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Tea Ceremonies from around the world!

Japanese Tea Ceremony (also called the ‘Way of Tea’)

The tea used :

There are 2 varieties of powdered green tea or ‘matcha’ in this ceremony, namely :

  • Thin Tea (called ‘usucha’)
  • Thick Tea (called ‘koicha’)  which requires about three times as much tea to the equivalent amount of water as sucha.
About the ceremony :


Influenced by Zen Buddhism, the Japanese tea ceremony brings people together in the spirit of harmony and respect. The more formal ceremony lasts for several hours, with the tea served in fine pottery, porcelain and lacquer, along with a traditional light meal (called tenshin) or kaiseki (a multi-course meal of seasonal specialties).

Where to find it :

The Kitano New York Hotel’s Michelin-rated Japanese restaurant, Hakubai, offers a thin tea ceremony on traditional tatami mats with shoji screens throughout the day. Led by tea master Fujuko Sasaki, the ceremony includes a traditional tenshin, complete with sashimi, soup, grilled fish, steamed egg custard and pickles.

Chinese Tea Ceremony (also called the ‘Art of Tea’)

The tea used :




Oolong teas.

The ceremony :

Influenced by Taoism, this ritual called Gōngfu Chá (meaning tea with great skill) involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of the tea leaf in half a dozen clay tea pots and cups, served in a bamboo box. The clay is so porous that it absorbs the oils of the teas. There is no food involved.

Where to find it :

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas offers a very authentic Gōngfu Chá between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The purple clay used in their unglazed Yixing pots comes from an area outside Shanghai and are filled with Imperial Spring Dragonwell tea.

English Afternoon Tea Ceremony

The tea used :

Mostly black tea served with milk and sometimes lemon or sugar.

The ceremony:

Legend has it that in 1865, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, the lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, experienced a sinking feeling one afternoon and asked her footman to deliver some tea with bread and butter to her private room at The Langham Hotel in London. She found this new meal so enjoyable that she soon started inviting her special friends to join her for Afternoon Tea, which evolved to include elaborate selections of sandwiches, scones, muffins, cakes, biscuits etc.

Where to find it :

Posh hotels in the USA  offer afternoon tea, though history buffs will revel in the original at the Langham hotels in Boston, Chicago and Pasadena, Calif. The Afternoon Tea by Wedgwood — each hotel serves a combination of teas produced by Wedgwood and their own Langham Blend — is served post-lunch, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., on their exclusive Langham Rose pattern china on tiered silver and brass serving trays, often with a glass of Champagne.

Tea in Turkey

The tea used :

Turkish tea (cay) is loose leaf black tea brewed in a copper kettle called a samovar. The tea can range from light to dark, and is poured and lighted with hot water to the individual drinker’s taste. Though sugar and lemon are sometimes added, milk is never used.

The ceremony:

Though the Turks don’t have an official tea ceremony , tea is considered an art in the country — it’s the most commonly drunk hot drink, and is served every morning with breakfast.  The practice of serving tea is a part of turkish hospitality.

Where to find it :  Ankara in Washington D.C. for a bona fide Turkish tea service, complete with samovar and tulip-shaped glasses, which are very common in Turkey . Offered as part of the restaurant’s Turkish breakfast, weekend brunch, and with lunch and dinner, the tea is often served with pastries and light foods like poagca, a homemade crescent shaped roll filled with cheese.

Russian Tea

The tea used:

Black tea, often sweetened with raw sugar cubes and spiked with lemon.

The ceremony:

The Russian tea ceremony is more symbolic than technical, as it’s not drunk at a particular time of day; rather tea is the drink of choice throughout the day and a symbol of friendship. Thanks to a treaty with China where tea was traded for furs, tea has now become the national drink of Russia, often served in fine bone china cups or glass tea holders (called podstakannik), along with cookies (pryaniks), mini bagels (sushki), Blini (crepes), sandwiches with fish, caviar, meat and cheese, cakes and jam.

Where to find it :

Named for the sharing of tea among friends and family, Russian Tea Time in Chicago offers an authentic tea presentation throughout the day, plus an Afternoon Tea Time daily (2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.), where guests can choose a tea to be served with a tier of savory mini sandwiches, crepes and desserts.


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