TOP TEA PRODUCING COUNTRIES
There was a time when the most popular drink in the world (after water) was coffee. This is no longer the case. Now King Tea reigns supreme! According to Tea Association of the USA and an article in National Geographic, in 2016, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water.
The question one asks is why has tea become so popular? There is a very intricate and detailed answer to this question which I will address in a future blog at (www.blackwoodyvonne.com ). For now, though, I will mention that one reason is that tea is one of the few beverages usually served hot or cold, at anytime and anywhere. In fact it is served on almost any occasion. Statistics show that on any given day, more than 158 million Americans drink tea, consuming well over 80 billion servings, or more than 3.6 billion gallons. When you factor in the rest of the world including China and Japan where tea is their national drink, we begin to see why tea now reigns. Just to provide some insight into the beverage market, the other three top consumed drinks are coffee—referred to as the eye opener or the morning drink; orange juice—the worlds number one fruit juice; and beer—one of the worlds most favourite alcoholic beverages.
Since tea has become such an important commodity, we will take a brief look at the Ten Tea Top Producing countries of the world. According to World Atlas, in 2016 the rankings are:
1. China: produced just over a million tonnes of tea. Tea tends to be grown mostly in the provinces that are in the south and east of China, where the climate is humid and ranges from tropical to subtropical.
2. India: produced 900,000 tonnes of tea. Over 70 percent of India’s tea is consumed within the country. A number of well-known teas, such as Assam and Darjeeling are grown exclusively in India.
3. Kenya: produced 303,000 tonnes of tea. Most of Kenya’s tea is grown in the highlands west of the Rift Valley at altitudes between 1500 to 2700 meters. Tea is Kenya’s top foreign exchange earner followed by horticulture, tourism and coffee.
4. Sri Lanka: produced 296, 000 tonnes of tea. Tea is grown on slopes at three different elevations- 4000 ft above sea level (high grown); between 2000 to 4000 ft. ( mid grown) and below 2000 ft.( low grown). Each level produces teas with unique flavours.
5.Turkey: produced 175, 000 tonnes of tea. Turkey produces primarily black tea, known as Turkish tea, or Rize tea (named for the region that produces it). Turkey consumes most of its tea, only exporting a small portion.
6. Indonesia: produced 157,000 tonnes of tea. The provinces that produce most of Indonesia's tea are: West Java (about 70 percent), Central Java, and North Sumatra. Indonesia produces mostly black tea, but also produces green tea. Most of Indonesia's tea is exported.
7. Vietnam: produced 117,000 tonnes of tea. Vietnam's largest tea growing region is Lam Dong. Tea is manufactured in both large scale processing units, and by small-holding farmers, who produce small amounts of artisan made tea. Vietnam has traditionally been an exporter of black tea, most of which is used in blends.
8. Japan: produced 89,000 tonnes of tea. Three of the four major islands of Japan--Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, grow tea. Tea production is generally limited by climate.
9. Iran: produced 84, 000 tonnes of tea. Most of Iran’s tea farms are located on the hillsides. These farms produce an orthodox style of black tea.
10. Argentina: produced 70,000 tonnes of tea. Most of Argentina’s tea is grown in the north-eastern part of the country, in Misiones and Corrientes; these areas have a warm subtropical climate and high rainfall which is ideal for growing tea.
The fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia
A scenery that is surreal, the fairy chimneys are carved from soft volcanic rock sculpted by erosion over thousands of years into fantastic shapes. In the area are ancient cave dwellings, underground cities, and
ancient churches, that were once a refuge for the early persecuted Christians. Turkey has one of the most varied and amazing landscape that leaves you in awe.
Pamukkale: Terraces made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.
In my travels to different parts of the world I had the opportunity to visit some of the Top Tea Producing countries (trips were unrelated to tea). Below are two memorable photographs taken while touring Turkey, the # 5 top producer.