British found themselves in possession of huge quantities of green tea that they could no longer export to the Russians. So, they tried selling it to the Moroccans, and the Maghreb.
**
Moroccans loved it; they traditionally drank a mint tisane, and found finding that preparing this drink with a mix of mixing mint and green tea leaves produced heavenly results: a very nice result: sweet, light on the tongue, and cool-tasting even when served hot, it pairs and pairing excellently with the heavy foods traditional in the Maghreb.
heavy foods.
** Maghrebi tea is It's prepared in the same way as Bedouin-style suicide tea, but the result is far less dangerous: dangerous with the weaker green tea has less caffeine than black, tea, and fewer tea leaves are used to begin with (since because of the tea's a mix of tea and mint).mint leaf mixture. Wormwood or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysia_citrodora lemon verbena]] is sometimes used instead of mint, or as an addition to it; it, but Maghrebi tea is always a mix of tea and one or more herbs.
** The Maghreb also has a variety of tea with milk: instead of brewing black tea with water and adding milk to it, they heat up milk, add black tea leaves to it, and add sugar to taste -- taste, producing unique and very interesting results.
** The Moroccans are particularly devoted to mint tea. Educated Moroccans talking with other Arabic-speakers often use Moroccan Arabic "atay" for their tea, in contrast to Modern Standard Arabic "shay" for tea in general. Morocco even has a tea ceremony, albeit not nearly as elaborate as Japan's but still distinctly elaborate; when Japan's. When tea is being served at home to an honored guest -- and so guest, the ceremony is at its full height of sophistication -- one host makes a great big show of bringing in all the trays bearing glasses, mint, tea, and sugar; taste-tests trays, tasting the tea halfway through boiling; boiling, and pours the tea, when it's ready, from a height of pouring it at least a meter, in order to mix meter high (to obtain the optimal mixture and aerate it thoroughly. aeration). Moroccans will also go to great trouble to source high-quality insist on the highest-quality water for their tea, traveling for miles so as not to find pure, un-chlorinated, low-mineral water that won't impart any unpleasant flavors to detract from the tea. They prefer tea that's a bit strong and ''very'' sweet, enough to surprise even other Maghrebi Arabs; there's an old Moroccan proverb that says, "Moroccans do not drink tea, they drink honey."
*** The ceremonial nature of tea in Morocco goes UpToEleven in the
flavor. In southern parts of of the country, which country (which are mostly desert. Preparing and serving desert), the tea in the south preparation process can take as long as an hour and a half. The Japanese tea ceremony (the ''chaji'') can take as long as four hours, but then, the Japanese tea ceremony includes a four-course meal; this is an hour and a half -- for the tea alone.
just tea!



* Indonesians drink sweet, iced jasmine tea, especially on hot days; what would the American South and Indonesia make of each other's drinks? Traditional hot tea is also quite popular in Indonesia, especially in the countryside. And there's a recent commercial product called Tebs, Teh [=BerSoda=] -- sweet jasmine tea with soda water. Whatever tea lovers elsewhere may think of that idea, Indonesia loves it.
* Heavily sweetened iced tea with canned milk has become popular in several Asian countries, probably picked up from colonial Europeans. Perhaps the most famous form is Thai iced tea, flavored with star anise, vanilla and other spices. It's served cold, the canned milk is sometimes replaced by fresh whole milk, cream, or coconut milk, and it feels more like a dessert than a drink; but it's not ''that'' different from masala chai.

to:

* Indonesians drink sweet, iced jasmine tea, especially on hot days; what would the American South and Indonesia make of each other's drinks? days. Traditional hot tea is also quite popular in Indonesia, especially in the countryside. And there's a recent commercial product called Tebs, Teh [=BerSoda=] -- sweet jasmine tea with soda water. Whatever tea lovers elsewhere may think of that idea, Indonesia loves it.
* Heavily sweetened iced tea with canned milk has become popular in several Asian countries, probably picked up from colonial Europeans. Perhaps the most famous form is Thai iced tea, flavored with star anise, vanilla vanilla, and other spices. It's served cold, the canned milk is sometimes replaced by fresh whole milk, cream, or coconut milk, and it feels more like a dessert than a drink; but it's not ''that'' different from masala chai.



