Tea is a staple drink, whether it is milk tea, ginger-infused or masala tea – around 2.16 billion cups of tea is consumed every day all over the world. It is the aroma, colour, taste, and aesthetics of tea that satisfies our senses in many shades.
The tradition of drinking tea has established its popularity into social events and cultures of most nations. There is more to tea than just our conventional tea leaves.
Here are some eccentric teas produced around the world:
Yak butter tea - aka - "Po Cha"
It is not as intimidating as it sounds. Po Cha is a traditional Tibetan drink that is made by using fermented yak butter as the key ingredient. This tea has a practical purpose - to beat the cold of high altitudes and give much-needed energy. It is made from pu'erh tea and unlike black, green, or white tea, the pu'erh tea is fermented.
The fermented yak butter tea takes hours to prepare; the dark pu'erh tea has to be brewed for hours with salt, which is then added to a bowl consisting of yak butter and sometimes, toasted barley and milk curds. The tea is then stirred or shaken to a creamy consistency which has a nutty after taste.
Panda dung tea
No, you will not be drinking panda poo so get that "thought" out of your head. It is one of the famous tea leaves grown in China and is known for the use of panda poo as a fertiliser. The panda dung tea has a mature nutty taste and it gives away a distinctive bamboo aroma while it is brewing. You might not like the picture that pops up in your head while thinking of this tea but is looks as normal as any other green tea.
It is not just a unique method of plantation but also and efficient one; pandas' poop around 40 times in a day! Yes, that is right. What better way could there be to dispose of excrements of China's national treasure? On top of that, 50g of this tea will cost you only $3500, making it one of the most expensive teas in the world.
Bug poop tea
Now this one is exactly as it sounds! Costing as much as gold, this is not for the faintest hearts - this tea is actually poop of insects who are fed tea leaves and then their feces are collected using magnifying glasses and tweezers and then turned into tea bags.
Once you get over the idea that you are drinking bug poop that is when you actually taste this tea. It has a smooth texture with a mellow twang to it. Put the poop-soup to your lips and it will taste like the best shit you ever tasted.
But besides the expensive and the traditional teas out there, what I found most odd was the garlic tea. If you read it right, then read it again. Not ginger tea but garlic: "Roshun er cha". The garlic tea has many health benefits and if you have not had enough of garlic then make some tea out of it my friend - it is better than chewing raw garlic.
There are around 3,000 different types of tea and the creation of tea infusions has taken this culture to the next level. On International Tea Day, let us enjoy the perfect cup of tea (whichever you like) and truly be thankful to the people who grow, process, and sell tea.