People Pouring Into What Appears To Be A Rising Tea Market In Canada
Imagine yourself in China, 2737 BC, the first person in the world to stumble upon tea. What would the first cup taste like? A recent surge of tea sales in Canada shows that almost 5,000 years later, the drink hasn’t finished catching on.
Tea’s history is unparalleled in the beverage world. As late as the Han Dynasty from 202 BC to 220 AD, tea was relatively restricted to China and reserved for the rich and royal. During the Tang Dynasty from 618 to 907 AD, tea became a drink enjoyed by all social classes in China. Traveling researchers soon brought the drink back to Japan, where it quickly became a cultural staple. Tea didn’t become a favorite in England until the 1600s when the English King Charles II married Portuguese Princess Catherine. Through the East India Company tea became a world wide export and has been ever since.
Lately, the tea business has exploded in Canada. In 2012, Canadian sales of the drink totaled 517 million with over 13,800 tonnes of tea sold. Businesses are chasing the profit the tea craze is bringing, with specialty tea shops especially popular as tea becomes a drink of choice outside of the home. Tea served as the favorite drink of Canada before 1940, but for the next 20 years coffee took that title. However, as clinical research started to show medical benefits from compounds in tea leaves, people started drinking more tea.
Thus, part of the reason for tea’s recent surge in popularity may be the nutritional value of this delicious drink. Chamomile tea contains compounds called hippurate and glycine that scientists report may provide many health benefits, from relieving menstrual cramps to protecting our immune systems. The scientists noted the beneficial compounds in chamomile tea may stay in the human body for up to two weeks, providing advantages long after the cup is finished. Meanwhile, peppermint tea claims several positive health effects, not the least of which is a high quantity of antioxidants, chemicals that help protect the body from cancer. Peppermint tea also helps to reduce digestive discomfort.
Variety also matters to customers, a fact Starbucks took advantage of in buying the Teavana brand, which has over 50 stores in Canada. Since nearly 10 billion cups of tea are enjoyed each year by Canadians, it’s not surprising people have their favorite flavors. Canada isn’t even the world’s largest consumer! Turkey drinks the most tea in the world, followed by India and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom, in addition to enjoying the nutritional value of this delicious drink, is also in the top 3 for most caffeine per a cup of tea. Can Canada catch up?