In today's society, tea is an overlooked beverage. As simple of a drink as it may be, tea holds a level of immense complexity and history, and the potential it has is absolutely endless. To an average everyday tea consumer, tea is either brewed hot or shaken iced. Still, if you can get a little creative and have a bit of time on your hand, tea can be so much more than just two ways of consumption.
Taking a step back into history, tea can be found to exist and consumed over 5,000 years ago, holding the title of the world's oldest beverage. The earliest credible records of tea can be pinpointed to regions of China. (Cherfas, 2016) Although tea is not restricted to one area but to several parts of the world and their cultures – including Japan, Korea, India, Australia, United Kingdom, among several others.
China consumed tea for several centuries as a health remedy. The medical benefits it proved to show, after which, around the mid of eighth century, tea started to become more popularized as a warming beverage with the famous Oolong black tea. Through the next few centuries, China began different cultivation and production methods, further discovering green tea and its benefits. Not long after, China became the world's highest producer of tea leaves and exported them outside the country.
In the 19th century, the British introduced tea in India to break the dominance of Chinese tea production and exportation. They began to grow what we commonly known today as English Breakfast Tea in Assam, India, by learning and studying cultivation techniques. (Rowlatt, 2016) After India's independence, tea remained produced in many parts of the country and enjoyed on cold, rainy days with a side of veggie samosas.
Here's a recipe by @zaynab_issa that highlights the spice blend in a classic Masala Chai
But what is 'Chai' ?
'Chai' translates to tea in Hindi, but with a bit of spice to brewing black tea, they invented 'masala chai', the country's most popular drink today. Chai has gained immense recognition worldwide in the last decade and has created an array of varieties in which it can be consumed – as an iced chai, a hot chai latte, cubed or even added in with a shot of espresso for a quick morning pickup.
Here's a recipe for a smooth and creamy Iced Dirty Chai Latte by @houseofcoffee.
Our recommendation of tea comes from Tea Mate. If you're feeling creative, they offer a smooth and full-bodied English Black Tea to make a cup of chai at home, or if you're feeling just a little lazy, they also offer an Organic Vegan Sticky Icky Chai that includes all the sweet and spicy goodness in one bag to speed up the process of your chai iced cubes.
Green tea is always a milder and healthier substitute for any black tea. It is packed with rich antioxidants and is a great way to gain energy in the mornings. Tea Mate offers us several options for exquisite green teas, one of which being their South American Yerba Mate, which is available in a 50g or a 100g bag of loose-leaf Tea or in their 25 biodegradable and plastic-free tea bags.
Shop Tea Mate Yerba Mate to try authentic South American Yerba
The Yerba Mate originates from the high altitudes of Brazil and possesses a zesty and zingy punch that can be versatile in preparation – a hot tea after a long day, as a refreshing drink by the pool, or with a shot of your favourite spirits as a quick summer cocktail.
Check out this recipe by @thirstycafe of a Guava Green Tea Cocktail for a refreshing icy drink on a warm day that can be made with the Yerba Mate.
Green and Clean
Tea is also widely consumed in Japan. Dating back to the 8th century, tea was imported to Japan from China and cultivated in the country. Tea was consumed primarily during religious and cultural ceremonial events. A spiritual practice known as The Japanese Tea Ceremony introduced the exceptionally popular Matcha.
Matcha is a green tea variety that is finely grounded into a powder to create a powerful blend of tea. Matcha is rich in antioxidants and has several health benefits, such as – keeping a healthy heart and liver, improving brain functions and weight loss benefits. (Link, 2020)
The preparation of Matcha is almost therapeutic in a way. When whisked into boiling water, the powdered tea seamlessly blends in, giving off a vibrant shade of green with a lovely earthy aroma that can only be seen in good quality ceremonial-grade matcha tea. Matcha today is consumed worldwide not just for its health benefits but also for its unique umami taste and in many clever preparation methods.
Combining Taiwanese influence, here is a recipe by @kaelimaee of the creamy, chewy, and delectable Matcha Bubble Tea that is perfect for when you have a sweet craving.
If you're on the hunt for good quality, finely ground Matcha, Tea Mate brings us their Organic Ceremonial Grade Green Matcha, which is available in two sizes to further feed into your Matcha addiction.
Tasting the flower garden
Delving deeper into the benefits that tea poses, specifically, a dried flower from ancient Egypt, Chamomile. (Teatulia, 2022) Unlike other teas, which are primarily leaves that are dried and oxidized, Chamomile is a dried flower that can be brewed as tea. It possesses a subtle undertone of apple, both in flavour and aroma. It is exceptionally known for its health benefits and remedies. Chamomile is an herbal tea used in many practices worldwide in the form of herbal medication, therapeutic effects, or simply just as a sweet, mild tea that can take you into a restful slumber.
The flower contains sedative properties and is best consumed as a night tea before bed. Tea Mate introduces their Massive Organic Chamomile Flowers straight from the deserts of Egypt. This caffeine-free chamomile tea can ease your mind into relaxation. Their Tea Ritual suggests 1-2 teaspoons of their Massive Organic Chamomile Flowers to 250ml of boiling water and honey to your taste, a classic interpretation to showcase the complexity of the flower.
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO ON HOW TO BREW TEA MATE MASSIVE ORGANIC CHAMOMILE FLOWERS
Tea is one of the most versatile beverages. Its simple flavour palette allows for outstanding combinations as a base for your drinks. Regardless of what part of the world you may be in, you will find cultural and local ways of consuming Tea that vary from place to place. Suppose you're inquisitive and want to try a variety all in one go. In that case, Tea Mate's range of loose-leaf teas, biodegradable tea bags and exclusive bundles will allow you to taste the world in teas from the comfort of your home.
SHOP TEA MATE MEGAFAN TEA BUNDLE FOR A RANGE OF INVIGORATING TEAS TO GET THROUGH YOUR DAY