How to Brew Tea from Different Parts of the World
Tea, after water, is the most popular drink in the world. It’s drunk all over the world, from the most 7 billion kilos consumed a year in China to the 6 cups per day in Turkey, from the hillsides of India to your office kitchen.
Because it’s so globally popular, different parts of the world have developed their own specialities and their own methods for brewing tea.
Here at the Indian Tea Company, we thought it would only be right to run you through the right ways to brew teas from different parts of the world, so that the next time you’re asked to whip up a zavarka, you won’t be left absolutely baffled.
Matcha Tea – Japan
Matcha tea is a type of tea that is typically prepared in Japan, and has been since 1191. A powdered tea, the preparation and drinking of which has been important in Buddhist culture for centuries, is experiencing something of a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
To brew matcha, it’s ideal to have a matcha tea set, which usually consists of a sieve, bowl and a whisk. You can, of course, make do without.
Start by sifting your matcha powder into a bowl through your sieve, in order to break up any clumps, and then add around 60 or 70 millilitres of hot water, just under boiling point. Whisk the mixture vigorously until it becomes frothy, and enjoy straight from the bowl!
Zavarka – Russia
Whilst the Russians’ love of vodka might be more well-renowned, they’re also a huge tea drinking country. The way the Russians have traditionally brewed tea involves making a strong tea concentrate known as zavarka, before adjusting the balance to taste with hot water.
Start by bringing water to the boil and adding it to a pot filled with one tablespoon of black tea per cup. Fill the pot until the leaves are just covered, and then brew for around fifteen minutes until you are left with a strong, concentrated pot of tea, or zavarka.
You might want to add a little sweetener to your tea at this point – in Russia they traditionally use jam or honey. Then, add plain hot water to each tea cup, before adding your zavarka, to taste, in each cup.
Oolong Tea – China
China has an incredible variety of teas to choose from, so it’s impossible to narrow down one main type of tea to brew from this part of the world. However, oolong tea preparation is an ancient art which can produce unique results every time, so we at the India Tea Company thought this would be a great variety to walk you through.
Brewing methods also vary from place to place, so we’ll take you through the proper (the Asian) way of brewing, so that you know how to make oolong tea like a master.
Start by choosing your brewing vessel, in China this would be a yixing teapot or a gaiwan, a bowl without handles, and complete with a lid, of course, any teapot will do, but it’s recommended that using one teapot per type of tea is ideal, so as not to contaminate the flavours of each tea variety.
It’s important to achieve the right ratio of oolong leaves to water. Two tablespoons of loose leaf oolong is about right for around every 200 millilitres of water. Boil filtered or spring water, and allow it to cool for a minute, before filling your yixing teapot, your gaiwan or your teapot about half way, swilling the water around, and discarding (keep the leaves) to clean the leaves and open up the flavours.
Then, fill your cup and allow to brew for anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes, depending on your taste.
Cay – Turkey
Turkey is the biggest consumer of tea per capita in the world, and drinking tea is an absolute cornerstone of society. So, it’s only right that we take you through the method for making the perfect cup of ‘cay’, pronounced chai, in honour of the biggest tea drinkers on earth.
The Turkish people traditionally use a strong black tea, and begin by pouring around 60 millilitres of hot water into a small pot. Add 5 tablespoons (yes 5) of tea leaves to the pot, and pop a lid on. Then, fill a large teapot with water, and bring it to the boil with the small pot on top of the larger one.
When the water in the large teapot is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and leave for five minutes so that the heat reaches the leaves in the small pot – do not be tempted to put your small pot directly on the stove, especially in front of a Turkish person!
Transfer a good amount of water from the large teapot into the smaller one, and fill your larger one with additional water, before placing them both back on the stove, the smaller once again on top of the large pot. Once again bring the large pot to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, and then leave for 10 to 15 minutes.
Once the tea has brewed fill a quarter of each glass (in Turkey the traditional drinking vessel is a slender glass) with the strong tea mixture, before topping up each glass with boiled water from the larger pot.
Masala Chai – India
Another home of tea, how could the Indian Tea Company write a blog about brewing tea without mentioning a good Indian tea. Again, there are a huge number of different teas commonly drunk in India, so we’re going to quickly run through how to make a masala chai, a sweet, spicy, and creamy tea that is becoming more and more popular in different parts of the world.
For an easy chai masala tea, you’ll need black tea (preferably loose leaf), milk, sweetener and your spices. In this recipe we’ll use cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, but there are countless variations you can use.
Start by slightly crushing your spices in a pestle and mortar to release the flavour, then add them to a pan of water with grated ginger. Leave it to simmer for 15 minutes, before adding your black tea and milk. Heat this for a while then strain and serve, for a comforting, warming drink you’re sure to love.
English Breakfast – UK
Finally, the classic English Breakfast. Probably the easiest in the list, probably the least authentic, but undeniably comforting and an essential part of British living.
Boil your kettle. Chuck a teabag (take a look at our selection of teas here) into your mug, and pour the freshly boiled water onto you bag. Leave it to brew for about a minute and a half, before removing the bag and adding a small drop of milk. Stir. Enjoy.
Obviously, you’re sure to find people who will want to have a debate on how to make a tea, but we know this is the right way.
However you enjoy your tea, whether you’re an oolong connoisseur or a fan of a weak milky steaming mug, at the Indian Tea Company, we believe the best way to brew tea is your way. But enjoy our list of brews from different parts of the world, and have a go at brewing them yourself!
You never know, you might just find yourself opening up a whole new world from the standard English Breakfast.