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Tea is much more than just another drink. It is almost a part of culture in several societies across the world. India is one country, among many others, where tea is well integrated in our culture. The consumption of tea around the world, from the British Isles through India and China, is steeped in many rituals. While some serve important social functions some reasons may be trivial. And then there are some rituals that are followed because they have been followed that way ever since, based upon sheer tradition with no explainable or implied reason.

While there are several rituals associated with tea, we would like to point out that they are by no means the definitive rituals. There is no single way to enjoy tea. As long as the emphasis is on the personal enjoyment of this delightful beverage, how each person approaches it surely doesn’t really matter?

Tea Parties are quite common across different countries.

Japan, for instance is one country where tea rituals or tea ceremonies are popular. This is a small course of hospitality that some confectionaries and a light meal, all centered on tea. This is a way of socializing with family and friends.

Tea parties are held in several countries where the host invites a select set of friends over tea and snacks and socialize. This is often popular among housewives in several countries and usually held sometime late in the afternoon.

High Tea often follows some function. In this, tea is accompanied by snacks which is served to all those who gathered for the function. This usually accompanies the events that are held between 5-7 PM.

Of course, these rituals and occasions represent only limited occasions of tea use. A lot of tea is consumed outside this – be it an office break or having a surprise guest or bumping into an old acquaintance and many more!

Is There Something Called a Perfect Tea?

People have very different ideas about tea. Some like it strong and dark with milk and lots of sugar while some like it pale and fragrant without either milk or sugar.

The way a Malaysian Indian Muslim may like his tea prepared and served may be very different from that preferred by a Malaysian Chinese.

People in Sikkim, a tea-producing state in north-east India like tea with… quite unbelievably... salt!!

Tibetans like it served with rancid yak butter!

And then there are people with different palette. Some like tea with less milk some like tea with more sugar and so on. While some like tea with a tinge of ginger (adrak waali chai!) or cardamom (elaichi) while some like it with basil leaf (tulsi) or even safarron (kesar)

What is important is to know how to make tea to suit your own taste. In this respect two things are vital:

- Your choice of tea (types of tea)

- The way you prepare it (iced tea or hot tea)

Along with different types of people you come across, you can even come across different types of tea habits & preferences.

If you observe closely, several people exhibit some quirks in their tea habits. Probably this represents different kinds of quirks in human beings!

 
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