The Best Teas Around the World and Where to Find Them
The list of teas to try is almost as long as the type of personalities who consume it. Some like it stronger than others, while others like it sweet. Well, take your kettle off and pack your bags cause we are serving up the best des-tea-nations any tea lover would enjoy.
China – Green Tea Longjing (Dragon Well) at Mid Lake Pavilion
If you’re in need of a break from your neighborhood artisanal cuppa, head over to China for a brew with a (kung fu) kick. With records of tea drinking dating back to 10th century B.C., China is the shīfu (master) when it comes to brews.
The most notable teas produced in China are green tea, oolong and Pu-Er. We suggest you start with the oldest and one of the most traditional teahouses in Shanghai – Mid Lake Pavilion. It sits in the center of Yu Gardens lake, and is surrounded by intricate stone and woodcarvings from the Ming Dynasty. It comes as no surprise that the establishment is often chosen for visiting dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II in 1986.
Address: 257 Yuyuan Road
Contact: +86 021 6373 6950
Kenya – Kericho Gold at Kenyan Highlands
Most people are unaware that Kenya grows tea. In fact, it’s one of the largest tea exporters in the world! Kenyans pride themselves on their chemical-free, top quality black tea.
Grown along the equator, Kenyan tea bushes receive 12 hours of sunlight all year-round, and since only the top leaves and buds are picked, their teas have higher levels of antioxidants. Kericho Gold, in particular, is grown on rich volcanic red soil, resulting in its rich flavor and bright golden color. Guided tours roam through the vast plantations along the Kenyan Highland, hunting out not lions and cheetahs, but for the finest brews.
Address: Kericho 20200, Kenya
India – Darjeeling at Nathmulls
Tea flourishes in tropical and subtropical environments; throw in excellent highlands, and you’ve got a nation made for tea production (967,000 tons per year to be exact). From chamomile to Darjeeling, and Assam to masala, India is a tea-riffic choice for tea-loving travelers!
For the road less traveled, take a trip to the Himalayas, where you will find the origins of Darjeeling tea in a town aptly named … Darjeeling. Enjoy a fresh cup of tea accompanied by the spectacular views of Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world.
Address: The Rink Mall, HD Lama Rd, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101, India
Contact: +91 354 225 7309
Japan – Green Tea at Taiho-an
Uji marks the tea capital of Japan, where green tea grows abundantly, and is incorporated into close to everything. From hand-crafted wooden boxes to soba noodles and ice-cream cones, Uji is as close it gets to green tea heaven.
That said, to fully understand the importance of drinking green tea, you must attend a traditional chanoyu (tea ceremony). Located conveniently across a Unesco Heritage site Byodo-in temple, Taiho-an is a quaint little tea house operated by the city government of Uji.
Within its walls are tiny tatami-matted rooms and kimono-clad women who will serve you with studied formality. The tea drinking ritual involves beautiful utensils, delicate pouring, and on your part, effusive appreciation and ¥1,200 in your pocket.
Address: 1-5, Togawa,Uji, Uji-shi
Sri Lanka – Silver Tip White Ceylon at Heritance Tea Factory
Sri Lanka is the fourth largest tea exporter in the world, satisfying the global demand of one of the world’s most popular tea: Black Ceylon.
However, Sri Lanka is also known to produce an exquisite and rare tea grown only in high altitudes ranging from 2,200m to 2,500m – White Ceylon. What makes this tea extremely rare is the fact that only slightly curved silver tea buds – just over an inch long (~2.5cm) – are picked to compose this tea, giving it a unique fruity light flavor with a honey-like aftertaste.
Located 13 km northeast of Nuwara Eliya, surrounded by tea plantation, sits the Heritance Tea Factory. Here, you can find authentic White Ceylon tea that will set you back $12.
Address: Kandapola Nuwara Eliya, 22200, Sri Lanka
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