2737 BC The Second Emperor, Shen Nung known as the Divine
Healer first discovered tea in China. One summer day while
visiting a distant region of his realm, he and the court
stopped to rest. In accordance with his ruling, the
servants began to boil water for the court to drink. Dried
leaves from the near by bush fell into the boiling water,
and a brown liquid was infused into the water. As a
scientist, the Emperor was interested in the new liquid,
drank some, and found it very refreshing. And so, according
to legend, tea was created.
350 AD The first description of drinking tea is written in
a Chinese dictionary.
400 - 600 The demand for tea rose steadily. Rather than
harvest leaves from wild trees, farmers began to develop
ways to cultivate tea. Tea was commonly made into roasted
cakes, which were then pounded into small pieces and placed
in a china pot. After adding boiling water, onion, spices,
ginger or orange were introduced to produce many regional
618 - 906 Tang Dynasty. Powdered tea became the fashion of
the time. Nobility made it a popular pastime. Caravans
carried tea on the Silk Road, trading with India, Turkey
780 Poet Lu Yu wrote the first book of tea, making him a
living saint, patronized by the Emperor himself. The book
described methods of cultivation and preparation. The first
definitive book on tea, the Ch'a Ching. This amazing man
was orphaned as a child and raised by scholarly Buddhist
monks in one of China's finest monasteries. However, as a
young man, he rebelled against the discipline of priestly
training which had made him a skilled observer. His fame as
a performer increased with each year, but he felt his life
lacked meaning. Finally, in mid-life, he retired for five
years into seclusion. Drawing from his vast memory of
observed events and places, he codified the various methods
of tea cultivation and preparation in ancient China. The
vast definitive nature of his work, projected him into near
sainthood within his own lifetime. Patronized by the
Emperor himself, his work clearly showed the Zen Buddhist
philosophy to which he was exposed as a child. It was this
form of tea service that Zen Buddhist missionaries would
later introduce to imperial Japan.
805 The Buddhist monk Saicho brought tea seeds to Japan
from China. The first tea seeds were brought to Japan by
the returning monk, who had seen the value of tea in China
in enhancing religious mediation. As a result, he is known
as the "Father of Tea" in Japan. Because of this early
association, tea in Japan has always been associated with
Zen Buddhism. Tea received almost instant imperial
sponsorship and spread rapidly from the royal court and
monasteries to the other sections of Japanese society. Tea
was elevated to an art form resulting in the creation of
the Japanese Tea Ceremony ("Cha-no-yu" or "the hot water
for tea"). The best description of this complex art form
was probably written by the Irish-Greek
journalist-historian Lafcadio Hearn, one of the few
foreigners ever to be granted Japanese citizenship during
this era. He wrote from personal observation, "The Tea
ceremony requires years of training and practice to
graduate in art...yet the whole of this art, as to its
detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a
cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act
be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most
graceful, most charming manner possible".
Such a purity of form, of expression prompted the creation
of supportive arts and services. A special form of
architecture (chaseki) developed for "tea houses", based on
the duplication of the simplicity of a forest cottage. The
cultural/artistic hostesses of Japan, the Geishi, began to
specialize in the presentation of the tea ceremony. As more
and more people became involved in the excitement
surrounding tea, the purity of the original Zen concept was
lost. The tea ceremony became corrupted, boisterous and
highly embellished. "Tea Tournaments" were held among the
wealthy where nobles competed among each other for rich
prizes in naming various tea blends. Rewarding winners with
gifts of silk, armor, and jewelry was totally alien to the
original Zen attitude of the ceremony.
960 - 1280 Sung dynasty. Tea was used widely. Powdered tea
had become common. Beautiful ceramic tea accessories were
made during this time. Dark-blue, black and brown glazes,
which contrasted with the vivid green of the whisked tea,
1101 - 1125 Emperor Hui Tsung wrote about the best ways to
make whisked tea. A strong patron of the tea industry, he
had tournaments in which members of the court identified
different types of tea. Legend has it that he became so
obsessed with tea he hardly noticed the Mongols who
overthrew his empire. During his reign, teahouses built in
natural settings became popular among the Chinese.
1191 Eisai Myoan, the monk who brought Zen Buddhism to
Japan, returned from a trip to China with tea seeds, which
he planted on the grounds of his temple near Kyoto. Eisai
experimented with different ways to brew tea, finally
adopting the Chinese whisked tea.
