Tea Exporting Countries
Article | Black Tea

Tea Exporting Countries

What is Tea?

Tea is the most available drink in the world after the water. There are 5 types of teas in the world.

  1. Black
  2. Green
  3. Oolong
  4. White
  5. Pu’er

Above teas come from the same plant, which is often shocking to tea newbies. Camellia sinensis is the scientific name for the tea plant. Camellia sinensis is an evergreen subtropical plant originating in Asia that is now planted all over the world. The tea plant thrives in soil that is loose and deep, at high altitudes, and in subtropical climes. In a nutshell, “tea” refers to any beverage made from the Camellia sinensis plant.

Growth of Tea Plant (Camellia sinensis)

The highest tea-growing areas are situated in Asia. There are two types of planters that are planting tea as cultivation.

  1. Small tea holders
  2. Large Estate holders (more than 5ha)

The best tea is produced at higher elevations, and on steep slopes. These premium teas must be hand-plucked due to the terrain. Manufacturing one pound of finished tea requires roughly 2,000 small leaves.

Many of the teas planted for large-scale commercial production are grown in flat, lowland locations. It should be emphasized, however, that some of the world’s best hand-picked teas originate from flat fields.

According to the manufacturing process, there are two varieties of made tea.

  1. Orthodox teas
  2. Unorthodox teas (CTC (Crush-Tear-Curl))

Orthodox teas are those that have been prepared in the traditional manner. Only the top two sensitive leaves and an unopened leaf bud are used to manufacture traditional teas. They are harvested by hand. Then processed in five basic procedures to create a myriad of types of tea. Most Orthodox tea production nowadays combines a unique blend of age-old processes. Tea is a genuine art form. It is important to treat tea with great care.

CTC (Unorthodox) is the most prevalent form of tea manufacturing. It is the alternative way to make tea. CTC refers to Crush-Tear-Curl. This new, considerably quicker method of manufacturing was devised exclusively for black tea. These teas may or may not have been hand-picked. To collect the young leaves for commercial production, massive machine harvesters “mow” the tops of the plants.

CTC is made via a leaf shredder, which macerates the leaves into small fragments by crushing, ripping, and curving them. After that, they are rolled into little balls. Actually, the end result looks a lot like Grape Nuts cereal. These teas will boil rapidly and make a strong, assertive cup of tea. Crush-tear-curl (CTC) is most commonly employed in the tea bag business.

Tea as a Product for Export

Tea is exported from other tea-growing countries to countries that are unsuitable for tea cultivation. Many parts of North Africa, Arabic nations, and Middle Asian countries are covered in desert.

So, they are making vegetable growing challenging. Green tea is a significant source of Vitamin C for the people who reside in such areas. In such areas, gun powder (a kind of green tea) and Dancha (compressed tea) are popular.

China currently exports 90% of its entire tea production to foreign countries. China is the world’s second-largest tea exporter, with a total value of tea exports that ranks third in the world. Tea drinking did not become popular in Europe and America until the 17th century.

Tea has never been extremely popular in Europe. European prefer to drink coffee and chocolate. However, in England and the United States, the practice of drinking tea became widespread. Then tea began to play an increasingly essential part in people’s lives.

For centuries, China was the only country in the world that exported tea. Tea plantations in colonial nations began to produce a consistent amount of tea in the late nineteenth century.  Japan ended its isolation and began tea exporting. This was also the moment when China’s tea monopoly came to an end.

Japan began to make black tea for sale to England at the time. Prior to World War II, Japanese tea was mostly manufactured for export, particularly to the United States. Surprisingly, Japan was the largest tea-supplying country in the United States in the early twentieth century.

After the war, Japan began selling huge quantities of gun powder to North Africa in about 1955, and subsequently, it ceased sending big quantities of tea to other countries. Because of its fast economic expansion, Japan was no longer able to compete in the global tea market with the prices other nations were providing.

Japan altered its tea output to meet domestic demand. Around this period, England’s colonial territories proclaimed independence one after the other, and England’s dominance over the world tea market waned. The London tea market was eventually shut down in June 1998. India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, East African nations, England, China, Indonesia, and Holland are the top tea exporting countries today.

Germany and countries in South America have also joined as tea exporting nations. Actually, nations such as Germany, England, and Holland are unable to cultivate tea. They create some of the finest blend teas and provide a wide range of tea types, including low-caffeine tea, flavored tea, and herbal tea.

People got increasingly concerned about their health and diet in the 1990s. People have begun to favor organic tea. Green tea’s reputation for health benefits also encourages consumers to drink more of it. Because the criteria were not well-suited to the Japanese tea-growing environment, many Japanese-grown teas failed to meet the criterion.

Not just because of the price, but also because of this, Japanese teas have become difficult to export. Green tea grown in India and Sri Lanka, on the other hand, is approved by EU standards and has high ‘Catechine’, therefore their tea exports have increased.

The majority of tea produced in China is for export, thus they changed the captivating procedure to fit the EU standard. Several nations have sought to sell green tea to the Japanese tea market, as well as Europe and North America, in recent years. Green tea production has risen dramatically in response to the new global trend.

World Tea Consumption

The world’s total tea consumption is 3,000,000 tons per year. It was estimated to be 2,500,000 tons in 1990. In ten years, consumption has increased by 50,000 tons.

India is the world’s most famous tea-drinking nation. Every year, around 6,200,000 tons of tea are consumed in India.

