Travel & Tea » Bolivia Brits travelling the world, one sip at a time Tue, 17 Dec 2013 02:07:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 National Drinks You Might Find on Your Travels in South America Tue, 03 Dec 2013 01:17:44 +0000 admin Every Brit knows there is nothing like a cup of tea to brighten up the day. However, you might not have access to this lovely drink everywhere you go. So what other national drinks will you try as you travel the world? There is a variety of different hot and cold beverages for you to try out and here some of the most interesting ones you might want to sip in South America.

Inca Kola – Peru

This drink is a national icon in Peru and you might even decide to buy an Inca Kola t-shirt before you go home. It bears some sort of passing resemblance to the Scottish Irn Bru, with a bright colour and an unexpectedly weird taste. Another factor it has in common with Irn Bu is that it sells more than Coca Cola and Pepsi in its home country. Peru, Scotland and India are the only three countries in the world where a national soft drink beats both of these international brands and that alone makes it worth a try.

Mate – Argentina

Mate is a herbal infusion which you will see drunk in a few different countries but Argentina is where it is most widely associated with. The preparation of it looks a bit strange, with hot water being poured over dried, crushed herbs in a small gourd. It is then drunk through a metal straw and passed round from person to person in the group. It is definitely an acquired taste but if you are going to be in Argentina for a while then it is worth giving it a try.

Guaraná – Brazil

This next one on the list is an energy drink found in Brazil. You might already be familiar with guaraná in a different form, as it has been used in chocolate bars in the UK in the past. You can buy cans and bottles of this stuff but drinking it fresh is far better. You need to look out for little snack bars which have those big drinks containers which constantly stir the contents in them. Once you see a dark, fruity looking drink in one of them ask if it is guaraná and get ready for a unique taste experience.

Coca Colla – Bolivia

The final drink of the list is one you might find a little difficult to get hold of. It is a Bolivian national soft drink which is mainly found in the city of La Paz. The clever name comes from the fact that it is made from coca leaves – as Coca Cola was once made from and which some people claim it still is – and is made by the indigenous Colla people of the region. The fact that coca leaves are used in the production of cocaine might make you wary of this drink. There is a bit of a debate about whether coca leaves in themselves can be considered a drug but here it is a considered as an incredibly useful natural remedy which does everything from fight fatigue and stave off hunger to alleviate altitude sickness.

Photo by jaywray on Flickr

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Drinking Strange Tea All Over the Planet Mon, 16 Sep 2013 01:53:54 +0000 author If you love a cup of tea then you will be delighted to discover that it is popular in just about every country you could possibly visit. However, the cuppa you are served might not always bear much resemblance to what you drink at home.

Coca Tea – Bolivia

We know that the coca leaves are a principal ingredient in the manufacture of cocaine. However, in Bolivia they are sold legally and are used mainly for chewing on. The local culture has a strong belief in the powers of this plant to do everything from fight hunger and fatigue to deal with altitude sickness. In its simplest form coca tea involves pouring hot water over a bunch of leaves. More modern presentations include little tea bags filled with the crushed up leaves. You might be offered a cup of this tea if you are suffering from altitude sickness. It isn’t a drug but some tourists still prefer to give it a miss.

Mint Tea – Morocco

If you have ever tried mint tea- known as Touareg tea – in Morocco then you were probably at least as impressed with the method of preparation and serving as you were with the taste. This delicious variety of tea is made from mint leaves and green tea, is popular in most Arabian countries and is a big part of life for the people there. When a guest gets invited to drink some mint tea the serving of the drink can turn into a rather elaborate ceremony involving the tea being finally poured into glasses from a decent height. It is usually the male head of the family who prepares and serves the tea, with the guest typically getting 3 glasses of more of the stuff. If you are suffering from a dry throat on a hot day then this refreshing drink has a wonderful cooling effect.

Butter Tea – Tibet

It sounds weird, but butter tea is a strong tradition in Tibet, Bhutan and parts of China. It involved tea, yak butter and salt. A few bowls of this tea gets a typical Tibetan ready for a day of work and it is also usually served to guests. It is said to be an idea drink for providing energy at high altitude and for helping avoid chapped lips. In fact, many people (especially nomads) are said to drink dozens of cups of this drink every single day.

Matcha Tea – Japan

Japan is another country where the drinking of tea is a highly ceremonial occasion. This typically involves a green tea called Matcha which includes a lot of antioxidants in it. The tea ceremony in Japan has a long and complex history and it continues in homes and tea houses across the country. If you ever drink a cup while you are in Japan then expect a long and elegant ceremony ending with a deliciously intriguing cup of tea with a flavour which it might take you some time to get used to.

Photo by none-design on Flickr

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