Drinking Tea in the Philippines: A Brewing Revolution

News > Drinking Tea in the Philippines: A Brewing Revolution
pouring ginger tea in a glass kettle into a cup - drinking tea in the philippines.

Coffee reigns supreme in the Philippines, and it’s no shocker. Spanish rule instilled a love for chocolate drinks while the Americans introduced Filipinos to the wonders of coffee. Drinking tea in the Philippines? It’s not as popular as coffee, but tea is fast gaining ground.

Coffee beans practically grow on trees here, with each region boasting unique, aromatic blends. That’s one of the reasons why tea hasn’t quite reached the status of a pantry staple. It’s traditionally relegated to medicine in Filipino kitchens. Many Filipinos still consider tea an herbal remedy for various ailments, not a beverage for pure enjoyment.

The Growing Popularity of Tea in the Philippines

Even though coffee still dominates the Philippine beverage market, tea is quietly brewing a revolution in Filipino hearts. Euromonitor reports a surge in drinking tea in the Philippines, particularly among the health-conscious. This movement goes beyond just health benefits. While Filipinos don’t typically hold tea ceremonies, more and more are embracing the art of loose-leaf brewing.

Across the archipelago, Filipinos are riding a new wave of tea appreciation. Milk tea shops with mile-long queues and swanky tea salons offering exquisite leaves are a testament to this shift. Home brewing is also gaining traction. Stores are making it easier for Filipinos to invest in tea press cups, infusers, and strainers.

With all the hype surrounding tea consumption in the Philippines, tea fans have discovered their favorites. Some enjoy convenient bottled iced tea (a distant cousin to real tea), while others go for medicinal brews. Some others prefer luxurious offerings in tea salons. Despite these varied preferences, there’s a clear trend – Filipinos are increasingly embracing tea.

Unlike its neighbor China, the Philippines doesn’t cultivate Camellia sinensis, the plant used for black and green tea. But Filipinos are resourceful. They’ve embraced tisanes, herbal infusions made from local plants.

Think of salabat (ginger tea), a fiery friend that chases away chills and soothes a scratchy throat. Then there’s tanglad (lemongrass tea), with its citrusy kick, perfect for a hot summer day. And for a taste of the tropics, pandan tea infuses your cup with a sweet, grassy aroma. Sambong tea aids in digestion while lagundi tea is a natural decongestant.

Drinking tea in the Philippines is definitely on the rise. Here are the popular tea brands that you can find in stores all over the country:

  • Lipton: Known worldwide, this brand offers a variety of teas, including classic black tea and herbal blends.
  • Twinings: This British brand offers a wide range of teas, from Earl Grey to chamomile.
  • Stash: The brand provides diverse flavors, including green tea, chai, and fruity infusions.
  • Gold Leaf: This local brand offers quality teas, including black and jasmine green.
  • Teapigs: Known for their whole-leaf teas, Teapigs offers unique blends and flavors.
  • Nutrabliss: This brand focuses on wellness; its herbal teas provide various health benefits.
  • ABS Charagen: This Filipino brand features a variety of teas, including herbal and fruit infusions.

The Rise of Milk Tea | Drinking Tea in the Philippines

Filipinos have a newfound love affair – milk tea. These are essentially bubble tea drinks with a distinctly Filipino flair. The trendy concoctions overflow with chewy tapioca pearls. They burst with flavors like taro and winter melon, ube (purple yam), and leche flan (caramel custard).

Milk tea shops are a hit with the younger generation, popping everywhere. They offer endless flavor combinations dedicated to over-the-top sweetness. Milk tea is a sweet escape, a delightful indulgence enjoyed with friends while catching up or browsing social media. It is a testament to the Filipino love for tradition and innovation, a playful fusion of East and West.

Why Filipinos Love Hot Drinks Even in Hot Weather

Filipinos enjoy drinking their coffee, chocolate, or tea steaming hot even in the sweltering heat. This preference might seem counterintuitive, but there are two key reasons for this:

  • Comfort and Familiarity: The warmth of a hot beverage provides a sense of comfort and security. In a hot climate, it might seem strange, but the familiar routine and warmth can be a soothing contrast to the external heat.
  • Energy Boost: Filipinos often view these drinks as a pick-me-up. The caffeine in coffee and chocolate, or the invigorating properties of some teas, can provide an energy boost. This helps them power through the day, regardless of the hot weather.

(Read: “Why Drinking Hot Tea in a Hot Climate Is Not Nuts.”)

The Healthier Alternative | Drinking Tea in the Philippines

Today, coffee remains the go-to morning pick-me-up, but tea isn’t far behind. Filipinos often view tea as a healthier alternative, a steaming cup of relaxation after a long day.

One thing’s for sure: drinking tea in the Philippines is gaining more and more fans. Filipino tea culture is blossoming beyond milk tea, instant iced tea, and the trusty salabat. With the growing number of tea blends, it won’t be long before loose-leaf tea becomes a familiar sight in Filipino kitchens. Expect it to simmer alongside the beloved coffee and chocolate.

So, if you’re visiting the Philippines and crave a comforting cuppa, ditch the ordinary. Explore the world of Filipino tea. It’s a journey for your taste buds and a heartwarming glimpse into a culture that cherishes connection and tradition, one sip at a time.

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