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Art of Tea or Tea Culture-
Referring to the methods of preparation of tea, the equipment used to make and to serve tea, and the occasions in which tea is consumed and enjoyed, is describing the variant tea culture in many countries of the World. Each culture has its own tea ceremonies, traditions for tea brewing, serving, and drinking, ways of gathering around tea table...
In many cultures tea is consumed at elevated social events such as afternoon tea and tea parties.
In Chinese and Japanese cultures they have tea ceremonies that employ different brewing techniques and ritualized protocol of tea serving.
Some cultures take it with milk and sugar, some with spice. The temperature and strength of the tea varies widely as well.
In the Middle East as well as in Turkey tea is not only the beverage of social gatherings, but also the drink around the clock.
In many cultures teas are served after every meal. Different variations of tea with added spices (cardamom and alike) and nuts (pistachios) are served in special occasions such as weddings.
In the US and Canada tea is consumed cold -sometimes sweetened- with ice. New flavors are added to teas and iced teas such as lemon, peaches, jasmine etc.
In India declared as a national drink the chai tea is made with milk and is widely consumed everywhere in daily life.
In the UK the tea is the cultural beverage and the afternoon tea is consumed with cakes on fine porcelain.
Chinese Tea Culture and Chinese Tea Ceremony
In China tea is consumed regularly, and Chinese Tea Culture is very much different than Europe, Britain, or Japan. The preparation and tasting methods as well as the occasions when you drink it are distinct. For instance offering a cup of tea is a sign of respect. Pouring tea for someone is also making an apology. Even though rules are changing in the modern Chinese society, in a formal set-up a higher ranking individual never serves tea to a lower ranking individual.
For families going to restaurants and drinking tea become an important activity for family gatherings and holiday entertainment. The bride and groom at their wedding ceremony kneel down and serve tea to their parents to show their gratitude for bringing them up. Drinking tea at wedding ceremonies also symbolizes acceptance into the family and meeting all extended family members.
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In China tea in addition to being a drink is also a medicine and a culinary ingredient.
The traditional Chinese tea ceremony uses a large quantity of tea with a small amount of hot water poured over several times. The practice of throwing out the first pot of tea in the traditional tea ceremony is ostensibly to “wash” the tea but has no scientific basis; and it seems it results in the best flavored tea being discarded leaving a slightly weaker flavor when the same leaves are used in the succeeding teas.
Chinese traditional culture is intrinsically related with Chinese tea culture. Tea is often associated with literature, arts, and philosophy. Tea as a self-cultivation means is also tightly integrated in Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Japanese Tea Ceremony or chanoyu (hot water for tea in Japanese), is more than just drinking tea; it is a spiritual experience that embodies harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. The host may prepare extensively for the event, practicing hand movements with great detail. It may be performed in the home, a special tea room, in a tea house or even outdoors.
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Largest Producers of Tea
The largest producers of tea are the People's Republic of China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.
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World's Greatest Tea Consumers
India is the world's largest tea-drinking nation, although the per capita consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams per person every year. Turkey with 2.7 kg of tea consumed per person per year (in 2010), remains the world's greatest per capita consumer, followed by Ireland (2.7 kg) and the UK (2.1 kg).
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