A relaxing and rejuvenating afternoon tea session is a universal experience shared by many around the world, with different countries and cultures having their own unique spin on this classic beverage.
There are approximately 1,500 types of tea, making it the most popular beverage in the world, second to water.  For Afternoon Tea Week, which falls on 07 August to 13 August, join us as we explore how tea is prepared around the world.
China is known as the nation that introduced the world to tea. According to legend, in 2737 BC, a Chinese emperor named Shen Nung invented tea by accident. He had been sitting beneath a tree with a servant who was boiling drinking water when some leaves from the tree fell into the hot cup, thus making the very first tea we now know today. 
Now, tea in China has become a staple; providing a serene break from the stresses of life and even helping the body heal from certain ailments. Take ginger tea for example. The Chinese use ginger tea as a home remedy to treat colds. If you’re not sick, you can even drink ginger tea to improve your blood circulation and promote a healthy Qi. 
Experience the calming and tummy-pleasing taste of NOW Foods Ginger Mint Comfort Tea! This Chinese staple is a great after-meal tonic with calming herbs to aid in digestion after a hearty meal!
Tea was introduced to Japan from China in the 700s but it wasn’t until the beginning of the Kamakura Period that tea really started to become popular. And by the Muromachi Period, tea had finally exploded in popularity among all social classes. 
Since then, tea has become a staple in Japanese life as well, giving way to time-honoured traditions like the Japanese tea ceremony. This ceremony, which is rooted in the principles of Zen Buddhism, is usually done by the host to bring harmony and inner peace to the guests by letting them focus only on the simple, transitory moment of serving and drinking tea, completely letting the outside world fall away in a moment of tranquillity. 
Though you may not know how to serve tea in the traditional ways of the Japanese tea ceremony, you can still enjoy a cup of calming green tea, which is the usual drink of choice for the ceremony. Try our NOW Foods Green Tranquillity and take a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of life!
Being the most popular hot beverage in India, tea is consumed daily in almost all homes. Indian tea, known widely as Chai, is served with milk as well as other fragrant spices such as cardamom and ginger. It is often sweetened and served with sweet and savoury biscuits.  This tea was originated in India almost 5,000 years ago as part of an alternative medicine option under Ayurveda, a natural system of medicine. 
For your own experience of Chai at home, simply steep a bag of NOW Foods Black Tea and mix it with whole milk, some sugar, cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick and some fresh ginger. This sweet, creamy and spicy tea is the perfect rainy-day drink as well, or for those slow days when you just want to unwind!
Egypt may not be top of mind when we think about countries with a love affair with tea but they’re pretty avid tea lovers as well! In fact, Egyptians consider tea their nation’s superior beverage, easily surpassing coffee in its popularity. Egypt consumes about 65,000 to 75,000 tons of tea , some of which include earl grey, green tea and chamomile.
The practice of drinking chamomile tea in Egypt dates back to 1550 BC, when its consumption was first documented. Drinking chamomile was a way to honour the gods, embalm the dead and even cure the sick.  Egypt may have since moved on from this nascent enjoyment of chamomile but you can still give a toast to the rich national background of the chamomile tea in Egyptian culture by enjoying a cup of NOW Foods Organic Chamomile Tea!
Of course, we can’t talk about tea without talking about the United Kingdom. Having colonised most of the world, the Brits were able to bring back many different resources to enjoy back to their homeland – some of those resources included tea leaves and the practice of steeping and drinking them with some hot water.
Tea was first introduced to England in the mid-1600s, originally by Portuguese traders, but at the time, it was merely a popular luxury item enjoyed by the wealthy. Even when Dutch traders got back from China with Chinese tea with them, the tea remained a coveted beverage only among the upper classes. Until in the early 19th century, the British East India Company began to cultivate tea in India as a way to weaken China’s monopoly in the tea trade. This move was a success as the strong black tea of choice from India became much more popular with the British taste. 
Today, Brits enjoy their black tea with a splash of milk and a teaspoon or two of sugar. Have a nice little British afternoon tea session by grabbing your NOW Foods Black Tea and adding a spot of milk and sugar in your cup!