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What makes the UK tea market unique?

China beckons once again for Northern Tea Merchants’ James Pogson. Later in March he will be a keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual International Yibin Tea Conference, where he’ll reveal how the UK tea market differs from the rest of the world.

James will be speaking in his capacity as an Executive Director of the United Kingdom Tea and Infusions Association, enlightening delegates from all over the world on the UK tea market – which is recognised as being unique globally.

Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK is considered strange in its nation’s tea drinking habits. Why? We prefer black small leaf teabags, which accounts for 94% of all tea drunk here.

Our European cousins prefer to drink loose large leaf tea as well as different herbs and blends. Where our supermarket shelves are dominated by three main brands of tea (you know who we mean), visit a German supermarket, for example, and you’ll find a far wider range of quality leaf tea products on the shelves than in the UK. But, the UK market is changing.

Tea drinkers here are becoming more adventurous, looking for new and exciting tastes, with speciality teas topping the lists. In the last five years, sales of fruit and herbal teabags have increased by 24% and sales of green teabags have leapt a massive 41%. In fact, the green tea and infusions market is increasing 8% year-on-year.Conversely, black tea sales have seen a steady decline of 3% each year since 2013.

But we are still a nation of tea drinkers. Last year, we worked our way through 165 million cups of tea every day – that’s more than 6 billion cups a year!

If you want to discover Northern Tea Merchant’s range of herbal infusions for yourself, you’ll find them on our website here. We can heartily recommend Lemon Verbena, it’s a deliciously light lemony drink and a great introduction to herbal infusions.


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