Could tea be the new fountain of youth?


The fact that tea sales in the US are up 20% since 2000 would be reason enough for teaists to be excited about the growing number of converts who are joining our flock. But the bigger news—and the reason that this tea trend will continue for quite some time—is supported by a recent survey conducted by yougov.com that found consumers aged 18-29 enjoy tea on an equal basis with coffee.  

When polled, 42% of these young consumers prefer tea and 42% prefer coffee. That’s a strong indicator that America is steadily growing a tea-drinking culture.



Why tea? Soft drinks sales are flat-lining and young consumers are looking for artisan beverages that have a story. Both craft beers and hand-picked teas fit those criteria. Bigger still, young consumers consider green tea to be an important component of a healthy lifestyle. McDonald’s, also facing sluggish sales, might want to consider adding green tea to their menu!

Camellia Sinensis Tea House, Montreal

I wrote an article a decade ago about the need for British consumers to blow the dust off their tea drinking habits because America was out-pacing their love for tea. At the time, a survey was had been published that highlighted the steady loyalty given to tea sales by English women aged 55-70. That was good for tea sales at the time, but the sad news was that younger Brits considered tea to be what their grandmothers drank. Twenty-somethings across the UK deemed tea to be outdated and a bit frumpy. Consequently, the marketplace was not developing future consumers.

However, they are making progress across the pond today. The British tea market is putting on a fresh face as tea shops and tea bars are popping up all across the country. Many of these establishments are both owned by young entrepreneurs and geared toward a younger clientele. Still, they are several years behind America’s incredible tea renaissance. That’s something few of us in the tea trade would have predicted two decades ago.


Photographs copyrighted by Bruce Richardson. Chart courtesy of yougov.com.

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