What are the World's Top Tea Drinking Countries, and Why?
The countries that drink the most tea per capita might surprise you.
What is going on? China is number twenty, Japan number 10, and the top three are not even in East Asia, where tea comes from! The place where tea is most popular is Turkey! [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tea_consumption_per_capita] Why do countries like Turkey, Azerbaijan and Ireland (followed in the list by the United Kingdom) drink so much tea?
In every country's connection to tea there is usually some history. Besides tea, Turkish cuisine also has a great number of other traditional drinks made with fruit, milk or yoghurt, sugar and spices, as well as popular alcoholic drinks. Even now a visit to Istanbul or Izmir will often lead to ritual tasting of one or more of these delicious infusions mixtures, depending on the time of day or season of the year. With all this variety on offer, why do Turks nowadays drink more tea than anyone else?
One reason given by many people is to do with economic changes in the 20th century. Tea had been introduced to Turkey as a widespread drink in part by the Russian Empire, which invaded and occupied part of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century. After this, tea began to be grown in larger quantities over time, especially in Rize, which borders the Black Sea (on the other side of which is the shore which remains part of the Russian federation today). After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire Modern Turkey was still coffee-centered. After WW2, in the 1970s, a crisis in the economy meant that many Turks couldn't get coffee. Soon the black tea from Rize, easier to make and cheaper than coffee, became the most popular drink.
Anyone who visits Turkey will have a chance to try Rize tea. One of the most prevalent preparations in the country involves black tea flavored with apples: Elma Çay. This and other teas are often highly sweetened and drunk hot from small glasses, allowing the pleasure of refilling and drink again before the tea has a chance to go cold.