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 across all the traditions of the world. Whether it is the “English” or “Chinese” or “we Indians”, tea holds a special place in all 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.
When it comes to India, tea is something extraordinary out there. India is said to be the largest tea export in the world, after China. The wonderful thing is that most of its tea production is consumed at home. The key reason for 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 their robust taste and dark color, and the Nilgiri highlands of southern India are known for fine, fragrant, fruity teas. Assam produces the largest quantity of Tea in India, most of the CTC variety, and is one of the biggest suppliers of major international brands such as Lipton and Tetley.
The Thousand Names of Tea:
Before the English word “tea” came about, the leaves had a variety of different names: tcha, cha, tay, and tee. The English name does not come from the Mandarin Chinese, Tcha, but from the Amoy dialect, te, assimilated during the first contacts between the Chinese and Dutch traders in the port of Amoy in the Fujian province. That name became “thee” in Dutch, and the Dutch have been the first to import tea to Europe, it then became “tee” in German.
In Spanish, Italian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Hungarian it is written “té”, in English “tea”, in French “thé”, in Finnish “tee”, in Latvian “Teja”, in Korean “ta”, in Tamil “tey”, in Sinhala “thay” and in scientific language “thea”.
The Mandarin “cha” became “ch’a” in Cantonese and was translated into Portuguese as “cha” (at the time of Portuguese trade with the Cantonese-speaking city of Macao) and then into Persian, Japanese, and Hindi, becoming “shai” in Arabic, “ja” in Tibetan, “chay” in Turkish and “chai” in Russian.
The future of the 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.
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. As per a report by Expert Market Research firm, the Indian tea industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2 percent from 2021-26 and reach an approximate valuation of 1.40 million tons by the end of this period. Thus, the industry is fast striding on a high growth trajectory.
The tea market before the pandemic was already the largest beverage market after water. Global production was about 5.8 million metric tons of tea in 2018, making about 12.6 billion U.S. dollars every year. Pakistan is the leading tea importer globally, currently producing about 571 million U.S. dollars in trade value. There are four main Tea groups within the market: ready-to-drink tea (RTD), the traditional market, the specialty segment, and the foodservice segment. The RTD category has continuously been the largest market. Some of the largest companies are Lipton, Pure Leaf, Arizona, and Gold Peak. This industry is now growing at an incredible rate, with a CAGR of 6.6% from 2020 to 2027.