Though often linked with England, scones and clotted cream, a variety of rich legends about the origin of tea exist throughout Asia, highlighting its deep cultural ties to the continent. According to one Chinese legend, Emperor Shen accidentally made the first cup of tea nearly 5,000 years ago, when he was purifying water beneath the shade of a tea tree and a few dried leaves blew into his pot.
Here’s a brief glimpse at tea traditions across Asia:
First prospering during the Tang Dynasty and considered one of the seven Chinese necessities, tea has a storied history in China. Teahouses, tea ceremonies, and everyday tea are all elements embedded in Chinese culture. Green tea makes the most popular choice, prized for its health benefits. Notably, cups of tea in China are never served full – it’s considered impolite.
As the world’s second-largest tea grower, tea is popular throughout India, brewed both at home and at ubiquitous tea stalls. Masala chai, black tea with a blend of spices such as cinnamon, ginger and green cardamom, is traditionally served at breakfast and during the evening, with warmed milk and sugar.
Formal Japanese tea ceremonies date back to the 16th century, and are still practiced throughout the country. The secular rituals feature Matcha tea, a type of stone ground green tea, served in special ceramic ware and traditional Japanese sweets to balance the bitterness of the tea.
Afternoon Tea On Board
During your next voyage with Oceania Cruises, embrace the ancient tradition of tea and sample artisanal teas during Afternoon Tea from our signature tea collection, which in addition to classics such as English breakfast and Earl Grey, includes an array of more exotic black, herbal, green and white teas.
Madagascar vanilla, coconut slivers, luxurious, indulging
Spring lemongrass, soft ginger, balanced, invigorating
Hand-rolled green tea leaves, aromatic oils, grassy, stimulating
White Ginger Pear
Japanese pear, hint of ginger, exotic, alluring