1206 - 1368 Yuan Dynasty. Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan
conquered Chinese territories and established a Mongolian
dynasty in power for more than a century. Tea became an
ordinary drink, never regaining the high status it once
enjoyed. Marco Polo was not even introduced to tea when he
1368 - 1644 Ming Dynasty. People again began to enjoy tea.
The new method of preparation was steeping whole leaves in
water. The resulting pale liquid necessitated a lighter
color ceramic than was popular in the past. The white and
off-white tea-ware produced became the style of the time.
The first Yixing pots were made at this time.
1422 - 1502 A Zen priest named Murata Shuko, who had
devoted his life to tea, created the Japanese tea ceremony.
The ceremony is called "Cha No Yu," which means "hot water
While tea was at this high level of development in both
Japan and China, information concerning this then unknown
beverage began to filter back to Europe. Earlier caravan
leaders had mentioned it, but were unclear as to its
service format or appearance. (One reference suggests the
leaves be boiled, salted, buttered, and eaten!) The first
European to personally encounter tea and write about it was
the Portuguese Jesuit Father Jasper de Cruz in 1560.
Portugal, with her technologically advanced navy, had been
successful in gaining the first right of trade with China.
It was as a missionary on that first commercial mission
that Father de Cruz had tasted tea four years before.
The Portuguese developed a trade route by which they
shipped their tea to Lisbon, and then Dutch ships
transported it to France, Holland, and the Baltic
countries. (At that time Holland was politically affiliated
with Portugal. When this alliance was altered in 1602,
Holland, with her excellent navy, entered into full Pacific
trade in her own right.)
1610 The Dutch brought tea to Europe from China, trading
dried sage in exchange.
When tea finally arrived in Europe, Elizabeth I had more
years to live, and Rembrandt was only six years old.
Because of the success of the Dutch navy in the Pacific,
tea became very fashionable in the Dutch capital, the
Hague. This was due in part to the high cost of the tea
(over $100 per pound) which immediately made it the domain
of the wealthy. Slowly, as the amount of tea imported
increased, the price fell as the volume of sale expanded.
Initially available to the public in apothecaries along
with such rare and new spices as ginger and sugar, by 1675
it was available in common food shops throughout Holland.
As the consumption of tea increased dramatically in Dutch
society, doctors and university authorities argued back and
forth as to the negative and/or positive benefits of tea.
Known as "tea heretics", the public largely ignored the
scholarly debate and continued to enjoy their new beverage
though the controversy lasted from 1635 to roughly 1657.
Throughout this period France and Holland led Europe in the
use of tea.
As the craze for things oriental swept Europe, tea became
part of the way of life. The social critic Marie de
Rabutin-Chantal, the Marquise de Seven makes the first
mention in 1680 of adding milk to tea. During the same
period, Dutch inns provided the first restaurant service of
tea. Tavern owners would furnish guests with a portable tea
set complete with a heating unit. The independent Dutchman
would then prepare tea for himself and his friends outside
in the tavern's garden. Tea remained popular in France for
only about fifty years, being replaced by a stronger
preference for wine, chocolate, and exotic coffees.
1618 Chinese ambassadors presented Czar Alexis with a gift
of several chests of tea.
Imperial Russia was attempting to engage China and Japan in
trade at the same time as the East Indian Company. The
Russian interest in tea began as early as 1618 when the
Chinese embassy in Moscow presented several chests of tea
to Czar Alexis. By 1689 the Trade Treaty of Newchinsk
established a common border between Russia and China,
allowing caravans to then cross back and forth freely.
Still, the journey was not easy. The trip was 11,000 miles
long and took over sixteen months to complete. The average
caravan consisted of 200 to 300 camels. As a result of such
factors, the cost of tea was initially prohibitive and
available only to the wealthy. By the time Catherine the
Great died (1796), the price had dropped some, and tea was
spreading throughout Russian society. Tea was ideally
suited to Russian life: hearty, warm, and sustaining.
The samovar, adopted from the Tibetan "hot pot", is a
combination bubbling hot water heater and tea pot. Placed
in the center of the Russian home, it could run all day and
serve up to forty cups of tea at a time. Again showing the
Asian influence in the Russian culture, guests sipped their
tea from glasses in silver holders, very similar to Turkish
coffee cups. The Russians have always favored strong tea
highly sweetened with sugar, honey, or jam.
