Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Who drinks more tea?

Annual tea consumption per person:
Irish: 3230 g
British: 2460 g
Japanese: 1080 g
Chinese: 350 g
Korean: 32 g


Brent said...

Interesting, thanks for posting this. I'm surprised the Chinese consume so little!


Dave said...

I agree. Also, after some crude calculations I think I should drink less.

Salsero said...

Pretty interesting, all right. I've heard that young people in China are drinking less tea than their parents do.

Imen said...

I think you can separate Chinese tea drinkers into 2 groups. The older generations in their 50s and up, people were borne before the cultural revolution where they grew up drinking tea. The second group are in their 30's and 40's coming back to tea from soda and coffee. The younger generations are still in the mode of modernization, hence bottled beverages and coffee.

Northern Chinese drink significantly less tea than the south. People live in cities drink more than country areas.

Large part of China only make tea for guests, seldom for themselves. If you have 3 people in the family, make tea once a week on average using 5 grams, that's total of 260 g per year for 3 people, excluding tea consumption else where. Sounds about the same amount for my family when we were in China.

Salsero said...

Wow, thanks for the thumbnail ethnography of tea in contemporary China. That clarifies a lot for me.

Shannon said...

Hello Imen,

My name is Shannon and I'm the editorial assistant at Foodbuzz.com. Following up on a recent email invitation to be a part of our newly launched Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I just want to reiterate that I am very impressed with the quality of your posts. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at Shannon@foodbuzz.com.

How much tea do Americans drink?


Shannon Eliot
Editorial Assistant, Foodbuzz.com

Michel said...

Hi Imen


People's habits are so entrenched.
I admire your tolerance and patience when some ask you for ice cubes.
I'm a fan of your blog and will put you on my links.

I will also be interested in getting some tea from you, Keslang sais you have found some marvels..

All the best.

Imen said...

Hi Shannon,

Sorry for ignoring the previous mail, I thought it was a spam. Please see my info inquiry in email. Thanks.

Also thank you for reading my blog and the compliment. :)

US consumption of tea for 2006 is $6.5 billion whole sale, divide by population about 281 million (2000 census, that's about $23 per person, assuming the cost of tea is on average $18 per lb, US consumption per person is estimated to be about 583g. It's #4 in the world.

Most of the leaves are made into tea bags, bottle beverages and iced teas in big tea bags. Only a small amount of loose leaves are available on the market.

$1.9 billion from supermarket sales
$2.65 billion from RTD beverages
$1 billion from food service facilities
$0.9 billion from specialty stores

Imen said...

Hi Michel,

Thanks for reading my blog! I also admire your blog as well. Beautiful tea jars you have there. :)

I have a couple of shipments coming in soon, or should have been here already. Will update my stock of these fabulous Phoenix oolong teas once I get my hands on them. If you will, please keep an eye on http://www.tea-obsession.blogspot.com/2007/12/dan-cong-selection.html

Entropyembrace said...

I think part of why the English and Irish have such a high consumption of tea is that they tend to drink large quantities of low quality tea...fannings, broken pekoe and such which can only be infused once, but in gonfucha quality leaves are used which are infused many times so the weight of dry tea used is much less.

elzaii said...

There is a german region named "East Frisia". East Frisians consume a 2,5 kg tea per person in a year.

Imen said...


Very good point. I know an old lady used up to 20 tea bags for one pot of tea. That's enough to make a cow fly. :P


What causes Frisians to drink more than other Germans?

In China, it's easier to explain, because people in tea producing regions will drink a lot more than others. For example, Chao Zhou people consume about 4.5 kg per person annually, with over 2 million people living in the area. That's one of the reasons why DC hardly make its way out side of Chao Zhou.

Kalinides said...

Even it's an old thread, Chileans consume more tea than Japanese and Chinese! City people drink from tea bags, but in the countryside far south we used to buy bulk tea, normally orange pekoe or similar blends if we're available... Yerba mate drinking culture has something to do with the tea consumption, I think... My mother used to snub tea bags for considerate their powdery contents "sweepings from the bottom of the sack"...