Tea, Canadian Style

As far as I can tell, when it comes to matters of tea, our good neighbors to the north are much like us here in the United States. In the overall scheme of things we Yanks don’t really drink all that much tea. Our consumption of just over a pound per person per year ranks us at about 70th on the list of the world’s tea drinkers. The Canadians drink a few ounces less per year and are ranked a few spots lower on the list.

Tea Rooms Canada - a guide to tea rooms "north of the border" (screen capture from site)
Tea Rooms Canada – a guide to tea rooms “north of the border” (screen capture from site)

As for growing tea, we don’t do much of that either here in the U.S., with just one plantation that turns out any noticeable quantity and a few that grow even less. As far as Canada goes, there’s only one small tea farm that I’m aware of – not that I’m the final authority on that sort of thing.

Something I have noticed in recent years is that Canada, like the U.S., seems to be getting on the tea bandwagon in a fairly significant way. It seems that more news stories have been cropping up about up and coming tea merchants there – and the drinkers who consume their wares – and off the top of my head I can think of at least one growing Canadian chain of tea shops of some size. Then there are the increasing number of Canadian tea merchants I’ve been running across as I make my regular forays throughout the tea-related segment of the Internet.

However, in the interests of coming up with actual figures to support my observations, I thought it might be a good idea to turn to the Tea Association of Canada, who claim to know a little bit about this topic. They reveal that the Canadians drink about nine billion cups of tea a year, with the province that has the largest share of the tea market being Ontario.

While the tea industry in Canada is, much like it is here, made up of a large chunk of unexceptional mass merchandised teas, the good news is that, like here, the specialty tea industry is on the rise. While tea consumption overall is expected to jump 40 percent by 2020, specialty tea is now outselling regular tea and, as the association notes, “specialty and upscale tea continue to gain in popularity and now account for nearly 60% of the total dollar market share in Canada.”

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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