China is the second-largest tea consumer, followed by England and Japan. Every year, Japan consumes over 1,400,000 tons of tea. When it comes to the volume of tea consumed by each individual, however, individuals in England consume the most. Because India, China, and Russia are huge nations with vast populations, overall tea consumption is substantial.

However, this does not indicate that everyone drinks a lot of tea on a regular basis. Some Middle Eastern nations have a strong tea-drinking culture, with some countries having a very high tea consumption rate per person.

Tea is not widely consumed in Europe, with the exception of Ireland and England. Tea is not a popular beverage in Africa. Tea is as popular in New Zealand and Australia as it is in Japan.

Leading Tea Exporting Countries

Leading Tea Exporting Countries 2021

Tea Exporting in China

Last year, China produced 40% of the world’s tea and accounted for 31.8 percent of worldwide tea exports in terms of value. According to figures from the International Trade Center, although the value of tea exports declined by an average of 12.8 percent internationally during the last five years, the value of Chinese tea exports soared by 46.5 percent. China sold $2 billion worth of tea in 2019, up 13.1% from the previous year.

Despite Covid-19 lockdowns and preventative efforts that cut shipments by 3.94 percent through September, the export value increased in 2020.

China is the world’s largest tea producer.  They have always been eager to contribute to the global tea industry’s prosperity and play a positive role in improving tea product quality.

In 2019, China’s export income was 2.5 times that of India, the world’s second-largest tea producer, which shipped $803 million. In terms of value, India accounted for 12.6 percent of the worldwide market in that year.

Tea Exporting In Kenya

Kenyan farmers plant tea, which is a significant income crop. The primary source of foreign exchange for Kenya has always been tea.

The majority of tea produced in Kenya is black tea, with big tea planters also producing green, yellow, and white tea on demand.

The tea-growing districts of Kenya are blessed with a perfect environment, which includes tropical, volcanic red soils, evenly distributed annual rainfall of between 1200 mm and 1400 mm, and long sunny days.

On both sides of the Great Rift Valley, in the Kenyan Highlands, are the majority of Kenya’s tea-growing districts. [2] The Kericho tea plantation is one of the most important tea-growing regions in Kenya and one of the biggest in all of Africa.

Since 1924, it has been cultivated there. Over 157,720 hectares of land are used to cultivate tea, and 345,817 metric tons of tea are produced annually. Exports totaled over 325,533 metric tons.

Pakistan was the main country to which Kenyan tea was exported as of December 2021. Nearly 18.6 thousand metric tons of the goods were imported into the South Asian nation, which made up about 40% of the overall exports. Kenyan tea was exported in almost 46 thousand metric tons in the same month and was exchanged with over 45 nations.

Only after China and Sri Lanka does Kenya rank among the top exporters of tea worldwide. The nation is by far the largest producer of tea on the African continent. Unsurprisingly, the product is important to Kenya’s economy. Kenya earned 9.5 billion Kenyan shillings (about 86.2 million US dollars) from the tea trade in June 2021. 

Tea Exporting in Sri Lanka

Learn about the exquisite flavors, kinds, and types of Ceylon Tea that Sri Lankan tea manufacturers ship to markets across the world as bulk tea, tea bags, and loose leaf tea. To meet your needs, pick from a variety of tea exporters and providers.

Export performance of Ceylon Tea from 2012 to 2021

Export performance of Ceylon Tea from 2012 to 2021

Major markets of Ceylon tea

  • Iraq
  • Turkey
  • Russia
  • Iran
  • China
  • Azerbaijan
  • Libya
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria

Ceylon Tea is a specialty of Sri Lanka and is prized for its distinctive flavor, which is influenced by its special taste and traditional manufacturing techniques. Ceylon Tea, which is only hand-picked and produced using traditional artisan techniques, mixes production customs dating back to 1880 with cutting-edge packaging techniques to provide consumers with a fresh product. Additionally, Ceylon Tea is the first ozone-friendly tea in the world and is made in accordance with ISO and world food safety standards.

Tea Exporting in India

The second-largest tea producer in the world is India.

Why Indian tea is best among other teas in the world?

  • Strong geographical indications
  • Significant investment in tea processing facilities
  • Ongoing innovation
  • An expanded product mix
  • Strategic market growth

According to a 2018 report, tea was grown on 6.37 lakh hectares of land in India. India is also one of the top tea-drinking nations in the world, with domestic consumers consuming 80% of all tea produced there. In both the calendar year 2020 and the financial year 2020–21, India produced a total of 1,283 million kg of tea.

In 2020, the northern region of India produced the most tea, accounting for around 77 percent of the nation’s yearly production. Assam and West Bengal have produced the most tea. Assam’s two tea-producing areas are the Assam valley and Cachar. The three producing regions of West Bengal are the Dooars, Terai, and Darjeeling.

The biggest producing states are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka, which together account for around 18% of the nation’s overall output.

Export performance of Ceylon Tea from 2017 to 2021

Export performance of Ceylon Tea from 2017 to 2021

More than 25 nations throughout the world are recipients of Indian tea exports.

Indian Tea Importers
  • China
  • Russia
  • Iran
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United State
  • United Kindom

About 22% of the entire amount and 15% of the total value of tea shipped from India between April and November 2021 come to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the other CIS nations.

Other significant importers from India include Iran, UAE, the US, the UK, Germany, and Japan, who together account for around 14 percent, 8 percent, 7 percent, 6 percent, 5 percent, and 2 percent of the country’s overall exports.

Among the biggest importers in the world, Netherland, Ireland, Poland, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, and Australia each provide 1 to 3 percent of global exports.

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