Scented, aromatic and elegant — here are 7 destinations for tea lovers, an ancient beverage steeped in history and tradition.
We know that, like us, there are plenty of travelers out there who believe there’s no better way to travel than through the flavors and aromas of a destination. We’ve taken a look at some of the world’s most bizarre foods,best gourmet shops as well as some spiked hot tipples to cozy up with during the winter, but we haven’t talked about tea, the true beverage king.
Cozy, aromatic, warm but light, tea is suitable for every moment of the day, every season and every kind of accompanying food. Plus, tea is also the protagonist of ancient rites and traditions in different cultures. Therefore, he’s a look at seven destinations for tea lovers.
1. Uji, Japan
Let’s start from Japan, where the tradition of tea is expressed in a very precise ritual: the ceremony’s guest of honor must first admire and contemplate the beauty of everything around him or her, starting with the chawan cup. This ceremony is rooted in a Zen Buddhism philosophy based on the principle of the search for beauty in all things, and contemplation. As far as the raw material is concerned, Uji, near Kyoto, is one of the country’s oldest matcha producers. The powdered green tea that seems to have incredibly beneficial properties, and has now conquered even the passionate tea drinkers in the West. Uji’s matcha tea plantations are open to the public and of course, you can also test the product on site.
2. San Miguel, Azores Islands
The Gorreana tea farms on San Miguel island in the Azores is an unexpected tea destination known by true connoisseurs. It seems that the first tea plants arrived from Brazil in the early 19th century and since then, tea growers have specialized in just one type of tea that varies in aroma depending on the processing. Broken Leaf is a persistent tea, Orange Pekoe has a rounder and lighter aroma, while Hysson is made from steam processing. Gorreana is open to visitors, and you can even take home a fragrant souvenir.
Even British afternoon tea is, in fact, a real ritual. Black tea with milk coupled with an array of both sweet and savory appetizers, preferably served in an ancient and elegant atmosphere. There are many places in London where you can enjoy afternoon tea suited to various budgets and tastes—there are even some geared toward the young’ uns. Afternoon tea in London is a must-have experience for all tea lovers.
4. Rize, Turkey
Another tea that boasts a tradition in its own right is Turkish tea. This strong black tea is prepared by dipping it in a double teapot and then served in a glass with a very particular shape. Tea lovers can add Rize to the list of places to visit as it is one of the largest tea producers in the Middle East.
5. Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
A former English colony, Sri Lanka’s favorable climate has made it an important destination on the tea producers’ map. Nuwara Eliya is even called “Little England” and the tradition of Tamil gatherers is very interesting to discover. The most exported tea is Ceylon, with its round taste and golden color.
6. Darjeeling, India
India as a whole is an incredible tea destination, and Darjeeling is said to produce around 25% of India’s tea. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal, Darjeeling is known for its green, white, black and oolong teas. The Happy Valley Tea Estate, established in 1850, is open to visitors and makes for a memorable experience—though it might be a little unbecoming during Monsoon season (June – September), if your schedule permits, plan your trip for another time of year.
We said tea is good in any season, and we mean it! One of the perfect destinations for (cold) tea lovers is, in fact, Taiwan, where Bubble Tea was invented in the 80s. Legend says that a tired woman who, bored during a work meeting, dropped her tapioca cake in the tea to try something different and have some fun. The result of this experiment was so enjoyable that today there are so many versions of Bubble tea with so many different flavors and combined with so many flavors of gelatinous tapioca pearls.