The Art of Tea

The Art of Tea

Tea takes on a significant role in many different cultures. Let’s take a quick trip around the globe and deep dive into how different countries practice the art of tea.


In Senegal, drinking tea happens at big social events filled with lively conversation. The traditional Senegalese tea ceremony is called “ataya” and is a beautifully long process that allows for interactions. The ceremony involves three rounds of tea drinking. First up is a bitter tea meant to represent the start of life and the hardships that come with getting older. Second, is a round of sweet but still minty tea which is said to symbolize the pleasantness of middle age, love, and marriage. The third and final round is a weaker sugary tea meant to signify old age. Traditionally speaking, the ataya ceremony uses different stages of mint tea in all three rounds. For senegalese people, tea is a way to reflect and appreciate the stages of life.

Fun fact: Hibiscus tea in Senegal is called Bissap.


In Japan, tea drinking is a spiritual process focused on calming oneself. The process is about removing yourself from all the worries of the outside world which is why traditionally japanese families would have separate tea houses dedicated solely for the spiritual process of tea. The ceremony can take up to 4 hours involving three steps: a meal, a serving of thick tea, and a serving of thin tea. The ceremony master will prepare the tea for the guests and then place a cup in front of each guest when it is ready. Proper etiquette is to bow in gratitude both before and after drinking your tea as to show gratitude to your host. This whole ceremony is meant to make one appreciate the moment, themselves, and the people they are with. A common tea used in Japan is Matcha Tea.


In Nigeria, tea is a part of everyday life because it is so widely available. It can be a way to start off the day, gather yourself during the day, or share a moment with friends. Nigerians take hospitality very seriously wanting to make sure guests feel welcome and comfortable in their home. It is considered polite to say yes and drink something when it is offered. Usually tea comes with food, most commonly sweet and savory snacks. Those who can not afford snacks or just want company, will sit with the Mai Shayi (The Tea Man) to have an affordable cup of tea and some quick food. In the Northern Region, tea is enjoyed with sugar or honey. In the South Western Region, tea is enjoyed with lots of creamed milk and sugar. Black tea is the most common tea drink in Nigeria. 

Fun Fact: Hibiscus tea in Nigeria is called Zobo.


In Jamaica, people drink tea at home and it is always offered to guests. Tea drinking dates back to the Arawaks, the native inhabitants of the island. The island uses local herbs and bushes to make their teas. They also drink tea for medicinal purposes. Some people believe that it can ward off illness so they will have a cup to start off each day. A very popular form of tea is Jamaican Bush Tea which is made from dried leaves from different tea plants. 

Fun Fact: Hibiscus Tea in Jamaica is called “Te de Jamaica.”


Tea is a big part of social culture. It is offered to guests as a sign of being welcomed and showing hospitality. To prepare the tea they use a system known as 'caydnlik' which is a double tea kettle system. In order to end up with a frothy and flavor filled tea, the tea is poured back and forth between the two kettles. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, tea was introduced to Turkey through Turkish diplomats who traveled to China. As tea grew in popularity, it became the dominant hot beverage over coffee. They took what they knew from other countries and quickly integrated it into their culture, making it their own. A popular tea to drink in Turkey is Apple tea. 

Fun Fact: Hibiscus Tea in Turkey is called Serbet.

By Kelli Kamphaus and SOBA Team


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Love me some matcha tea

Bradley Hw

YES KELLI GREAT ARTICLE!!!!! 😋😋🤪🤪🤪🙏🙏🥳🥳😏😏


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