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. 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 China and India. Based on 2016 per capita tea consumption, the countries drinking the most tea are Turkey, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
Top Tea Consuming Countries
Number 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 6.96 lb or 3.16 kg 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.
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 4.83 lb or 2.19 kg and the drink of choice is black tea.
The United Kingdom is well-known for its preference for tea and has made the famous “tea time” popular the world over. The people of the UK drink 4.28 lb or 1.94 kg 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.
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 of 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.