The Chinese have long recognized that drinking tea has many soothing qualities, and that having tea can both aid the digestion and take away some of the oiliness of the food, leaving a cleaner palate to better taste the different flavours in each dish, and a cleaner palate after the meal.
In Japan, the Chanoyu, or Traditional Tea Ceremony, is something akin to a ritual, lasting up to four hours. Just as the Japanese hold their gardens in special reverence, with each detail in the garden carefully laid out in defined patterns and positions, so too it is with their tea ceremonies, with each and every detail of the room and its arrangements and the sequence of events set out as a protocol to follow exactly. It is a tradition that has been passed down through generations. Elegant simplicity and cleanliness (wabi) make Japanese tea ceremonies a unique occasion balancing enjoyment with respect.
In Turkey, where East meets West in the city of Istanbul (originally called Constantinople) in tea houses like the Piyer Loti Tea House, tea is drunk from a special cruet cup, with the sounds of the bazaar and city muezzin creating their own exotic atmosphere.
Every country varies in the way that its people serve and drink tea.