* In Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), tea is typically drunk hot, strong, and sweet, with milk or cream; this is similar to British "Builder's Tea", and might even be derived from it. (The British ruled Burma in the 1920s and 1930s.) Burmese tea is typically lingered over with friends; teashops are social hubs, serving food or at least simple snacks, and it's very common to spend half an hour or more in the tea shops -- sometimes most of the day.

to:

* In Myanmar (formerly Myanmar, formerly a British colony (and then known as Burma), tea is typically drunk hot, strong, and sweet, with milk or cream; this is cream. It's similar enough to British "Builder's Tea", and might "builder's tea" that some speculate that the British may even be have derived it from it. (The British ruled Burma in the 1920s and 1930s.) Burmese style. Burmese tea is typically lingered over with friends; teashops are social hubs, serving food or at least simple snacks, and it's very common to spend half an hour or more in the tea shops -- sometimes most of the day.



* Tea isn't very common in most of Germany, but it's very popular in East Frisia, a subregion of [[TheSixteenLandsOfDeutschland Lower Saxony]]. East Frisian tea has one or more lumps of rock sugar added to the cup, then tea, then cream; one drinks it without stirring, giving the flavors an interesting layered effect. Napoleon banned tea (and all other goods that could only be acquired from Britain) when he annexed East Frisia to France, and that offense is still remembered today.
** There is also a specific East Frisian blend of tea, the secret of which is generally jealously guarded by tea dealers, but which cynics say consists mainly of "Assam tea for the colour, and Java tea for the price". [[http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:East_Frisian_Tea Here's a recipe]], with links to more info about the East Frisian tea culture if you can read and understand German.

to:

* Tea isn't very common in most of Germany, but it's very popular in East Frisia, a subregion of [[TheSixteenLandsOfDeutschland Lower Saxony]].
**
East Frisian tea has one or more lumps of rock sugar added to the cup, then tea, then cream; one drinks it without stirring, giving the flavors an interesting layered effect. Napoleon banned tea (and all other goods that could only be acquired from Britain) when he annexed East Frisia to France, and that offense is still remembered today.
today. During UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, tea was treated as a staple food, unlike coffee.
** There is also a specific East Frisian blend of tea, the secret of which is generally jealously guarded by tea dealers, but which cynics say consists mainly of "Assam tea for the colour, and Java tea for the price". [[http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:East_Frisian_Tea Here's a recipe]], with links to more info about the East Frisian tea culture if you can read and understand German.recipe]].



** In recent years, people have started to speak of the "East Frisian Tea Ceremony". It's less formalized than the Japanese one but just as elaborate and complex. May or may not be SeriousBusiness, which in rural northern Germany is always hard to tell. (Confusing people by feigning offense at the most trivial things, or making increasingly bizarre statements, is a common prank in those parts of Germany -- and hardly anyone around there will let you know when [[{{Troll}} You Have Been Trolled]].)
** Heligoland, a Frisian island off the Elbe estuary, was a British possession 1807-1890; there may have been a tea culture there, but at this point in history it's defunct. The island is a part of North Frisia (which belongs to Schleswig-Holstein), where they definitely prefer coffee (especially ''Pharisäer'', which is prepared with rum and cream).
** UsefulNotes/FrederickTheGreat of UsefulNotes/{{Prussia}} liked a bit of tea too and built a "Chinese" tea-house in the park near his palace of Sanssouci in Potsdam. Coincidentally or not, this was about a decade after he inherited East Frisia in 1744. At the time, Prussia imported its tea and other Chinese goods via its North Sea port of Emden in East Frisia.

to:

** In recent years, people have started East Frisia is also home to speak of a popular {{Troll}}ing method where the "East Frisian Tea Ceremony". It's less formalized than the Japanese one but just as elaborate and complex. May or may not be SeriousBusiness, which in rural northern Germany is always hard to tell. (Confusing people by feigning locals feign offense at the most trivial things, or making increasingly bizarre statements, is a common prank in those parts of Germany -- and hardly anyone around there will let you know when [[{{Troll}} You Have Been Trolled]].)
** Heligoland, a Frisian island off the Elbe estuary, was a British possession 1807-1890; there
things. This may have been a tea culture there, but at this point in history it's defunct. The island is a part of North Frisia (which belongs contributed to Schleswig-Holstein), where they definitely prefer coffee (especially ''Pharisäer'', which is prepared with rum and cream).
the bizarre yet elaborate "East Frisian Tea Ceremony".
** UsefulNotes/FrederickTheGreat of UsefulNotes/{{Prussia}} liked a bit of tea too and built a "Chinese" tea-house teahouse in the park near his palace of Sanssouci in Potsdam. Coincidentally or not, this was about a decade after he inherited East Frisia in 1744. At the time, Prussia imported its tea and other Chinese goods via its North Sea port of Emden in East Frisia.



