Tea is common to millions of households around the globe and billions of cups are drunk every day. The world of tea binds various cultures of the world in just a cup of tea. The happiness and positivity of tea can be felt in across all the traditions of world. Whether it is the “English” or “Chinese” or “we Indians,” tea holds a special place in all of our hearts. A good cup of tea can help us feel alert and positive, be the starting point of a great conversation, or help us feel refreshed when we need it the most.
Tea’s mystical roots
There are some whimsical legends behind the history of tea. The most common one is of the Chinese legend. According to Chinese legend, tea was born in 2727 BC, when the Emperor ShenNong was purifying water in the shelter of a tea tree, and several leaves blew into the pot. The resulting brew, of superb fragrance, color and taste, made the emperor rejoice. Tea soon became a daily drink in Chinese culture.
In Japan, the tale is more fantastical. A Buddhist monk called Buddharma was so angry that he couldn’t stay awake while meditating that he tore his eyelids off and threw them onto the ground. A tea plant sprouted up from them, and gave the world a drink to help stay refreshed.
There are many more tales of such kind, and every culture seems to have one but what seems definite is the how much a cup of tea has had impact on the life of human beings.
Tea across the world
Tea is said to have an important role in many countries. They play an important role at social events, ceremonies and much more. The Chinese seem to have “Tea Ceremonies” all the time while “Afternoon Tea” is a British custom with widespread appeal.
The process tea preparation varies widely across the cultures. Tea may differ widely in preparation, such as in Tibet, where the beverage is commonly brewed with salt and butter. Even in India, there are different approaches to tea preparation. In north India, more of a sweet tea with ginger and cardamom is preferred while in south of India, more milk is added to the tea. Tea may be drunk in small private gatherings (tea parties) or in public (tea houses designed for social interaction).
Different regions favor different varieties of tea—black, green, or oolong—and use different flavorings, such as herbs, milk, or sugar. The temperature and strength of the tea likewise vary widely.
Tea is said to be originated in China before 2000 BCE. It is considered as a magical elixir in china and is valued for its medicinal properties.
At the beginning of the 9th century, the enjoyment of tea spread to countries outside China, first to Japan and Korea, then to the Middle East.
In the 19th century, India started to produce tea under the influence of British and the monopoly of tea was lost by China but still today China remains one of the largest suppliers of quality teas.
Tea originated from china to Japan at the beginning of the 9th century. It was first served in the Buddhist temples to monks, priests, and the ruling class who attended special services.
The Japanese are fond of green tea. For them, the colour and delicacy of taste are important, and brews of fine fragrance and greenish–golden hues are prevalent. In Japan, a cup of green tea is often served with meals at no extra charge, with as many refills as desired. The best traditional Japanese restaurants take as much care in choosing the tea they serve as in preparing the food itself.
The most quality tea i.e. the “Matcha” is the powdered tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony. In decreasing order of quality, we find Gyokuro, Sencha and Bancha, for everyday use.
Major tea-producing areas in Japan include Shizuoka Prefecture and the city of Uji in Kyoto Prefecture.
When it comes to India, tea is something extraordinary out here. India is said to be the largest tea exporter in the world, after China. The wonderful thing is that most of its tea production is consumed at home. The key reason to this is that in India, tea is popular all over as a breakfast and evening drink.
“Black Indian tea” is famous across India. “Masala chai” is the most famous variety in India wherein the tea is served with milk, sugar, and spices such as ginger, cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon.
There are three most famous regions in India to produce black teas-Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri. Assam teas, more malty and full–bodied, are grown in the Northeast of India, known for its robust taste and dark colour, and the Nilgiri highlands of southern India are known for fine, fragrant, fruity teas.
Assam produces the largest quantity of Tea in India, mostly of the CTC variety, and is one of the biggest suppliers of major international brands such as Lipton and Tetley.
Russia, Middle East & Others
Tea in Russia was also brought from China. There is a famous story of the “Great Tea Road” in Russia, which tells about the journey of tea from Russia to China. The journey was said to be of around 11,000 miles completed over a period of sixteen months to complete 11,000 miles.
In Russia, it is customary to drink tea brewed separately in a teapot and diluted with freshly boiled water. Tea in Russia is always served hot, even in hot weather or as a thirst–quencher. It is usually served after each meal with sugar and lemon (but without milk), and an assortment of jams, pastries and confections.