With the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in 1900,
the overland caravans were abandoned. Although the
Revolution intervened in the flow of the Russian society,
tea remained a staple throughout. Tea (along with vodka) is
the national drink of the Russians today
1657 Tea was first sold in England at Garway's Coffee House
in London. The East India Company operated out of several
sites in the City of London, the first in Philpot Lane,
Fenchurch, then it took a lease on Lord Northampton's
mansion, Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate and then in 1658 another
move before it finally leased Lord Craven's House in
Leadenhall Street. Under the terms of a charter granted by
Elizabeth I, The East India Company owned all trading
rights and controlled the sale of those imported goods back
Great Britain was the last of the three great sea-faring
nations to break into the Chinese and East Indian trade
routes. This was due in part to the unsteady ascension to
the throne of the Stuarts and the Cromwellian Civil War.
The first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and
1654. Tea quickly proved popular enough to replace ale as
the national drink of England.
As in Holland, it was the nobility that provided the
necessary stamp of approval and so insured its acceptance.
King Charles II had married, while in exile, the Portuguese
Infanta Catherine de Braganza (1662). Charles himself had
grown up in the Dutch capital. As a result, both he and his
Portuguese bride were confirmed tea drinkers. When the
monarchy was re-established, the two rulers brought this
foreign tea tradition to England with them. As early as
1600 Elizabeth I had founded the John company for the
purpose of promoting Asian trade. When Catherine de
Braganza married Charles she brought as part of her dowry
the territories of Tangier and Bombay. Suddenly, the John
Company had a base of operations.
The John Company was granted the unbelievably wide monopoly
of all trade east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of Cape
Horn. Its powers were almost without limit and included
among others the right to:
• Legally acquire territory and govern it.
• Coin money.
• Raise arms and build forts.
• Form foreign alliances.
• Declare war.
• Conclude peace.
• Pass laws.
• Try and punish law breakers.
It was the single largest, most powerful monopoly to ever
exist in the world. And its power was based on the
importation of tea. At the same time, the newer East India
Company floundered against such competition. Appealing to
Parliament for relief, the decision was made to merge the
John Company and the East India Company (1773). Their
re-drafted charts gave the new East India Company a
complete and total trade monopoly on all commerce in China
and India. As a result, the price of tea was kept
artificially high, leading to later global difficulties for
the British crown.
1661 The Taiwanese began to drink wild tea.
1662 Charles II took Catherine Braganza of Portugal as his
wife. They both drank tea, creating a fashion for it. Its
popularity among the aristocracy causes alcohol beverages
to fall from favor.
1669 Close to 150 pounds of tea were shipped to England.
Until 1669, most of the tea drunk in Britain was bought
from the Dutch. 1689Traders with three hundred camels
traveled 11,000 miles to China and back in order to supply
Russia's demand. The trip took sixteen months.
1697 In Taiwan, settlers of Formosa's Nantou County
cultivated the first domestic bushes. Dutch ships carried
the tea to Persia, the first known export of Taiwanese tea.
1705 The yearly importation of tea to England grew to
approximately 800,000 pounds.
Tea mania swept across England as it had earlier spread
throughout France and Holland. Tea importation rose from
40,000 pounds in 1699 to an annual average of 240,000
pounds by 1708. Tea was drunk by all levels of society.
Prior to the introduction of tea into Britain, the English
had two main meals-breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was ale,
bread and beef. Dinner was a long, massive meal at the end
of the day. It was no wonder that Anna, the Duchess of
Bedford (1788-1861) experienced a "sinking feeling" in the
late afternoon. Adopting the European tea service format,
she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon
meal at five o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The
menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter
sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. This
summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it
when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends
asking them to join her for "tea and a walking the fields."
(London at that time still contained large open meadows
within the city.) The practice of inviting friends to come
for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other
social hostesses. A common pattern of service soon merged.
The first pot of tea was made in the kitchen and carried to
the lady of the house who waited with her invited guests,
surrounded by fine porcelain from China. The first pot was
warmed by the hostess from a second pot (usually silver)
that was kept heated over a small flame. Food and tea was
then passed among the guests, the main purpose of the
visiting being conversation.
