Sometimes you need to break the circle of coffee in your life, hard and difficult, considering the universal love for the beverage and try other effective and amazing drinks in the world as well, which will surely appease your taste buds and challenge your love of coffee!
Why: A country as vast and diverse as India is amazingly bound by the love of masala chai. Starting from the swanky clad suits in the IT firms of Bangalore to the dhoti-kurta clad politicians in Delhi to the fashion conscious and urbane hip crowd of Mumbai, everyone loves to have a sip of the flavoursome masala chai. Hot milk, fresh tea leaves, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon creates a special strong flavoured tea which satiates your mind, body and spirit.
Why: Argentinians have a special love for Mate, which has entered the national consciousness. Sharing Mate with friends and family is a daily custom and in fact, Argentinians consumed more mate than coffee. Dried yerba leaves are shaken into a gourd and mixed with hot water and is consumed with a metallic straw known as ‘bombilla’. Remember always keen to accept Mate and be ready to pass it around. Sharing Mate is an act of friendship and respect in Argentinian society.
Why: A land famous for its consumption of vodka, Sbiten is a prominent drink on the Russians table. A strong drink which comes in handy in tackling the extreme and hard Russian winters. Honey, berry jam and crushed clover and thyme are boiled in a copper vessel known as ‘Samovar’ to make Sbiten which has been in practice, since 12th century and is working wonders for the sturdy Russians to counter the chilly winds and harsh winters. Nowadays, sbiten recipes are including a shot of vodka to give it more punch.
Why: The mint tea is another unique aspect of Morocco; a land which has for centuries, defined orientalism and exoticism. The visitors are often greeted by a show of pouring mint tea from a dramatic height into the beautifully decorated metallic glasses without perfect precision. This display of tea dropping from heights actually cools the liquid and perfectly settles down in your glasses. Enjoy the beverage which is made by boiling fresh mints and generous sugar with water and has medicinal properties. Mint tea is an important part of Moroccan society and you need to honour it by accepting with grace while haggling in the local markets or visiting your friend’s place.
Why: The vibrant and urbanely hip Taiwan is perhaps, best complimented by bubble tea which has enjoyed an increase in popularity in its 30 years of existence. The process is simple, blend of condensed milk and hot black tea with a helping of tapioca pearls, leading to an amazing beverage. New flavours like watermelon, strawberries, and chocolates along with new flavours are being experimented with the bubble tea, and is served chilled.
Why: A drink which originated sometimes during the Inca civilization and is one of the most interesting items of this unique South American country. Bright magenta, sweet and think soupy beverage is made of purple corn syrup blended with cinnamon, cloves, sugar and hot water and freezing in the chilly Bolivian air, makes it a popular breakfast drink. Nowadays, api morado is also experimenting with lemon, pineapple and other regional fruits and have excellent health benefits.
Why: Extreme altitude and barren landscape of Tibet is best survived with the traditional Po Cha also known as butter tea. The process in itself is a difficult task and involves black tea steeped for hours before churned with butter from yaks and served with salt; the drink gives you energy to survive and travel in the difficult landscape of Tibet. It is also a ritual for the locals who filled the empty cups with after each sip. At first, it will be difficult to gulp down but remember the necessary need to consume Po Cha to avoid the effects of high altitude and thin air.
Why: Even though Turkey has acquired a reputation for its brand of coffee, Sahlep is one of the cultural highlights of the country. Sahlep is widely available in the country and has a link with the Romans of the antiquity. Hot sweet milk infused with orchid root powder with a slight floral taste and smell is best enjoyed in Turkey. However, touristy spin offs and cheap imitations are spoiling the reputation of Sahlep. Therefore, take the help of locals to know about the places where you can get authentic Sahlep which is a sensory delight just like the entire country.
Why: Tea has been a long cultural symbol of China and forms a key element of social interaction. Tieguanyin is considered the best tea among the several other teas available in China. Made by boiling special teal leaves in hot water, it is served with traditional bone china tea bowls. Remember to tap your fingers on the table to express gratitude to your tea server and always fill the cup of your friend before filling your cup.
Why: Dutch love Anijsmelk, a beverage widely consumed and on all occasions, be it the beautiful and colourful summers or the snowy winters. This sweetened milk drink filled with aniseed and with a smoky, herbal flavour seems to bring nostalgic memories for most Dutch. You can also buy aniseed-flavoured sugar cubes and savour it while strolling in the beautiful streets of Amsterdam or other charming cities of Netherlands.
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