Tea is one of the most liked and consumed drink in the world. Contrary to what one might believe, it is even more popular than coffee and only second to water. Drinking tea has been a part of many cultures for numerous years. Along with having an exquisite taste and different methods of preparation, it also has a high nutritional value. People who drink tea regularly would agree that tea doesn’t only warm your body, but also gives you a sense of peacefulness and calm. The following are the top 5 places to visit if you are a tea lover and want to know the history and culture behind all the different kinds of tea.
- Uji – Japan
Uji is a very important production and distribution center for green tea. The green tea produced here is considered to be of superior quality. Uji is the home to the oldest tea house in the world, Tsuen Tea, that still serves tea. Not just one but this town in Japan houses several other tea houses as well. The cultivation of Uji tea has been promoted in the area since the 14th century. This kind of tea was first imported here from China (matcha green tea) in the 8th century. Its existence was only known to a few priests and noblemen at that time. But in a few centuries, the cultivation of matcha tea was promoted extensively all over the area and Uji slowly became the producer of the most superior quality of green tea.
- Darjeeling, India
Tea cultivation in India is a relatively modern concept, only popularizing after the British introduced it in India in the early 19th century. But despite being a young cultivator, India is the second-highest producer of tea in the world, producing about 1.3-million-ton tea every year. A large part of tea in India is the Darjeeling tea, which is grown in tea-estates all across the town of Darjeeling in India. Darjeeling tea was first planted in the 1800s and now has its brand in the world. Darjeeling tea has various types. It can be processed as green, white, black, and oolong tea. The various tea estates in the town also provide for a picturesque view as all of them are situated on hill slopes facing beautiful scenery. Sipping tea while watching the sunset, collecting tea leaves from the estates, and visiting various tea plantation centers are a few of the many tea centric activities that can be done here.
- London, England
The British are famous (and often stereotyped) for drinking tea. The British are so obsessed with tea that they even introduced its cultivation in their colonies. So what better place for a tea lover to travel to other than the heart of England. With various tea cafes and tea shops on practically every corner of the street, there is no shortage of varieties and types of tea to drink. With a whole meal named after the beverage, Britain is undoubtedly the tea capital of the world.
- Hangzhou, China
China is considered by many as the birthplace of tea. Hangzhou is the home of the premium green tea called Longjing tea. This tea has even been granted the Imperial Tea status. Tea is a very important part of China’s culture and Hangzhou, being home to such an important type of tea, has even more importance of the drink. While visiting the city, tea-tours are a must. These tours include visits to the National Tea Museum and also to various tea plantations. These tours also include hikes up to the hills leading to the tea plantations, and not just that, you can also request for a tasting of the various types of Longjing tea. To anyone looking to find out about the history of tea cultivation and production, Hangzhou is a must-visit.
- Cuzco, Peru
Cuzco, the capital of the Incan empire, is a city on top of the Andes mountain range, in Peru. Tea had been a large part of the Incan culture and their descendants still consider tea to be essential to their culture. The tea here has more of a medicinal value than the taste factor and is called by the name of ‘Coca Tea’. Being situated on such a high altitude, and also being along the way to Macchu Pichu, Coca tea is often recommended to travelers to prevent altitude sickness. So, for those who are looking for an adventure hike up the Andes, but also want to experience the tea culture of the country, Cuzco is the place to visit for them.
Tea is a big part of many cultures around the world, owing to its various methods of preparation and uses. The world runs on tea. So, whether you want to calm yourself down or refresh your body after waking up in the morning, you know the answer is tea.
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