I was curious about this list a few years ago on the web. It was clickbait. I hate clickbait. So, I will share you a non-clickbait version of the list.
I was totally surprised by the countries that did not make the list. A few of the countries that made the list make sense like Middle Eastern countries. Being predominantly Muslim, which forbids the consumption of alcohol, high amounts of tea drinking is expected. A couple of countries that made the list were so obscure to me that I had to look them up. I made mention of these countries location to spare you the trouble. I also made the list easy to read - no clickbait with its annoying ads and slow loading pages. Enjoy.
Kazakhs hold a special regard for tea, and drinking tea with guests is a long-standing traditional custom. This drink is so ingrained in the culture of Kazakhstan that people drink it six to seven times daily Consumption levels here are high, almost 3.4 pounds per person per year, because people enjoy tea with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Typically, the preparation is consumed with milk, lemon, and sugar.
Visiting a home in Qatar means the hosts will offer tea as part of the local custom. Qataris prepare tea in a unique manner. Here, the tea leaves are boiled to produce a stronger flavor and the drink it served with milk. This is called Karak. In Qatar, residents consume 3.53 pounds of tea annually. Throughout the country, one can find many tea bars which serve as a place for locals to hang out and socialize.
With its close proximity to Qatar, it comes as no surprise that these two countries would share similar customs and traditions. The 3.55 pounds consumed annually in Kuwait are typically prepared black and hosts serve a side of nuts or sweets with the tea. Never refuse a cup of tea as this is an insult to Kuwaitis.
- United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) reports quite the increase in tea consumption. Its residents report drinking 4.17 pounds of tea annually. This is another country where tea is such a part of the culture that it would be rude to decline a cup. In the UAE, the tea drinking experience is moving toward quality and branding. The country has seen an increase in high-end tea salons which is sure to affect tea consumption in the years to come.
Perhaps one of the more obscure countries on the list is Seychelles. This is an island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. Here, residents consume 4.59 pounds of tea annually which is not so surprising given that they also grow and harvest large amounts of tea. The most common flavors in Seychelles are Vanilla, Citronelle, and Island tea.
- United Kingdom
In the middle of the list at number 5 is the United Kingdom. This country is fairly well-known for its preference for tea and has made the famous "tea time" popular the world over. The people of the UK drink just over 6 pounds of tea every year. Drinking tea in the UK has a long history that began in the 18th century when merchants introduced the beverage as exclusive to the upper-class. Breakfast and afternoon tea is served with milk, sugar, and sometimes lemon. Earl Grey is super popular
The fourth highest tea consuming country is Mauritania, a nation in western Africa. Here, culture dictates serving tea as a ceremonial event. People serve three different cups of tea in one sitting beginning with bitter and gradually becoming sweeter. This country is the first on the list with a preference for green tea. The consumption rate is 7.1 pounds per person per year.
Ireland, known as the Emerald isle, sits in the middle of the cold, northern Atlantic Ocean. Residents here need a cup of hot, steaming tea just to get through the gray, foggy winters. The consumption rate here is the same as Mauritania (7.1 pounds annually) although the drink of choice is black tea. The Irish believe that tea should be drank at the smallest provocation. You're tired, drink tea. You happy, tell me over a cup of tea. You get the idea.
With the second highest consumer of tea worldwide, the list returns to Africa. In Morocco, the residents have many different tea preparation techniques and seem to prefer green and mint teas. Maghrebi style tea is quite popular and includes both mint and tobacco leaves in the water. Hosts and servers pour tea from a high position in order to create a foam on the top of the cup. With such an entertaining practice to encourage tea consumption, it comes as no surprise that people here drink 9.6 pounds per year.
In Turkey, the rate of consumption doesn't just slightly increase as in comparison with other countries. In this nation, the people drink on average 16.6 pounds of tea annually. How is this possible? Only recently introduced in the 20th Century, tea in Turkey has shot up to the most popular hot drink. This jump in popularity is due to the fact that tea was imported as coffee costs began to rise thus making tea a cheaper alternative. People serve tea in beautiful glass cups so that the color shines through.
Interesting Facts About Tea:
Tea is a unique beverage, that comes from the tea plant Camelia Sinensis, an evergreen shrub which originated in Asia. Nowadays, tea is cultivated throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions. Tea "plants" can reach up to thirty feet in height, but growers keep them about 4 feet high to facilitate harvesting.
The original plant had evergreen leaves that were dark green, harsh and smooth. It is said that tea was accidentally discovered in China, in 2737 BC, by Emperor Shen Nung, when a few tea leaves fell into his pot of boiling water. However, it was only during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that the habit of drinking tea leaves stepped in a tea pot became popular. Tea was indigenous to China, so the rest of the world did not learn the joys of tea for hundreds of years more.
Tea Consumption in America
Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea which is more than one half of the population.
Americans drink about 12 ounces of tea a year and most of that goes to making iced tea. Hot tea is increasing in popularity in the US, but Americans have a long way to go to catch up to rest of the world.
What is your tea consumption like. Are an exclusively tea drinker or an aspiring tea drinker. (read occasionally, but don't want to admit it.)Tell us in the comments below. Thanks for reading. If your curious check out this hidden web page with some free tea.
Top photo courtesy of @maiamingdesigns on Instagram