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Tea Time: How The World Drinks Its Favourite Beverage

Tea is the most consumed beverage next to water. Here's how the world drinks it
Mint tea at sunset, Marrakesh, Morocco
Laurie Noble via Getty Images
Mint tea at sunset, Marrakesh, Morocco

How do you take your tea? It’s a personal choice, yes, but often also a cultural one. Tea is the world’s most consumed beverage next to water, and we all have our individual ways of enjoying our cup of tea. In some countries green tea is more common than black while in others iced tea is more prevalent than hot.

So here’s a look at the various ways tea tends to be consumed around the world:

United Kingdom

When we think tea, we often think of the Brits. Though the U.K. is not a tea-producing country, black tea has been since Princess Catherine of Braganza brought her obsession with the beverage to the English court in the 1600s. The British tend to steep black tea either loose or in a teabag and serve it with milk and the option of sugar.


Green tea is the most popular tea in Japan, often enhanced with roasted brown rice or other flavours. Most people have heard of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies where powdered green tea (matcha) is served through traditional rituals. These ceremonies are still an important part of Japanese culture, but for the day-to-day most Japanese simply enjoy their brewed green tea in small Japanese teacups, often with a mid-day snack.


No country drinks more tea than China. Tea has been a huge part of life in China for thousands of years and many types (green, black, white, oolong, jasmine, and others) are popular on the mainland. Teahouses are very common in China, where tea is generally drunk hot and without any milk or sugar.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong residents drink many types of Chinese tea, they also enjoy a specialty beverage called “pantyhose” or “silk stocking” tea. This iced milk tea made with black tea and condensed or evaporated milk is named after the sackcloth bag used to filter the tea, which resembles women’s sheer stockings.


People in India don’t just drink a lot of tea; the country is also the world’s second largest producer of tea after China. Masala Chai is a particularly popular tea preparation in India. It’s a black tea served with milk, sugar, and spices like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon.


Moroccan tea, also known as Maghrebi Mint Tea, is green tea with lots of mint leaves added in. The tea is sweetened with sugar and traditionally poured from a silver pot at fairly great height into small clear glasses.

Southern United States

Americans drink tea in many ways, but when you get to the Deep South, it’s all about the iced tea. Specifically, “sweet tea,” which is a strong brewed tea with sugar and lemon and a little bit of baking soda to cut the bitterness.


The Turkish drink more tea per capita than any nation in the world. Turkish tea is brewed to be quite strong and is not usually served with milk. Traditionally served in tulip-shaped glasses, “cay” as it’s called in Turkey, is often prepared with two cubes of sugar.


Tibetan butter tea, also known as Po Cha, is brewed for a long time — up to half a day so that it’s strong and dark brown in colour. Traditionally, the tea is then churned with yak butter to produce a drink that’s both warming and nourishing, giving the drinker needed calories to navigate Tibet’s mountain terrain.

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