Tea cuisine quickly expanded in range to quickly include
wafer thin crustless sandwiches, shrimp or fish pates,
toasted breads with jams, and regional British pastries
such as scones (Scottish) and crumpets (English). At this
time two distinct forms of tea services evolved: "High" and
"Low". "Low" Tea (served in the low part of the afternoon)
was served in aristocratic homes of the wealthy and
featured gourmet tidbits rather than solid meals. The
emphasis was on presentation and conversation. "High" Tea
or "Meat Tea" was the main or "High" meal of the day. It
was the major meal of the middle and lower classes and
consisted of mostly full dinner items such as roast beef,
mashed potatoes, peas, and of course, tea.
Tea was the major beverage served in the coffee houses, but
they were so named because coffee arrived in England some
years before tea. Exclusively for men, they were called
"Penny Universities" because for a penny any man could
obtain a pot of tea, a copy of the newspaper, and engage in
conversation with the sharpest wits of the day. The various
houses specialized in selected areas of interest, some
serving attorneys, some authors, others the military. They
were the forerunner of the English gentlemen's private
club. One such beverage house was owned by Edward Lloyd and
was favored by shipowners, merchants and marine insurers.
That simple shop was the origin of Lloyd's, the worldwide
insurance firm. Attempts to close the coffee houses were
made throughout the eighteenth century because of the free
speech they encouraged, but such measures proved so
unpopular they were always quickly revoked.
Experiencing the Dutch "tavern garden teas", the English
developed the idea of Tea Gardens. Here ladies and
gentlemen took their tea out of doors surrounded by
entertainment such as orchestras, hidden arbors, flowered
walks, bowling greens, concerts, gambling, or fireworks at
night. It was at just such a Tea Garden that Lord Nelson,
who defeated Napoleon by sea, met the great love of his
life, Emma, later Lady Hamilton. Women were permitted to
enter a mixed, public gathering for the first time without
social criticism. As the gardens were public, British
society mixed here freely for the first time, cutting
across lines of class and birth.
Tipping as a response to proper service developed in the
Tea Gardens of England. Small, locked wooden boxes were
placed on the tables throughout the Garden. Inscribed on
each were the letters "T.I.P.S." which stood for the
sentence "To Insure Prompt Service". If a guest wished the
waiter to hurry (and so insure the tea arrived hot from the
often distant kitchen) he dropped a coin into the box on
being seated "to insure prompt service". Hence, the custom
of tipping servers was created.
1706 The first auction dedicated to tea took place in
Craven House, which became known as East India House. These
East India Company auctions were held quarterly. Such early
auctions were "Sold by the Candle," a system whereby a
candle was marked off in inches, it was lit when the
bidding began, the hammer was brought down as the first
inch line was reached and so on down the candle for each
1710 Wealthy American Colonists developed a taste for tea.
1773 The Tea Act of 1773 giving the East India Company
control of trading in the Americas imposed the same taxes
and levies on the colonists as paid by the British.
Objection led to an act of rebellion known as the Boston
Tea Party in December 1773, which is commonly viewed as a
first step towards the American War of Independence. Under
cover of night, colonists dressed as Native Americans
boarded the East India Company ships in Boston Harbor. They
opened chests of tea and dumped their contents into the
water. This was repeated in other less known instances up
and down the coast.
1776 China was the main tea source of eighteenth century.
Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka), Central and Eastern
African countries were sending teas to the London Auction.
1833 The East India Company enjoyed its monopoly for two
and a half centuries. Independent merchants campaigned for
change and modernization, which was achieved in 1833.
1834 An imperial edict from the Chinese Emperor closed all
Chinese ports to foreign vessels until the end of the First
Opium War in 1842. Royal Assent was given to the Bill who
rescinded the charter given to the East India Company; this
came into force on 22nd, April 1834. The brokers began to
look for new premises and found a dancing studio in
Exchange Alley, City of London. In November 1834 the tea
auctions were moved again to the newly built London
Commercial Salesrooms, Mincing Lane and remained there
until 30th January 1937 when they moved down the lane to
The Scottish botanist/adventurer Robert Fortune, who spoke
fluent Chinese, was able to sneak into mainland China the
first year after the first Opium War. His second journey to
China was for the East India company to obtain the finest
tea plants (20,000) to establish plantations in India. He
obtained some of the closely guarded tea seeds and made
notes on tea cultivation. With support from the Crown,
various experiments in growing tea in India were attempted.
