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Tea Drinking Culture From Around The World

Posted by Ben Arneberg on

Tea is a drink which can be found in countless countries around the world. This is due to its simplicity and the wealth of plants to be used as tea worldwide.

With so many countries and people drinking tea on a regular basis, it is no wonder that there are so many unique customs and ways to drink tea around the world. Customs will depend on the type of tea you are drinking, such as European tea like German tea and English tea.

European tea set

With the number of tea drinkers steadily rising worldwide, it makes sense that some would want to learn how to drink tea properly. There are countless ways to do so, and it all depends on where you’re from. Tea drinking is no exact science, and there is no universally correct way to do it.

For this reason, we have decided to feature as many different tea drinking cultures as possible so you, the reader, can get a much wider outlook on how tea is prepared and had around the world. We will look at drinking tea before meals, drinking tea after a meal, and drinking tea as its ceremony as well as how people from different countries drink their tea.


We have decided to start with China since this is the country in which tea drinking began. As tea culture has existed longer in China than anywhere else in the world, it makes sense that tea also plays a large part in Chinese culture. Tea in China can be had casually, as a simple drink or it can play a part in a more meaningful ceremony.

One of the more important aspects of tea culture in China is who pours the tea. The one who pours the tea is usually showing respect to the one they are pouring the tea for. Traditionally, the younger person pours the tea to show respect for their elders, but this tradition is not always in effect.

Chinese tea pouring

Tea can also be used to apologize in China, with the one apologizing pouring the tea as a gesture of respect to the one who has been wronged. As you can see, the pouring of tea in Chinese culture has a larger degree of significance than in other cultures.

One of unique aspects of Chinese tea culture is the gesture of finger tapping. Finger tapping is a way to thank the server of your tea. It is done by bending your two forefingers and tapping on the cup, and in some instances, the table. This is usually done when the one who is served is in mid-conversation.


We thought India would be a fitting country to feature second on this list thanks to their rich history involving tea and their position as one of the largest manufacturers of tea on a global scale. In fact, the only country who can outstrip India of their tea production is China.

Tea culture is rather casual in India for the most part. You will find that tea stalls, which are public tea vendors, are present on almost every street in India. This is thanks to the immense popularity of the drink, as India is one of the biggest consumers of tea in the world, along with being large producers.

Indian street vendor tea

India also produces some of the most popular types of tea worldwide; these include Darjeeling tea, which is an international favorite. Assam is another type of Indian tea that is known worldwide thanks to its excellent flavor characteristics. India is no stranger to high-quality tea leaves.

One of the unique aspects of the way tea is consumed in India has to do with the preparation process. Instead of having the tea leaves steeped after the water has boiled, the water is boiled with the tea leaves already inside of it so that the tea steeps as it boils, it may even be boiled with the milk and sugar added.


Russia is another country that has a long and storied tea culture. Historically, tea drinking in Russia has had connotations based on class and ethnicity thanks to its entangled cultural origins. Tea is also brewed uniquely in Russia, with a brewing process that consists of two steps.

russian brewing tea is unique

The first thing which is prepared is a small amount of concentrated tea which should be sufficient for all who will be drinking tea. After this, a samovar, which is a large metal vessel for water, is heated up and a larger tea kettle containing the tea concentrate is attached to the samovar.

This process dilutes the tea concentrate with hot water, so the result is a tea which is not overly strong.

Tea in Russia is not a beverage which is drunk on its own, as in other cultures. Typically tea is had with small cakes and other sweets, which makes for an experience quite similar to British tea drinking, aside from the different method of preparation.


Of course, we couldn’t leave the English off of our list of some of the most prominent worldwide tea drinking cultures. Funny enough, England is one of the more fiercely divided nations in the world about the best way to drink tea. These debates range from how the tea must be brewed to when the ideal time is to put in the milk.

English tea culture

Another ubiquitous part of English tea drinking customs is, of course, the custom of tea and crumpets. Crumpets are essentially a type of pancake which is commonly consumed with a cup of tea at around 11:00 AM as a breakfast.


As you can see, there are countless ways to consume tea around the world. We have looked at some of the better-known countries, and we have barely scratched the surface. There are entire fields of study dedicated to tea drinking culture, and it is truly quite the interesting field. If there are any questions or remarks, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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