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The amount of tea sold in America has increased five-fold in the last 25 years, making it a legitimate land of tea drinkers. Tea is now a $10 billion dollar industry. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates a 40 percent growth in annual tea consumption in the past 20 years.
Some other impressive statistics provided by the U.S. Tea Association are that 80 percent of Americans have teabags and pots in their kitchens and more than half drink at least one cup of tea every day.
How America’s Tea Habits Differ from the Rest of the World
Although Americans are drinking more tea, they’re doing it in their own way. For example, iced tea is popular here but not widely served in China, India, or England. Tea drinkers in the United States also tend to favor preparing their tea with ready-to-drink bags and many will pay extra for fancier and specialized teas. Companies like Mighty Leaf and Teavana have sprung up to meet this need and continue to enjoy soaring annual sales.
More than half of the tea consumed in this country is black tea while fruit and herbal tea follows at a quarter of the consumption. As the number of tea consumption continues to climb, coffee consumption remains about the same.
Tea Draws People Together
In addition to learning to love the taste of tea, Americans are discovering that they enjoy the social aspect of drinking it as well. Because tea is a drink consumed slowly, it gives people the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed atmosphere. Tea is a highly soothing drink that offers many health benefits as well. It contains vitamins and antioxidants that help to improve the body’s natural immunity. Drinking tea also brings cultures together as people from diverse backgrounds learn to appreciate the customs of others.
Love of Tea Influenced by Chinese Customs
For many tea shop owners in America, the idea to create a new business came from visiting Chinatown areas in the United States or visiting the country. Jeffrey McIntosh, who currently works as a specialist in the tea industry, is one of them. His career change came by accident when he visited Chinatown in Seattle and did something as simple as sitting down for a hot cup of tea. He felt relaxed for the first time in years and could almost feel the stress leave his body.
The experience had such an impact on him that he drastically changed his life by traveling to China to learn more about tea and then settled into his new career. He wants as many people as possible to know how much having a cup of tea in hand can change their lives.
Growing Interest in Tea Rituals
As the popularity of tea continues to grow in the United States, so does the interest in rituals associated with making tea. For example, Z & Y Restaurant in San Francisco has a Kung Fu tea master on staff who entertains diners with the way he pours tea. Using a kettle with an extremely long spout, the master pours the hot water into a teacup from a distance of several feet away.
People receiving their tea in this manner appreciate the extreme precision and skill as well as the uniqueness. It should come as no surprise to tea lovers to see more of these types of activities spring up across the United States.