News Bites From the World of Tea

Ceylon Black Tea
Ceylon Black Tea

As mentioned in a recent article here, India’s tea industry is hopeful that the government there will declare tea the country’s national drink. At least one government official cautiously suggested as much not so long ago. But a more recent news report claims that another government minister is not so confident, citing a similar initiative that failed in 2006.

In China, the world’s largest producer of tea, they turn out all kinds of the stuff, from black and green to white and yellow to oolong and puerh. But according to one article there’s been something of a fad there lately among China’s middle class for what the report called “British-style black tea.” Which is not necessarily a problem in and of itself, but there are concerns that the increased demand will push prices higher for these varieties.

Speaking of black tea, let’s take a moment to speak of Sri Lanka, a country that’s arguably best known for producing a distinctive variety of black tea known as Ceylon (a nod to the country’s former name). The word there these days is that their distinctive Ceylon tea may soon become a little less distinctive as they seek to boost profits by blending it with less expensive imported varieties.

This article has mentioned some of the world’s more notable tea growing regions thus far. One country that doesn’t come up much in these discussions is New Zealand, and it’s a situation that at least one tea company is trying to remedy. The firm, who grow tea there, has blended the names of its home country with its preferred tea type (oolong) to come up with its own name – Zealong. Here’s an article and video from the local press.

Coming up with the best places in the world to drink tea might seem a herculean task. Which didn’t stop a writer from Travel + Leisure magazine from recently devising A Global Guide to the Best Tea. The article is actually a chronicle of a trip to the Wuyi Mountains region of China, which are renowned primarily for their high-quality oolong tea. Also included, a rather ambitious guide to six of the Best Places to Drink Tea in America.

Finally, if it’s job security you crave, you could do a lot worse than to be the Queen of England. At least two companies (Twinings, East India) celebrated the Queen’s sixty years of laboring in the regal salt mines with special tea blends and spiffy caddies to store said tea in. Here’s one of them.

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