How Greek tea is coming down from the mountain and into daily life
Evangelos Sipsas in Greece

Unlike the British, Turkish and Chinese, Greeks are not known for their love of tea. The average Greek consumes only around a quarter of a kilogram of tea per year; Brits drink almost 2 kilograms, while Turks average a world-leading 3.16 kilograms.

But there's one kind that Greeks are increasingly keen on. The country produces its own variety – Greek mountain tea – and when they DO drink it, it's mostly during the winter.

"The tea plant where we get the leaves to make tea doesn't grow in Greece, it needs a more tropical climate," tea distributor and specialist Stefanos Papatzialas tells CGTN. 

"But what we do have are many aromatic plants and herbs that we use to make Greek mountain tea. In Greek, we call it sideritis." 


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In ancient times Greek mountain tea was used as much as a medicine as a refreshment – a beverage to heal wounds and injuries. Papatzialas explains that it is still associated with preventing declining health, but is increasingly popular as a non-medicinal drink.

"Forty years ago, Greeks didn't drink much tea – only if it was cold or if someone was sick. But nowadays things are changing: There is now a wide range of teas available on the market, and we see more and more turning to tea. In the last year alone we've seen an eight percent increase in consumption."

Tea houses are an increasingly popular destination. /CGTN
Tea houses are an increasingly popular destination. /CGTN

Tea houses are an increasingly popular destination. /CGTN

Now more and more places are opening, providing a variety of teas from all over the world including Russia, India and China. Such tea houses explain to you what you are buying, where it's coming from, its benefits, and how to make it.

Ancient, medieval, and modern Greeks also used mountain tea – named because it is mostly grown at more than 1,000 meters above sea level – to boost energy and memory. To this day, it continues to be by far the most popular and famous herb in the country.


It's light, it has many health benefits, and it's easy to make. You simply take a pot, fill it with water, throw in the herbs, and after boiling it for three or four minutes it's ready. Some like to add honey, while others like it plain. Either way, it's becoming a popular substitute for other beverages.

"Tea puts you in a Zen mood," says tea house employee Evaggelia Tzoka. "It relaxes you, and depending on the type you drink it even cleans your body from toxins."

It also offers an alternative to the other globally prevalent hot drink. 

"It's a good substitute for coffee. Most of the new clients that come here want to decrease coffee and look for another beverage, and they commonly find that balance by switching to tea." 

Tea has always been part of Greek culture, whether drinking it for pleasure or to feel better. And now it's a drink that seems to be making its way to more and more Greek households.


Video editor: Tom Triebel

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