What's The Tea? Exploring The Tea Culture Around The World

December 12, 2022

Tea - a drink that comes with a rich and intriguing history and is deeply rooted in the social cultures, rituals, and customs of so many countries. Tea is not like any other average hot beverage, no sir! Drinking tea is an emotion, a tradition, and even a nostalgic affair at times.

Tea table decor

But, how did the tale of tea begin? To answer that, we have to go back to the year 2,737 BC in southwest China, when some unknown dried leaves fell into Emperor Shennong’s cup of hot water. The Emperor soon realised that his cup of plain hot water tasted a lot better with the flavour of the dried leaves, and that’s how this legendary hot beverage known as tea came into existence.

Tea glass set

Since its discovery, the tradition of drinking tea has evolved significantly with time, especially after tea found its way into Europe during the 16th Century via the Silk Road. It was the British who introduced the tea culture in India in the 1800s, and by the 19th Century, tea had spread far and wide. Today, drinking tea has become a cultural phenomenon worldwide - from Morocco to Japan, from India to Thailand. Here are some of the most popular tea traditions around the world. 

  1. Indian Chai

India is both the largest producer and consumer of tea. In fact, Darjeeling tea features the best quality tea leaves in the world and is known for its taste and aroma. While the British introduced black tea in India during the 19th Century, the traditional Indian masala chai dates back thousands of years. 

Round tea cups for Indian masala chai

Today, tea is essentially the national drink in India - whether it's chamomile tea, lemon tea, or a steaming cup of tea infused with milk, cardamom, clove, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices. You can spot tea stalls and chai wallahs serving tea in earthen pots or matka anywhere you go in India.

Round tea cups

But if you want to experience the feeling of sipping masala tea from a matka at your home, our round ceramic tea cups can be the perfect alternative. The round tea cup has the ideal size of an earthen matka while featuring an easy-to-hold handle. So, now you can relax and laze around while slowly sipping on a cup of steaming masala tea. 

Round Tea-Cup

  1. English Afternoon Tea

There are few other countries that are as closely connected to tea as England. Tea represents British culture, much like fish and chips or the Royal family. Whether it's the much-coveted afternoon tea of the upper-class Brits or the high tea of the working-class Brits - tea is embedded within the very social and cultural fabric of England. 

English afternoon tea

British afternoon tea features authentic black tea that’s either taken by itself or with milk and sugar. Traditionally speaking, British afternoon tea is also accompanied by cakes, cookies, and other baked confectionaries. Not just English afternoon tea, English breakfast tea with the classic Earl Grey tea bags is also a key element of British tea culture. Earl Grey is even considered the best tea for breakfast worldwide. 

Serena White Truffle Elegant Cup And Saucer

That said, Brits are very particular about their tea and often put in extra care while setting up their tea tables. It’s safe to say that you’ll need elegant and highly sophisticated tea sets for British afternoon tea. 

Serena White Truffle Elegant Ribbed Teapot

You can pair our Serena white truffle cup and saucer with our Serena white truffle ribbed teapot and Serena white truffle milk pot to set up an elegant table fit for authentic British afternoon tea. Besides the tea cups and saucers, our Serena 3-tier round ceramic dessert stand can also be a perfect addition to a traditional English afternoon tea table setup to beautifully arrange sumptuous finger sandwiches, cakes, macarons, cookies, and other desserts or pastries. 

Serena 3 Tier Round Ceramic Dessert Stand White

  1. Japanese Tea Ceremony 

While tea is more of a tradition in the Indian and British cultures, Japan has ritualistic ceremonies revolving around tea that have their roots in the philosophy and spirituality of Zen Buddhism. The Japanese chanoyu or chado tea ceremony involves the preparation, presentation, and consumption of matcha green tea. 

Japanese tea set

In fact, the traditional Japanese chado tea ceremony literally translates into “way of tea” and has been an integral part of Japanese culture for centuries. The Japanese tea ceremonies involve using matcha powder made from ground green tea leaves to prepare the traditional, frothy matcha green tea in special tea pots and tea cups. 

Japanese tea cups

Speaking of special tea cups and tea pots, our Midnight green tea set can be the ideal match to prepare authentic matcha green tea following the steps of the traditional Japanese chado ceremony. The midnight green colour adds a luxe elegance to the tea set that might suit the rich cultural and spiritual significance of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. 

Midnight Green Tea Set

  1. Chinese Cha Dao

In the land where the journey of tea began, there’s an abundance of different types of tea -  Jasmine tea, oolong tea, herbal tea, fermented or Pu Erh tea, and Gunpowder tea. Green tea for weight loss is also quite popular in China. Much like Japan, China has also ritualised the tradition of preparing and drinking tea. The Chinese art of tea-making or cha dao is closely connected to the philosophies of balance and harmony. 

