The world seems to have separated into the people who love coffee and the people who love tea. As it turns out, there are more tea drinkers in the world than coffee. In fact, tea is the second most popular drink after water. So where did this herbal plant get its start? Many researchers believe that tea comes from China, where it originated as a medicinal drink in the 3rd Century AD. Nearly 1,300 years later, the plant was introduced to Portuguese merchants and has now been traded and sold for a thousand years around much of the globe. Tea has reached every corner of the world and today people drink it in every form imaginable. The top tea producers today are Argentina, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Kenya, India, and China. Based on 2014 per capita tea consumption, below we have listed the top tea loving countries in the world.
Top Ten Tea Consuming Countries
Kazakhs hold a special regard for tea, and drinking tea with guests is a long-standing traditional custom. This drink is so ingrained in the culture of Kazakhstan that people drink it six to seven times daily! Consumption levels here are high, almost 3.4 pounds per person per year, because people enjoy tea with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Typically, the preparation is consumed with milk, lemon, and sugar.
Visiting a home in Qatar means the hosts will offer tea as part of the local custom. Qataris prepare tea in a unique manner. Here, the tea leaves are boiled to produce a stronger flavor and the drink it served with milk. This is called Karak. In Qatar, residents consume 3.53 pounds of tea annually! Throughout the country, one can find many tea bars which serve as a place for locals to hang out and socialize.
At number 8 on the top ten list is Kuwait. With such a close proximity to Qatar, it comes as no surprise that these two countries would share similar customs and traditions. The 3.55 pounds consumed annually in Kuwait are typically prepared black and hosts serve a side of nuts or sweets. Never refuse a cup of tea as this is an insult to Kuwaitis.
7. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) reports quite the increase in tea consumption. Its residents report drinking 4.17 pounds of tea annually! This is another country where tea is such a part of the culture that it would be rude to decline a cup. In the UAE, the tea drinking experience is moving toward experience and branding. The country has seen an increase in high-end tea salons which is sure to affect tea consumption in the years to come.
Perhaps one of the more obscure countries on the list is Seychelles. This is an island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa and comes in number 6 on the list. Here, residents consume 4.59 pounds of tea annually which is not so surprising given that they also grow and harvest large amounts of tea. The most common flavors in Seychelles are Vanilla, Citronelle, and Island tea.
5. United Kingdom
In the middle of the list at number 5 is the United Kingdom. This country is fairly well-known for its preference for tea and has made the famous “tea time” popular the world over. The people of the UK drink just over 6 pounds of tea every year. Drinking tea in the UK has a long history that began in the 18th Century when merchants introduced the beverage as exclusive to the upper-class. Breakfast and afternoon tea is served with milk, sugar, and sometimes lemon.
The fourth highest tea consuming country is Mauritania, a nation in western Africa. Here, culture dictates serving tea as a ceremonial event. People serve three different cups of tea in one sitting beginning with bitter and gradually becoming sweeter. This country is the first on the list with a preference for green tea. The consumption rate is 7.1 pounds per person per year.
Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle, sits in the middle of the cold, northern Atlantic Ocean. Residents here need a cup of hot, steaming tea just to get through the gray, foggy winters. The consumption rate here is the same as Mauritania (7.1 pounds annually) although the drink of choice is black tea. This amount equates to around 4 cups a day.
With the second highest consumer of tea worldwide, the list returns to Africa. In Morocco, the residents have many different tea preparation techniques and seem to prefer green and mint teas. Maghrebi style tea is quite popular and includes both mint and tobacco leaves in the water. Hosts and servers pour tea from a high position in order to create a foam on the top of the cup. With such an entertaining practice to encourage tea consumption, it comes as no surprise that people here drink 9.6 pounds per year!
1. TurkeyNumber 1 on the list is Turkey and the rate of consumption doesn’t just slightly increase as with the other countries. In this nation, the people drink on average 16.6 pounds of tea annually! How is this possible? Only recently introduced in the 20th Century, tea in Turkey has shot up to the most popular hot drink. This jump in popularity is due to the fact that tea was imported as coffee costs began to rise thus making tea a cheaper alternative. People serve tea in beautiful glass cups so that the color shines through.
As made obvious in the list above, tea is an important part of many different cultures. Given the health benefits that come along with drinking tea, its highly regarded status is a very positive thing. Evidence suggests many positive effects of tea consumption, and it seems that the ancient Chinese beliefs about tea as a medicinal beverage are true. Tea leaves are full of healthy antioxidants and contain substances that lower the risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In addition, consuming tea can help reduce joint inflammation due to the presence of polyphenols. Tea helps lower cholesterol, encourages weight loss, and sharpens mental alertness. Health experts advise drinking less processed teas, and being careful with sugar and other additive sweeteners.
The Most Tea Loving Nations Of The World
|Rank||Country||Annual per capita tea consumption (in kg), 2014|
|7||United Arab Emirates||1.89|