Tea arrived in the West a few centuries ago and is continuing to thrive. Those who were sceptical about the drink are becoming fascinated by its great potential and its ability to adapt to current trends. There are a thousand and one ways of preparing and drinking tea, just waiting to be discovered!
The great tea turnabout
The world of tea has been going through a major shake-up in recent years, as people’s habits have changed. The centuries-old divide between tea and coffee is beginning to crumble.
In the United Kingdom, since 2010, tea has lost 22% of its sales to coffee. The Japanese, whilst ever-faithful to tea, are now also trying out coffee. By contrast, tea is gaining ground in countries where, until now, it did not have a particularly good reputation. In France, for example, its consumption has been steadily rising. Even though, on the one hand, tea may be seen there as a dull drink, enlivened by a slice of lemon, on the other hand, consumers are waking up to the countless varieties of tea, from different origins and to special blends. Flavoured teas have become particularly popular and more and more places now sell tea.
Equipment for preparing tea has been tailored to current consumer tastes and lifestyles and to a more individualistic style of consumption. A huge variety of easy-to-use, easy-to-clean kettles, teapots and filters in all shapes, styles and sizes are now widely available. The most recent newcomer is a tea-maker that drew its inspiration from Nespresso coffee machines. Special. T, with tea capsules, appeared on the market a few years ago. Everything is automated, from the quantity of tea to the temperature of the water to suit the type of tea and also the infusion time.
The arrival of iced tea
Ready-to-drink chilled iced tea arrived in Europe in the 1970s. Although less conventional than a traditional cup of hot tea, it definitely helped rejuvenate the image of tea as a whole. It has had tremendous success since the 1990s and is now sold in bottles, cans and packs, in a variety of flavours, in sparkling and sugar free versions. This drink has been successful partly due to the fact that people are concerned about health and tea is seen as having therapeutic qualities. However, it is not all that different from other fizzy drinks.
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