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Apart from water, tea is the most popular drink in the world.

In many parts of the world, consuming tea is nothing short of a ritual. According to an estimate, every year, an astronomical 7,68,500,000,000 (Nearly 768 billion) cups of tea are consumed around the globe. Tea, made from the tender leaves and buds of a once wild tree has had a strong influence for centuries on the economy of tea-producing, trading and drinking countries.

Different regions have different tea cultures. In fact, tea culture varies within a region too. Some of the major factors affecting tea culture are acquired palette, availability of tea, climactic conditions, social-cultural factors, individual preferences, etc. to name a few.

Turkey has the highest per capita consumption in the world at followed by Ireland and UK. Let us look at tea consumption and preferences across different parts of world.

Great Britain is a country famous for the custom of afternoon tea and credited with the introduction of that habit to the world, holds the world record as the largest importer of tea. It also boasts one of the highest consumption of tea per capita in the world – nearly 4 cups per day, per person. And this trend is prevalent across demographics - men, women and children. For a long time, the tea trade had a major impact on Britain’s economy.

South Asian countries have a predominantly tea culture and it is much more than a beverage in this part of the world, rather it a part of their culture. It is customary in most of these places to offer tea to any guest.

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is famous for tea production & Ceylon tea is highly reputed for its quality and taste. Tea is Sri Lanka’s largest foreign exchange earner.

South East Asian countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and East Asian countries like Japan & Korea has a strong tea culture. Proximity to tea producing regions is one of the reasons for prevalent tea culture.

China is where tea originated and it has moved on from being an object of connoisseurship to being a household drink. The loose-leaf tea and purple clay teaware are quite popular in preparing tea in China.

Middle East & Africa – Turkey has the highest per capita tea consumption. Tea culture is also prevalent in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Somalia and other countries of the region.

Europe – Unlike Great Britain, most of the countries in Europe have a coffee culture, tea is being preferred in certain pockets. In colder regions like Russia, usually stronger tea is preferred.

United States of America, like most of the American subcontinent has a predominantly coffee culture, but usage of tea is prevalent in certain pockets. Here, the tea usage often alternates between ices tea and hot tea, depending upon the season.

Today, world tea production amounts to around 2.34 billion kg per year. India holds the number one position as the largest tea-producing nation in the world, with a yearly output of approximately 850 million kg. China, where tea originated, today is the second largest tea producer and contributes 22% of world tea output. Other notable tea-producing countries include Argentina, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Georgia, Kenya, Indonesia and Japan.

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