Chinese tea setup

The traditional Chinese gong fu tea ceremony celebrates tea as the way of life in an elaborate ritual using special cups and pots, tea towels, brewing trays, bamboo tools, and tongs. The ceremony also includes presenting scented cups to the visitors to smell the tea leaves before brewing. 

Porcelain tea kettle

Even though it takes years of training to perfect the art of cha dao, we have just the right tea set that can help you get started. Our porcelain teapot and cup set comes with four tea cups, one tea pot, and one wooden tray. The beautiful yet minimalistic blue floral prints make this tea set perfect for the harmonious gong fu tea ceremony. 

Porcelain Teapot And Cup Set

  1. Russian Zavarka

Tea was introduced in Russia during the 17th Century as a result of trade via the Silk Road, but it was during the 1800s that tea became widely popular in the country. Tea is a symbol of hospitality in Russian culture where offering tea to house guests has become a traditional polite custom. 

Russian tea setup

The signature highly concentrated Russian black tea or zavarka is prepared in a special, urn-shaped tea kettle called samovar by boiling water. Little amounts of the strong black tea are poured into the cups from the samovar and diluted with water while adding sugar, honey, lemon, or other herbs for some extra flavour. 

Fancy tea kettle

Since a traditional Russian samovar is served in an urn-shaped, long-necked tea pot, our fancy, contemporary, glass tea kettle can be perfect for the occasion. Pair the tea pot with our stunning opal black cup and saucer set to replicate an authentic Russian tea table setup to serve some zavarka while entertaining your house guests. 

Opal Black Cup And Saucer Set

  1. Iranian Chai Khaneh

Similar to Russia, Iranians prepare their strong black tea in a samovar and usually serve it on a metal tray. However, instead of adding sugar or honey to their tea as Russians do, Iranians prefer to sweeten their tea by dipping a saffron-flavoured, yellow rock candy called nabaat

Tea Serving Pot And Cup Set for Iranian tea

Iranians built the habit of drinking tea when it was introduced in Iran during the 15th Century as trade poured into the Middle East through the Silk Road. As tea became more and more popular in Iran, the Iranian tea houses or chai khaneh sprang up all across the country. 

Glass tea kettle

Although we can’t offer you the atmosphere and ambience of an authentic Iranian chai khaneh, we can surely help you set up a tea table to enjoy some Iranian tea right at your home. Our tea serving pot and cup set has a transparent design that speaks of elegance comparable to an Iranian tea shop. The shape of the tea set offers a beautiful ode to traditional Iranian teaware designs. 

Glass tea cups

  1. Thai Cha Yen

The tea culture in Thailand is relatively new compared to countries like Japan or China. In fact, tea wasn’t a popular beverage outside the Thai-Chinese communities in Thailand. However, the story is pretty different now. Thailand created its own take on this classic beverage with its cha yen or Thai iced tea. 

Tea decor for Thai iced tea

An authentic Thai cha yen is made from a strong black tea of Ceylon tea or Assam tea leaves. The black tea is then blended with condensed milk, sugar, and other spices, including cinnamon, orange blossom, star anise, and tamarind. Cha yen has a signature orange colour as food dye is added to the tea leaves before serving the beverage with some ice cubes usually in a tall, glass cup. 

Tea glass with handle

If you want to impress your guests with some homemade Thai cha yen, use our glass jar and cup set to serve the delicious drink. The long and textured glass tea cups come with a handle, making them ideal for serving and drinking iced milk tea. The sophisticated and elegant design of the tea cup set can make the tea-drinking experience even more enjoyable for your guests. 

Glass tea jug

  1. Moroccan Maghrebi Mint Tea

Morocco considers tea as a symbol of hospitality for welcoming guests, which is an integral part of North African culture. In fact, refusing tea is considered downright rude in any Moroccan household. The Moroccan Maghrebi mint tea or Touareg tea is usually a blend of green tea (Gunpowder tea), mint leaves, and a generous amount of sugar. The preparation of the mint tea is called atai that’s almost like a ritualistic ceremony. 

Tall tea glasses

Once the tea is prepared, it’s poured from high up into tall, slim, patterned glasses and served three times to the guests. Each time the taste of the tea varies slightly because according to a Moroccan
proverb, “The first glass is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love, the third is as bitter as death.” 

Embossed Tall Water Glass Set

When such a profound philosophy is associated with the Moroccan tea culture, how can anyone resist offering some Maghrebi mint tea to their guests? We believe our Embossed tall water glass set can be just what you’re looking for. The beautiful engravings on these tall glasses go perfectly with any traditional Moroccan teaware for serving the Maghrebi mint tea.

Mint tea set


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