Tea worldwide

Until the 90-s of the last century, five countries - the largest tea producers - produced 70 percent of the total quantity of tea world production. Three of these five countries belong to the “tea drinking” countries. They are China, Japan and Russia. Almost 75-95 percent of their output is used for internal consumption. In addition, Russia and Japan are importing even the foreign teas in order to ensure the needs of citizens.

The largest tea exporters in the world market have always been and remain India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, where tea is used quite reasonably. After them, follows the African group of countries, exporting almost all of the produced tea. These are: Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zaire, Madagascar, where the internal consumption is almost missing.

Thus, the entire world’s supply of tea is concentrated in the hands of the countries, whose citizens are not using tea, and are not interested in improving the quality of tea. At the same time China has virtually isolated itself from the tea supply to foreign markets and is exporting just a small part of the domestic production.

This of course does not mean that China has stopped to produce a lot of tea. But now it is producing the tea only to meet the internal needs, i.e. about one fifth of the world’s production (200 - 300 thousand. tonnes - data on this production has not been published for the last ten years). For a country with more than a billion people it is not much, even taking into account the local tea-drinking traditions. It exports about 50 thousand tonnes per year of this amount. Thus, in the last hundred years China was gradually forced out of the world tea market.

The largest consumers of tea in non-tea producing countries are Anglo-Saxon countries, buying each year 850-870 thousand tonnes of tea, as well as Arab countries: Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and Jordan, importing around 150-170 thousand tonnes of tea. These two groups of countries are consuming little more than half of the world production of tea, other part is consumed by China, Japan and Russia. On the background of these tea-drinking giants, the tea consumption in other countries looks very low.

Very representative is the fact that the English influence in the sphere of domestic traditions and habits has found its roots in the countries, strongly connected to the United Kingdom in the past (Canada, Australia, South Africa), as well as in the countries, which were fighting against the English presence for a long time, but still adopted a number of English traditions (Ireland, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq).

This fact clearly demonstrates the data of tea consumption per capita in different countries. Three quarters of the two dozens of countries with the highest ratio of tea consumption (more than 0.5 kg per capita per annum) were in past or are now under the English influence. Exceptions are applied only to Japan, Iran, Netherlands, Morocco and Tunisia - countries with a long tradition of tea drinking.

Tea consumption per capita per annum.

Interestingly, the table does not contain data on tea consumption per capita in two large tea drinking countries, such as China and Russia.

As to China, the data on tea consumption in the country per capita has always been a theoretical subject, because no statistics on this subject has been prepared, so, obviously, there are not any. One can only assume that the Chinese consume the same quantity of tea as Hong Kong, i.e. more than 1 kg but not more than 1.5 kg per capita per annum.

The annual consumption per capita in India equals to 290 g of tea, in the United States - 277 g, in Russia - about 250 g. There are various reasons: in India it can be explained by the poverty of most people, who cannot afford purchasing tea – is just not available, in the USA - by the high ratio of Germans and Romanians, as well as Afro-Americans, who do not use tea as the drink.

In Russia and Ukraine -  by the established habit of drinking rather weak tea. At the same time, Russia has certain areas (Burjatia, Bashkiria, Kalmikia, Tataria), where tea consumption per capita per annum amounts to over 4 kg, i.e. approximately at the level of tea consumption in England, which is the leader of tea consumption and the main lover of this drink in the Western world.

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