Many of these failed due to bad soil selection and
incorrect planting techniques, ruining many a younger son
of a noble family. Through each failure, however, the
technology was perfected. Finally, after years of trial and
error, fortunes made and lost, the English tea plantations
in India and other parts of Asia flourished. The great
English tea marketing companies were founded and production
mechanized as the world industrialized in the late 1880's.
The first three American millionaires, T. H. Perkins of
Boston, Stephen Girard of Philadelphia, and John Jacob
Astor of New York, all made their fortunes in the China
trade. America began direct trade with China soon after the
Revolution was over in 1789. America's newer, faster
clipper ships outsailed the slower, heavier English "tea
wagons" that had until then dominated the trade. This
forced the English navy to update their fleet, a fact
America would have to address in the War of 1812.
The new American ships established sailing records that
still stand for speed and distance. John Jacob Astor began
his tea trading in 1800. He required a minimum profit on
each venture of 50% and often made 100%. Stephen Girard of
Philadelphia was known as the "gentle tea merchant". His
critical loans to the young (and still weak) American
government enabled the nation to re-arm for the War of
1812. The orphanage founded by him still perpetuates his
good name. Thomas Perkins was from one of Boston's oldest
sailing families. The Chinese trust in him as a gentleman
of his word enabled him to conduct enormous transactions
half way around the world without a single written
contract. His word and his handshake was enough so great
was his honor in the eyes of the Chinese. It is to their
everlasting credit that none of these men ever paid for tea
with opium. America was able to break the English tea
monopoly because its ships were faster and America paid in
1840's Clipper ships, built in America, sped-up the
transportation of tea to America and Europe, livening the
pace of trade. Some ships could make the trip from Hong
Kong to London in ninety-five days. Races to London became
commonplace; smugglers and blockade runners also benefited
from the advances in sailing speeds. By the mid-1800's the
world was involved in a global clipper race as nations
competed with each other to claim the fastest ships.
England and America were the leading rivals. Each year the
tall ships would race from China to the Tea Exchange in
London to bring in the first tea for auction. Though
beginning half way around the world, the mastery of the
crews was such that the great ships often raced up the
Thames separated by only by minutes. But by 1871 the newer
steamships began to replace these great ships.
Trade with China and Japan had brought knowledge of tea to
the Arabs starting in the 9th century. Certain of their
ancient tales mention the drink. However, their interest
remained dormant until the 19th century.
Production of tea in India soared during the 19th century
due, among other things, to mechanization of the
plantations. The English began to worry about possible
overproduction. As they searched out new markets, they
thought that if they introduced tea to the Arabs, they
could divest themselves of their surplus. At the time the
Arabs were in the habit of drinking mint or absinthe; they
welcomed tea, as it blended in well and attenuated the
bitterness of their infusions.
Tea met with such success that it was soon being consumed
at all hours. It became a national drink, intimately
associated with hospitality and sociability. Of the 20
nations in the world that consume the most tea, half are
Arab countries (Turkey, Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait, Tunisia,
Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia). Most Islamic
countries, including Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
import and consume black tea, while Morocco and Afghanistan
are the two main consumers of green tea.
In the Arab countries, mint tea or n‚a-naa is the ritual
drink of hospitality. Besides helping to digest spiced or
fatty food, it is thought to comfort the anguished spirit,
calm the insomniac, awaken the slumbering, sharpen the
senses, constrain the over-exuberance of youth, and soothe
the ills of old age. It is served in palaces and it is
served in the most modest of rooms, in offices, stores,
markets and cafes, at all hours of the day and night. One
never refuses tea.
The tea ritual in these countries is exclusively masculine.
The man of the house or the oldest son is responsible for
preparing and serving. He places three teaspoons of green tea in a teapot and pours boiling water on top, then
strains it off immediately in order to clean the leaves and
remove a little of their bitterness. He then once again
pours boiling water over the tea (often gunpowder tea) and adds
the mint leaves, which have previously been washed. Once
the whole has been left to infuse, he adds pieces of sugar
broken off from a sugar loaf. He pours out one glass,
immediately pours it back into the pot, and may repeat this
operation a second time. The tea is poured from very high
up in order to oxygenate it, then it is served in large
painted crystal glasses.
