I came upon some information from Mintel that reveals the continuing increase in tea bag consumption around the world. Here are the statistics for the top 5 global rankings:
India consumes 678,200 metric tons of bagged tea annually
China 576,800 metric tons
Turkey 173,400 metric tons
When we consider whole leaf consumption however, China remains the leading tea consumption country in the world.
I certainly understand the convenience issue with a tea bag. I always keep a few packets of Smith Tea in my purse for when I’m not home and unsure of the quality of tea that might be available at restaurants, cafes or even friends’ and families’ houses. But when I’m home, I would NEVER drink tea bag tea. Once one has a proper sized pot and cup for single serving purposes, the effort is no more time consuming or challenging than using a tea bag. In addition, with high-quality whole leaf tea, I have the ability to resteep those leaves throughout the day, providing a superior cup of tea at a reduced price when compared to the tea bag which only allows for a single steep due to its reduction in the amount of tea available. I can’t understand why people aren’t figuring this out. I realize tea sellers might not want to explain this to their tea bag buying customers who are paying a higher price for their tea bags. Once one becomes a tea lover however and begins to scratch below the surface, it’s hard to understand why whole leaf tea isn’t growing by leaps and bounds.
When we look to coffee, we see that when growing connoisseurship takes hold, people invest in expensive brewing devices and expensive artisanal coffees. When will this shift occur within the growing tea connoisseur market? I understand that in the U.S., the RTD market is still the leader in tea consumption. I’m happy to see a shift within that market for healthier ice teas which suffered as the health market was not coming on board for unhealthy, sugary teas.
Perhaps if each of us tea lovers can become ambassadors of whole leaf tea, then we can create a shift in people’s awareness and understanding. For me, there is such joy in making and sipping a simple, organic, orthodox, whole leaf cup of tea. Yes, it took my palette a bit of time to adjust to the mild flavors of green and white teas, but when properly brewed, I’ve come to appreciate and value the sweetness of the leaf.