Tea is prepared in many different ways all around the world. However, some basics remain the same. One prepares tea by pouring hot water over leaves of the tea plant, also known as Camellia sinesis. Prepping the tea leaves differently results in many different flavour profiles.
These variations in preparation styles have also given rise to many different forms of tea drinking cultures. A look back into history can shine light on some of the most popular traditions associated with this ubiquitous beverage.
The tea plant was first cultivated in Southwest China some 6,000 years ago. However, at first tea was not drunk but, instead, eaten as a vegetable dish or mixed into porridge. Over time, people began to believe that tea had medicinal qualities. This was when it began to be consumed as a beverage.
This early form of tea quickly became a popular drink for general wellbeing. It was the favourite drink of the Chinese emperors and became an important cultural symbol. It became the subject of books and poetry, and artistic teamakers drew intricate designs in the tea foam.
Today, the Chinese still believe that tea is medicinal, as it is consumed during mealtimes to aid digestion. It is also an important part of Chinese weddings. The Chinese tea ceremony involves newlyweds symbolically serving tea to their new families.
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