TEA, TEE, ЧАЙ, 茶
Being Russian, staying in Germany and having relatives in China I have noticed that there is a huge difference between those countries when it comes to tea culture.
Russian and Chinese tea culture is definitely bigger than German one.
Many Germans prefer coffee or even mineral water and soda drinks rather than tea. Many German teas are herbal and according to some Germans I met “have no tea leaves” in them. If you look at popular German tea brands, you will easily find such teas as chamomile, rooibos vanilla, ginger lemon, peppermint tea, etc. Of course, there is also Earl Grey, Assam, and English Breakfast tea available, but the choice of those sorts is not that wide as in Russia.
Some restaurants in Germany do not have many varieties of tea on their menu and sometimes after ordering a cup of tea, you get a little bit of warm water in a cup with a cheap tea bag in it. Many Europeans love to drink some tea during their meal and a cup of espresso after finishing eating, while in Russia you would probably drink some tea while eating or after your meal, with some dessert.
China and Russia definitely consume more tea per year than Germany, but the difference is that in Russia people still drink more black tea than the other types of tea. What we call “black tea” in Russia, in China is known as “red tea”. Green tea and other sorts of tea such as Oolong, yellow, white, and Pu’er tea are getting popularity in Russia, but black tea still holds its leader position. In China, on the opposite, the sales of red tea and coffee have increased, but many Chinese people still prefer green tea to them.
Many herbal German teas I have tried have a long time of brewing (6-8 min). Interestingly, my German friends do not follow the instructions and take a tea bag out of a cup in a minute. They do not like strong tea as much as some people in Russia.
Chinese tea culture is famous abroad and I have heard of Chinese teahouses in both, Germany and Russia.
Chinese, Russians, and Germans all consider tea to be a proper present to your acquaintances, friends, relatives, and so on.
I have seen Russians drinking black tea with milk (similar to British tea etiquette), but I have not noticed an existence of such a tradition in Germany.
Normally, visitors to Chinese homes are automatically served hot tea. In Russia, a host would ask about preferences of a guest before serving a drink. As a rule, there are always some sorts of tea and coffee available for a guest to choose from. In Germany, a host might rather suggest a guest some fruit juice, soda pop or mineral water instead of tea.
P.S. My opinion is biased, of course. Everyone has his or her own preferences, please keep in mind I did not mean that 100 % of population does what I have mentioned above.:)