Since it was first cultivated 5,000 years ago in China, tea has become one of the most popular beverages in the world—one with a rich history that spans continents and cultures. Today tea is revered for its pleasing taste and endless varieties, as well as its rejuvenating effects and health benefits.
Whether you prefer green, black, white or oolong—all types of tea that stem from the same plant, Camellia sinensis—tea is an excellent source of both disease-fighting flavonoids and antioxidants that help detoxify damaging free radicals in your body. Strong evidence links regular consumption of tea (two or more cups per day) with a reduced risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and possibly even prevention of cancer, not to mention its soothing properties.
Not only can sitting down with a cup of tea be relaxing—and good for you—it is also a valued social tradition observed in cultures all over the world. In many places, the ritual of the tea service is as important as the beverage itself. Here are some memorable ways to savour tea at Four Seasons hotels and resorts around the world.
Green tea in Hangzhou
Longjing, or “dragon well” tea, is the world-renowned green tea grown on the hillsides surrounding West Lake and throughout China’s Zhejiang Province. The bright emerald leaves are picked by hand, as they have been for centuries, and dried using a large metal wok in order to stop the fermentation process; this treatment gives the tea its distinct flavour. Enjoy a cup of longjing during the daily traditional tea service at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake, or head to the Spa for a one-of-a-kind Dragon Well and Jade Spring Ritual. After a bath containing the extract of 60,000 tea leaves, enjoy a body scrub, wrap and massage that all utilise the tea’s restorative properties.
At the Maarifa Cultural Centre at Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, take part in Morocco’s artistic and cultural offerings—including a mint tea ceremony. Throughout the country, the ritual is performed to welcome guests into one’s home; at the Centre, guests are taken through the elaborate ceremony, which involves steeping tea leaves and sugar in boiling water, then serving the tea with handfuls of fresh mint in small glasses. It’s a refreshing and hospitable way to enjoy Morocco’s beloved beverage.
Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai pays homage to local and global tea flavours with a Tea Connoisseur’s Delight menu at the Hotel’s Café Prato. Guests choose from blends sourced from India, such as Kashmiri kahwa from the Himalayan foothills or southern India’s Blue Mountain nilgri. Japanese sencha, African rooibos and herbal infusions fill out the menu.
Seattle may be known for its outstanding coffee, but discerning tea enthusiasts can now enjoy premium, single-origin whole-leaf tea at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. Partnering with TeaVert, a Seattle-based company that sources its tea leaves using sustainable cultivation practices, the Hotel is the first to introduce four of the company’s unique tea blends, now available in ART Restaurant. Each tea is presented with a handcrafted single-use tea infuser, made in the U.S. from a fully biodegradable, FSC-certified white birch raw veneer without the use of harmful chemicals.
Afternoon tea is a cultural institution in England, and Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is now offering a charming afternoon tea picnic—complete with a wicker basket filled with the proper British sandwiches, cakes and scones wrapped up in vintage tins, plus a half bottle of Bollinger Rosé Champagne. Each basket also includes a tea-brewing egg timer to ensure that the accompanying tea is served precisely to your liking. Enjoy your picnic on Amaranto Restaurant’s lovely landscaped terrace.
In a fun variation on tradition, One-Ninety Bar and Terraza by Javier de las Muelas at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore now offers a Cocktail Afternoon Tea Service, which joins the Classic and Champagne Afternoon Tea offerings on the menu. Choose your drink from the exclusive Diva Cocktail Collection, which features non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic-content beverages infused with ingredients like Darjeeling tea and ginger and named after powerhouse women such as Elizabeth Taylor. When they’re served in glass teapots, accompanied by an assortment of sweet and savoury bites, teatime has never looked (or tasted) better.
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