* The Dutch were the first to sell large quantities of tea in Europe (primarily as a health drink); but while they drink a fair bit of tea, it doesn't have much cultural significance.
** In fact, in every canteen or house and at every coffee machine it is not unusual that there is a wide range of different varieties of tea (all in teabag style, both retro and pyramid), amongst them always English (Breakfast) Blend, Earl Grey, Rooibos and a bunch of fruity ones.
** [[http://www.pickwick.nl/ The country even has its very own tea company]] which provides all kinds of teas for all those occasions, from your standard Black and Fruit teas to Herbal Goodness and Wellbeing Moments.
*** There's even Caramelized Pear and Apple Pie flavoured teas!


to:

* The Dutch were the first to sell large quantities of tea in Europe (primarily as a health drink); but while they drink a fair bit of tea, it doesn't have much cultural significance.
** In fact, in every canteen or house and at every coffee machine it is not unusual that there is a wide range of different
significance. You'll find most Dutch tea varieties of tea (all in teabag style, both retro and pyramid), amongst them always English (Breakfast) Blend, Earl Grey, Rooibos and a bunch of fruity ones.
** [[http://www.pickwick.nl/ The country even has its very own tea company]] which provides all kinds of teas for all those occasions, from your standard Black and Fruit teas to Herbal Goodness and Wellbeing Moments.
*** There's even Caramelized Pear and Apple Pie flavoured teas!

teabags in coffee houses.

5th May '16 8:39:46 PM DavidDelony
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'''How they drink it''': Green tea is, of course, king, though oolong is also popular and black tea, usually served as "milk tea"[[note]]with milk and sugar, similar to the British "builder's tea"[[/note]], is sometimes drunk in cafes and in bottled form. Tea ceremony aside, the most common form of tea served in Japan is brewed loose-leaf ''sencha'', though tea bags and instant tea are also increasingly popular for their convenience and cheapness after the economic bubble burst. Even though Japan is famous for its tea ceremony, as with the Brits, everyday tea drinking is a much humbler affair there, with loose-leaf sencha or tea bags served in mugs, Western-style. Having been isolationist for the greater part of its history and having limited space for farmland, the Japanese came up with a variety of inventive ways to stretch the green tea supply, including ''genmaicha'' (tea mixed with toasted rice), ''kukicha'' (a nutty-tasting tea that includes the stems and twigs from the leftovers of ''matcha'' and ''sencha'' production) and ''hojicha'' (lower grade tea than ''sencha'', called ''bancha'', that has been roasted over charcoal for flavor). Nowadays, Japan supplements their local supply with Chinese imports as well.

to:

'''How they drink it''': Green tea is, of course, king, though oolong is also popular and black tea, usually served as "milk tea"[[note]]with milk and sugar, similar to the British "builder's tea"[[/note]], tea" though the preparation is closer to Indian chai as the tea is actually boiled[[/note]], is sometimes drunk in cafes and in bottled form. Tea ceremony aside, the most common form of tea served in Japan is brewed loose-leaf ''sencha'', though tea bags and instant tea are also increasingly popular for their convenience and cheapness after the economic bubble burst. Even though Japan is famous for its tea ceremony, as with the Brits, everyday tea drinking is a much humbler affair there, with loose-leaf sencha or tea bags served in mugs, Western-style. Having been isolationist for the greater part of its history and having limited space for farmland, the Japanese came up with a variety of inventive ways to stretch the green tea supply, including ''genmaicha'' (tea mixed with toasted rice), ''kukicha'' (a nutty-tasting tea that includes the stems and twigs from the leftovers of ''matcha'' and ''sencha'' production) and ''hojicha'' (lower grade tea than ''sencha'', called ''bancha'', that has been roasted over charcoal for flavor). Nowadays, Japan supplements their local supply with Chinese imports as well.
2nd Apr '16 8:44:16 PM nombretomado
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** The same effect also apparently happens far more regularly at the end of soap operas: ''Britain from Above'' featured a segment showing a National Grid employee watching TV waiting for the end of EastEnders (IIRC) in order to bring online the extra generators needed to cope with the power surge.

to:

** The same effect also apparently happens far more regularly at the end of soap operas: ''Britain from Above'' featured a segment showing a National Grid employee watching TV waiting for the end of EastEnders (IIRC) ''Series/EastEnders'' in order to bring online the extra generators needed to cope with the power surge.
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