Top 10 facts you didn't know about tea

Top 10 facts you didn't know about tea

Top 10 facts about tea


How did the UK become a tea drinking nation?

The custom of drinking tea reportedly dates back to the third millennium BC in China. The English were relatively late to the ‘tea party’ as it was Portuguese and Dutch traders who first imported tea to Europe.

During the 1660s King Charles II, and his wife the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza, made tea a popular drink among the elite in the UK.

According to the UK Tea & Infusions Association: “She was a Portuguese princess, and a tea addict, and it was her love of the drink that established tea as a fashionable beverage first at court, and then among the wealthy classes as a whole.”


How did tea become a drink of the masses?

Reports claim it was the coffee houses in the 1600s that were responsible for selling the brew but it was still the drink of the elite. By the 18th century Government taxation on tea meant smuggling was rife across the UK.

William Pitt, the Prime Minister, introduced the Commutation Act of 1784, which reduced the tax on tea from 119% to 12.5%. The resulting drop in price meant that, by the 19th Century, tea had become a drink for all classes.


The origins of Afternoon Tea

According to website History UK the whole concept of afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840.

“The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon,” it said

“The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon.”


The Drinker:

Young people, particularly women, are driving tea consumption in the UK, the National Tea Day Modern Tea Trends 2019 report recently revealed. 

In its survey of 50 tea brands, it found that half (50%) saw the 24 to 35-year-old segment as their biggest growing demographic, followed by 25% that highlighted the 35 to 45-year-old age group.

The majority of tea companies (69%) said growth was being driven by female drinkers, with only 12% saying growth was from male drinkers, while 19% did not know.


How much is the current tea market worth in the out-of-home market?

Allegra World Coffee Portal’s report into the out-of-home tea market in 2018 predicted continued growth over the next five years in the tea market.

Allegra forecasted total sector value was expected to reach £439m by 2022, representing 9.2% CAGR growth for the period.

Euromonitor International revealed that tea declined by 3% in retail volume terms, but recorded 2% retail current value growth in 2018. 


Value and Price

Tea presents better value for the consumer: an average cup of coffee cost £1.98 in 2015 and £2.10 in 2017; while the price of an average cup of tea cost £1.69 in 2015 and £1.77 in 2017,  The Tetley Tea Report 2018 revealed.

Matcha and green tea were two blends that consumers were willing to pay a little more for, and were drinking with greater frequency.



The Tetley Tea Report 2018 agreed that the majority of tea drinkers are aged 35 or under and were looking for a premium drink offering - 59% of 18-34 year olds were seeking to ‘premiumise their drinks choices’.

A survey by National Tea Day of consumers found that they would be prepared to pay £5 for a speciality tea, £4.20 for an iced tea in bottle format served in a glass with garnish, £3.50 for Matcha Latte, £2.20 for herbal tea and £1.85 for breakfast tea.



While tea consumption remains the dominant tea drunk out of home Allegra World Coffee Portal report observed significant growth in fruit, herbal and green tea compared to traditional black tea, with 58% of operators adding more specialty teas to their menus in the last three years.

Ayub Diaz Ayub, National Tea Day founder and tea futurist, said the growth in specialty teas was primarily driven by millennials who were looking for teas which are deemed healthier for body and mind; and were willing to pay more for these nourishing moments


Health and wellness

Health-focused products, such as matcha and kombucha, have been hitting the UK market in response to consumer demands.

National Tea Day, revealed that a staggering 80% of tea brands surveyed confirmed that health and wellness was the overriding trend driving sales and consequently a key growth area for them.

An analyst at Euromonitor International said: "In 2018, several brands launched “tea latte” variants in their portfolios, following the “Superfood Lattes” trend due to out-of-home consumption to reach younger, more health-conscious and Instagram-friendly consumers.

"Furthermore, an increasing number of plant-based options is expected over the forecast period due to the growing focus on dairy-free alternatives, as consumers associate milk-free with natural and healthier options."



Ayub Diaz Ayub, National Tea Day founder and tea futurist, said that there is going to see more tea experiences popping up, whether that’s afternoon teas or tea pairing menus as tea drinkers become more focused on the enjoyment and ‘the moment’ that a cup of tea brings. Venues will need to be offering experiences far beyond what is offered at home in order to succeed next year.

In its survey of F&B leaders it found that 95% highlighted that experience was key to remaining competitive.





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