Asian & European Tea Culture

Tea is a drink that has gained popularity over time and it remains as one of the most consumed beverages in the world. It is believed that it was first grown in China and after that it was adopted in other parts of the world. Today, Asia and Europe are among the largest consumers of this beverage and even with the introductions of other drinks such as alcohol and soft drinks, tea has still retained its popularity among many individuals.

Both cultures have their own unique way of preparing, serving and time that this beverage is consumed and as you look at both of them there are a few more things in addition to these that you will be able to gather. A comparison between Asian and European tea culture will reveal the following;

a) Tea sets used in Asia and Europe

Teapots of Asia

The kind of teapot used in the early days was small and had a wide spout and wide base. The wide spout ensured that the possibility of clogging was reduced. Tea pots were mainly used in Asia before they were finally introduced to Europe. Today the teapot has evolved and there are different designs and shapes available.

Teapots of Europe

Previously, open pans were used to boil tea and it was difficult to keep the beverage hot and allowing the leaves to infuse was not simple. To address this issue, ewers were adopted to serve as covered pots and in appearance they were something close to modern teapots.

The advent of teapots from Asia at the time of moving goods from this region to Europe is what led to the introduction of pottery in Europe. This revolution still bears its significance in the current day.

Since Asia serves as the region where tea originated from, Japanese green tea was also discovered here and it has been embraced by many throughout the world. It is said to have medicinal properties which are not contained in ordinary tea and also good for those with some health issues.

Tea bags in Europe

The tea bag in this region started out in the form of a chain and perforated metal container before it evolved into the current tea bag we have on our tables today. Generally, this is how tea is served in Europe.

Teabags in Asia

Though they may be popular elsewhere, teabags have not penetrated the Asian market yet. The inhabitants have seemed to keep to the traditional way of serving tea by boiling the leaves and serving it ready from teapots.

b) Tea drinking customs in Asia and Europe


From the ancient times people in this region prefer to enjoy tea in small numbers instead of having it with the multitudes. It is believed that the best way to enjoy this beverage is in a special environment such as out in the garden, by the springs, in small pavilions and temples of the olden times as well as in bamboo groves.

This can either be Japanese green tea (Matcha, Sencha, Genmaicha etc…) or any other variety that is available. For tea taken outdoors, Asians view this as an opportunity to appreciate nature.


The tea drinking custom of Europe is totally different from that of Asia with respect to various times when tea is taken.

Tea breaks

These have for long been common among the employed as well as casual labourers. Tea break served and continues to be a time for workers to interact and gain some energy to carry them for the rest of the day. Some would have a tea break in the morning and others would have it in the morning and afternoon as well.

Afternoon tea

In the early days this was the preserve of the rich who could afford tea then and was mainly served in ceremonies. Nowadays, afternoon tea is commonly taken in the tearooms of Europe. These facilities have been viewed as great places for family and friends to have time together due to the conducive environment they provide.

High tea

In this case, something extra was served more than just tea. High tea was preferred in cases where a hot meal was not easy to come by. Tarts, cold chicken, cakes, game/ham and salad were possible accompaniments in this case. It would mostly be served around dusk. Today, high tea is served with other accompaniments and it is more than just an afternoon tea.


As you may have realised, tea is a favourite beverage among the Asians and Europeans and each of these cultures have their own way of preparing and appreciating tea.