I’m going to go out on a limb here. I don’t have any special insight into the future, but I’m going to hazard a guess even so. Tea has been with us for many thousands of years and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Although you wouldn’t know it from the “tea is under assault” type articles that seem to turn up in the media with mind-numbing regularity.
I wouldn’t want to disparage the good people who write these articles by saying that they fall into a rather predictable pattern – but they kind of do. It’s goes something like this: A certain huge company that’s best known for its coffee (yes, that one – though it should be noted that they also sell tea) moves into a country that’s best known for tea culture or production or both, a country like China, England, or India, and suddenly we’re to believe that tea is under siege and the end of tea drinking is nigh.
Which makes for good PR and it may even contain the tiniest wee grain of truth, but I’d venture to say that it’s a major exaggeration, at the very least. A recent and rather lengthy article from the Seattle Times (hometown paper for said coffee chain) walked this well-trodden ground yet again, marveling at the long lines, security guards and general hullabaloo that resulted when said chain opened a store in Mumbai, India not long ago and examining the rise of coffee at the expense of tea. However, the article strived for at least a measure of balance, noting that “India’s love of tea abides. With incomes increasing, people support both.” More here.
For even more of this sort of thing, consider an article published late last year in the Australian press. It took the clever approach of branding tea a “has-bean.” Needless to say, the gist of things, yet again, is that coffee drinking is on the rise in Australia while tea drinking is declining and everyone is about one step away from pitching their teapots into the street. Okay, so I maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.
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