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, nearly 127 million people, or half of all Americans are drinking tea.
Annual Consumption: (U.S.) In 2001, Americans consumed well over 50 billion servings of tea, or over 2.25 billion gallons. About 92% of all tea consumed is Black Tea, 8% Green Tea and a small residual – Oolong Tea.
Daily Consumption: (U.S.) On any given day, about one half the population drinks tea. On a regional basis, the South and Northeast have the greatest concentration of tea drinkers.
Iced Tea Consumption: America is unique in it’s tea consumption habits in that approximately 85% is consumed over ice.
Ready-To-Drink Iced Teas: Over the last nine years, Ready-To-Drink tea has grown nearly ten fold. In 2001, Ready-To-Drink sales are conservatively estimated at $1.80 billion.
Tea Bags, Loose Tea & Iced Tea Mixes: In 2001 over 65% of the tea brewed in the United States was prepared using tea bags. Iced tea mix comprises about one fourth of all tea prepared in the U.S. instant and loose tea account for the balance with instant tea declining and loose tea gaining in popularity, especially in specialty tea and coffee outlets.
Current Sales: 2001 was the tenth consecutive year that consumer purchases of tea increased. Retail supermarket sales alone surpassed the $1.75 billion dollar mark. Away- from-home consumption has been increasing by at least 10% annually over the last decade.
Anticipated Sales: (U.S.) The industry anticipates strong, continuous growth over then next five years. This growth will come from all segments driven by convenience, interest in the healthful properties of tea and in the continued discovery of specialty tea.
Varieties: Black, Green and Oolong teas all come form the same plant, Camellia sinensis, a warm-weather evergreen. Differences among the three types of tea result from the degree of processing and the level of contact with oxygen. Black and Oolong teas are allowed to oxidize up to three hours for Black and a shorter period for Oolong. As a result, the leaves undergo natural chemical reactions, which result in taste and color changes, and allow for distinguishing characteristics. Green tea is not oxidized, and after processing, most closely resembles the chemical composition of the fresh tealeaf. Oolong is a tea that is midway between Black and Green teas in color and strength.
Grown In: Much of the world’s tea is grown in mountainous areas usually 3,000 – 7,000 feet above sea level, situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, in mineral-rich soil. Leading tea producing countries include Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya Malawi, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
History: Tea is nearly 5,000 years old. It was discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung, known as the “Divine Healer”, when as legend goes, some tea leaves accidentally blew into the Emperor’s pot of boiling water.In the 1600′s, tea became highly popular throughout Europe and the American colonies. Tea played a dramatic part in the establishment of the United States of America. In 1767 the British Government put a tax on the tea used by American colonists. Protesting this “taxation without representation”, the colonists decided to stop buying tea and refused to allow tea ships to be unloaded. One December night in 1723, men dressed as Indians boarded British ships in Boston Harbor and threw more than 300 chests of tea into the sea. This now famous Boston Tea Party, in protest of the British tea tax, was said to be one of the acts leading to the Revolutionary War.
Anna, Duchess of Bedford, is credited with creating Afternoon Tea, when, in about 1840, she began taking tea with a light snack around 4:00 p.m. to ward off ‘that sinking feeling’.
High Tea originated with the rural and working class British, who would return to their homes at about 6:00 p.m. for a typical meal of potted meats, fish cheese, salads, sweets, and a pot of strong tea. The U.S. played an important role in the history of tea, inventing the convenient tea bag in 1904 and iced tea, also in 1904, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Recently, the U.S. has led the rest of the world in marketing convenient Ready-To-Drink forms of tea in bottles.
Environmental Qualities: Tea is an all-natural and environmentally sound product from a renewable source. The tea plant is naturally resistant to most insects; oxidation of the tealeaf is a natural process; and, many tea packers use recycled paper for packaging.
Health Qualities: Tea is a refreshing beverage that contains no sodium, fat carbonation or sugar, and is virtually calorie-free. Tea helps maintain proper fluid balance. Tea doesn’t irritate the stomach and won’t make you feel gassy.Research is being conducted into the possible health benefits of this increasingly popular thirst quencher. Everyday, new medical evidence from the International Scientific Community lends credibility to tea’s healthy properties.
According to a recent study conducted at Tufts University, “Tea exerts more potent antioxidant activity than that of any of the 22 fruits and vegetables we tested”, said Robert L. Prior, Ph.D., lead author of study. The list of fruits and vegetables includes foods such as strawberries, garlic, broccoli and cauliflower.
Researchers from the American Health Foundation have found both black and green teas to be equally powerful in changing the metabolic pattern in the liver. Tea consumption increases the metabolic processes that detoxify environmental toxins and carcinogens in the rat liver, making it easier for them to be excreted.
A recent issue of Mutation Research reports that theaflavins, which are flavonoids present in (produced during the manufacture of), black tea, have both antioxidant and antimutagenic activity in vitro. Scientists believe that agents possessing these properties help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer and arteriosclerosis. Plans for testing this property of theaflavins in people are being developed.
Flavanoids, a large group of polyphenolic antioxidants that occur naturally in tea, may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids are scavengers of free radicals and therefore, may inhibit the oxidative modification of low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
Caffeine Content: Tea is naturally low in caffeine. A cup of tea, for example, contains about 40 milligrams of caffeine.
Cost Per Serving: Prepared in the home, tea costs about three cents per serving, cup or glass. Tea continues to remain one of the most economical beverages available
Tea: The smart choice for today and the millennium.
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