The story of tea in the Middle East is no less. Tea penetrated in the Middle East via the caravan routes. Tea has been the most popular drink among the Arab countries for centuries. The Muslim countries are amongst the highest per capita consumers of tea in the world. Among the Muslim countries, Morocco is considered the largest importer of green tea worldwide. Morocco consumes green tea with mint rather than black tea. It has become part of the culture and is used widely at almost every meal.
The republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom are the largest per capita consumers of tea in the world. Tea was introduced to the western world from china via the famous Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. The British usually consume black tea with milk and sugar.
The US has made contribution to the global tea culture by popularizing iced tea. The Americans seem to be the highest consumers of ice tea in the US. More than 80% of the tea is served as “iced tea” in the US. It can be purchased like soda, in canned or bottled form at vending machines and convenience stores.
Today tea is the second most consumed drink in the world after water and is apparently gaining importance across the globe due to its numerous health benefits. Various health research and changes in lifestyle have given tea a new place in the society. Moreover, increased understanding of the role antioxidants play in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease has positioned tea as the ideal health beverage.
Tea is said to replace coffee and other drinks such as soda in the near future at a very faster rate. People are consuming more of tea instead of coffee in order to avoid the addiction to caffeine. Soda drinks are also being replaced by iced teas because of the health awareness spread across the world.
Even the manufacturers of cosmetics, perfumes and skin–care products are also developing new products that have the essence of tea in them.
Let us discover tea across various traditions around the world today…
- India- “The land of Masala chai”
India is said to be land of “masala chai.” India is one of the largest producers and consumers of tea around the world. “Chai” is said to be the national drink in India and is served literally everywhere in India.
- Japan – “The land of green tea”
The Japanese are said to be highest consumers of green tea across the world. Tea is an important part of their food culture and is served with every meal in Japan. They have a famous tea ceremony knows as “The Matcha”, which consists of serving green tea to a small group of people in one of those popular teahouses. If you want to have a superb tea experience, take a flight to Tokyo and visit one of the popular tearooms.
- “Morocco and the famous Mint tea”
If you visit morocco and didn’t have a mint tea, then you need to revisit the city. Although, it is almost impossible to spend more than a day without a mint tea in Moroccan city as “Moroccan mint tea” is literally the heart of their culture.
- “USA and the new tea experience”
People in USA are said to be coffee lovers but there has been a recent shift in the drinking patterns of the Americans. Green tea and the white tea is gaining popularity in the US. One thing to note is that US is estimated to be the highest consumer of iced tea across the world. Today we can say that coffee is still preferred for the morning ritual, ice tea is often consumed with lunch and all types of tea are drunk in the evenings.
- “Thailand and the thai tea”
Thailand has one of the most popular teas around the world. It is made from strongly-brewed red tea that usually contains anise, red and yellow food colouring and sometimes other spices too. Thai tea is especially consumed in Southeast Asia and in lots of American and European restaurants that serve Vietnamese and Thai food.
- “Britain & the Classic afternoon tea”
British can drink a cup of tea even before going to bed. They are too much fond of tea and cant can’t live without this ancient drink which they brought from India from the time when Britain was an empire. Despite the coffee fuelled culture, tea is still the first hot drink chosen by the British population.
The future of Tea Industry
The 10 years projections to 2023 indicate that world black tea production will grow at a slightly higher rate compared to the previous decade. Black tea production is projected to grow at 2.9 percent annually to reach 4.17 million tonnes by 2023. Black tea consumption will grow at 3.0 percent p.a. to reach 4.14 million tonnes in 2023.
World green tea production is expected to grow at a faster rate than black tea, 8.2 percent, reflecting the growth in China where production of green tea is expected to reach. 2.97 million tonnes by 2023.
Stronger growth in consumption in producing countries is unlikely to offset declines in traditional import markets in the next 10 years. Black tea exports are projected to reach 1.67 million tonnes in 2023, with similar growth rates projected for both Africa and Asia. However, by 2023, export volumes for Asia are projected to reach 820 921 tonnes compared to 743 384 tonnes for Africa.
Major exporting countries are expected to remain the same, with Kenya being the largest exporter followed by Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania. World green tea exports are projected to grow at 7.1 percent annually to reach 750 981 tonnes by 2023.
China is expected to continue to dominate with an export volume of 458 579 tonnes, followed by Vietnam at a distant second with 251 024 tonnes, Indonesia with 18 500 tonnes, and Japan at 7 631 tonnes.
The increase in tea prices resulted in an estimated 10 percent increase in export earnings in 2013 to USD 5.7 billion at the global level, significantly affecting rural incomes and household food security in tea producing countries.
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3 Replies to “The World Of Tea”
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