Tea is always served in three rounds. While the guests are
drinking the first round, which may not contain mint, the
master of the house adds tea, mint and sugar to the leaves
already in the pot, and allows this blend to infuse. This
second preparation will be more robust than the first. The
third round proceeds as for the second, and will be
stronger yet. Sometimes a fourth round, made without the
addition of tea, will be prepared for the children.
An Arab proverb expresses the spirit of the three rounds:
"The first glass is as bitter as life;
The second glass is as sweet as love;
The third glass is as soothing as death."
1870 Twinings of England began to blend tea for
consistency. Tea companies to blossom in Britain by
the late nineteenth century blending, branding and
packaging were giving the public a wide variety of choice.
Beginning in the late 1880's in both America and England,
fine hotels began to offer tea service in tea rooms and tea
courts. Served in the late afternoon, Victorian ladies (and
their gentlemen friends) could meet for tea and
conversation. Many of these tea services became the
hallmark of the elegance of the hotel, such as the tea
services at the Ritz (Boston) and the Plaza (New York).
By 1910 hotels began to host afternoon tea dances as dance
craze after dance craze swept the United States and
England. Often considered wasteful by older people they
provided a place for the new "working girl" to meet men in
a city, far from home and family. (Indeed, the editor of
Vogue once fired a large number of female secretarial
workers for "wasting their time at tea dances").
1900 Trans-Siberian railroad made transport to Russia
cheaper and faster. Java became an important producer as
well. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the London
Tea Auction had grown in importance. Most working days of
the week were allotted to a particular country's sale with
minor suppliers being herded together on convenient days.
1904 Richard Blechynden created iced tea for the St. Louis
World Fair. America stabilized her government, strengthened
her economy, and expanded her borders and interests. By
1904 the United States was ready for the world to see her
development at the St. Louis World's Fair. Trade exhibitors
from around the world brought their products to America's
first World's Fair. One such merchant was Richard
Blechynden, a tea plantation owner. Originally, he had
planned to give away free samples of hot tea to fair
visitors. But when a heat wave hit, no one was interested.
To save his investment of time and travel, he dumped a load
of ice into the brewed tea and served the first "iced tea".
It was (along with the Egyptian fan dancer) the hit of the
1909 Thomas Sullivan invented tea bags in New York, sending
tea to clients in silk bags, which they began to mistakenly
steep without opening.
As a tea merchant, he carefully wrapped each sample
delivered to restaurants for their consideration. He
recognized a natural marketing opportunity when he realized
the restaurants were brewing the samples "in the bags" to
avoid the mess of tea leaves in the kitchens.
1910 Sumatra, Indonesia grows and exports tea. Soon
thereafter, tea is grown in Kenya and other parts of
1918 A National Tea Control was brought in, tea was split
into three grades and sold at a fixed retail price of two
shillings and eight pence, the equivalent of three and a
half modern pence.
1919 The London Tea Auction resumed on 5th May 1919.
1920 - 1930 The tea trade suffered a slump like most other
industry in Britain. However the tea trade found export
markets to fill the gap.
1940 As Britain recovered, so did the UK tea trade, but
again the economy collapsed with World War II. In 1940 tea
was rationed, this remained until October 1952.
1952 The London Tea Auction resumed and took place in
Plantation House until it moved to Sir John Lyon House on
8th, February 1971. Since then the tea trade has seen the
introduction of the off shore auction, tea sold by the
container whilst on route for the UK and the growth of the
producer countries' own auctions due to increased volumes.
1970 The Taiwanese government encouraged its population to
drink tea, revitalizing tea culture on the island.
1998 In the last twenty years the frequency of and volumes
sold at the London Tea Auction have declined. In 1990 the
auction moved to The London Chamber of Commerce where it
closed in 1998.
2003 India is the country with the most tea consumption in
the world - an average of 651,000 metric tons per year.
China is second, and consumes about 463,000 metric tons per
year. USA is number one consumer of iced tea, with between
80% and 85% of our total tea consumed that way. Tea is more
popular than ever in America today. Currently, there is a
re-awakening of interest in tea as many Americans seek a
more positive, healthy lifestyle. Fine hotels throughout
the United States are re-establishing or planning for the
first time afternoon tea services.