Tea is a drink that brings people together and that is deeply ingrained in our cultures. In Europe this is no different, and European tea plays an important part in the social lives of many European countries.
Tea first came to Europe in 1610 from the Dutch East India Company which had bases in Indonesia and Japan to facilitate trade with Eastern countries. Jars of Japanese and Chinese tea came with each shipment and within a few years European tea had become highly fashionable though expensive among high society at the Hague. At first this cost hundreds of dollars for a single cup, but by 1675 it was being sold in grocery stores.
Since this time European tea has gained popularity and is now consumed across many European countries. ‘Tea culture’ refers to the way that tea is prepared and enjoyed, and this varies between European countries.
In Russia, European tea is enjoyed out of a glass holder which is often quite ornate and made from silver, gold, brass or nickel. Ukraine, Belarus and other countries enjoy tea the same way. European tea is enjoyed here as a family event, served after each meal with sugar and lemon as opposed to milk. Poland and other Eastern European countries also enjoy European tea with lemon rather than with milk.
In Turkey meanwhile, European tea is produced on the Eastern Black Sea cost. Turkish tea is made very strong and served in a very small glass (the size of an espresso) to show off the dark color and to ensure it is consumed hot, often with lumps of betroot sugar. Turkish tea is known as ‘Rize Tea’ and is a very important social drink in the place of alcohol or coffee and is used in transactions and as a way to show hospitality (taken very seriously).
In Germany the region of East Friesland is known for its regular consumption of tea and popular tea culture. Strong Assam, Java, Ceylon, Sumatra or Darjeeling tea is served whenever there are visitors in this region with heavy cream. A spoon is provided for signaling when the guest has had enough tea, rather than for stirring. France meanwhile is better known for its coffee drinking rather than European tea, however afternoon tea is a popular habit among the upper classes.
The UK however has the second largest consumers of tea per capita in the world and each individual consumes on average 2.1kg of tea per year. This dates back to the 19th century where India was part of the British empire. Tea is enjoyed black, often with milk, and often with sugar. It is used to facilitate social gatherings, to increase energy and concentration during work, and even to relax in the evening. ‘Tea breaks’ are included at work by many employers and even in cricket (called thus regardless of whether any tea is actually consumed). Tea in England can also be enjoyed with biscuits that are ‘dunked’ into the tea (rich tea biscuits) or with scones and jam for ‘afternoon tea’.
This post was written by admin on July 2012