top places to visit for tea lovers
Food and Drink Travel

Top Places to Visit for Tea Lovers

Is there anything more inviting than a warm cup of tea? While some of us may be more coffee people, tea is an incredibly versatile and unique drink. It is also deeply rich in culture, seeing as it is the most ancient beverage known to man and the most popular drink in the world. The infusion possibilities are endless, as are the reasons for consuming tea. For some, it serves as a caffeine boost — for others, a gesture of hospitality and friendship. Tea lovers rejoice! Here are some of the top places to visit for tea lovers everywhere.

India

The vast country of India is an incredible tea destination. Locals can be seen drinking tea at any time of day and chai stands can be found on every street corner! Fun fact: Did you know that chai means tea in Hindi? So when we order chai tea in North America, we’re asking for “tea tea”!

One of the most popular cities in India is that of Darjeeling in West Bengal — it is home to some of the most beautiful tea plantations in the world! Darjeeling is mostly known for its exquisite black tea, but can also offer many green, white and oolong teas.

A slightly lesser-known region (but equally, if not more impressive) is Munnar. The Munnar Tea Gardens offer educational walking tours, tea tasting experiences as well as a museum to further maximize your visit. After spending several hours here, the gardens remind us that while tea plants provide us with delicious beverages, they also provide us with exceptional views!

Turkey

While Turkey should be on everyone’s travel bucket list for several reasons (hello nature, history and cuisine!), it should be close to the top if you’re also a tea lover. Simply put, the Turks love tea — it is their staple drink! It is typically sweet, black tea, meticulously prepared and served in beautifully curved glasses atop a small plate.

For an authentic experience, visit the Caykur Tea Garden in the province of Rize, which is considered to be Turkey’s tea capital, as its mild climate is ideal for tea plantations. As you’ll see, there won’t be a shortage of opportunities to sample the delicacy! From complimentary tea, while shopping in Istanbul, to infinite refills in a local’s home, you’ll soon understand why Turkey is one of the biggest tea-drinking nations in the world.

England

We couldn’t make a list of top tea destinations without mentioning the original creators of afternoon tea, could we? This tradition is widely attributed to Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford in the 1840s. She would get hungry between the hours of lunch and dinner and requested that tea, bread and cakes be brought to her. Eventually, this habit turned into a friendly social event for the upper class and quickly spread throughout homes in England. Fast-forward to the 21st century…Afternoon tea at the Ritz in London is one of the most popular dining experiences in the city and can take months to get a reservation! For similar experiences, you can try Claridge’s, The Savoy or Brown’s Hotel. Champagne is optional — scones are not! 

Japan

Last, but certainly not least — Japan is a must-see destination for those who love tea. And, if you love history and spiritual ceremonies, then you’re in for a treat! Tea was introduced to Japan from China in the 8th century and was mostly drank as a medicinal remedy amongst the upper class. Eventually, tea ceremonies became more popular for those of all socioeconomic statuses.

Arguably, one of the best places to experience a true, authentic Japanese tea ceremony is in Kyoto. Try Maikoya in downtown Kyoto or Camellia Flower close to Kiyomizudera Temple, where you’ll be guided through the entire experience and the delicate intricacies of tea ceremonies (you’ll even learn about the secret storage purpose of the kimono sleeve!).

Finally, if tea ceremonies aren’t your thing, Japan is also the home of the infamous matcha, otherwise known as green tea powder. While we may already be familiar with matcha lattes, you’ll discover matcha-flavoured everything in Japan!

By: Sacha Vincent-Toskin

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