Tea is considered the second most popular drink in the world, only after water. According to the statistics by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global consumption of black tea increased by 3.5% over the past decade and reached a whooping figure of 6.4 million tons in 2021.

A research report from Expert Market Research said that the global tea market is worth 49.7 billion USD by 2022. The research company believes that this industry is being driven by the trend of health drinks and ready-to-drink beverages. In addition, Expert Market Research’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the tea market is 6.2% from 2023 to 2028, with an estimated value of 71 billion USD at the end of the forecast period.

Like other industries, tea production, despite being one of the oldest fields in human history, is using advanced technologies. One such field is changing the chemical composition of tea leaves to create new flavors and aromas. Typically, tea is produced in regions with low levels of human development and technology, then opens up the possibility of improved production performance through the application of technology. This application has been bringing positive results. For example, the computerization of the tea harvesting process at Kenya’s purchasing points has led to a reduction in operating costs. Another example of technology supporting tea companies, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, is the cooperation between Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) and tea factories in Sri Lanka.

Tea is considered the second most popular drink in the world, only after water. 

As the pandemic disrupted live tea auctions, a partner of Microsoft cooperated with the Tea Council of Sri Lanka to create an online auction platform. This platform is supported by Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Computing department, and in 2021 it allowed Sri Lankan tea companies to sell a whopping 278 million kg of tea to create 1.2 billion USD of foreign exchange income. In the long run, the E-Auction platform aims to be able to sell 5 batches per minute, during the auction period of one day.

Besides, China’s tea production has developed over time, and from using only water wheels for crushing, it has developed into large-scale processing plants using electrification, serialization, automation, and machinery. Currently, Chinese tea companies use cameras to monitor their tea fields and weather stations to understand the environment, solar panels to charge blue light arrays that are turned on at night to drive away insects, and infrared rays to control quality and reduce impurities.

The global tea market is worth 49.7 billion USD by 2022. 

Below is a list of the top 12 tea-exporting countries according to the data of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

12. Taiwan

Tea exports in 2021: 113 million USD

Taiwan’s tea exports in 2021 were worth 113 million USD, equivalent to 8,969 tons. One of Taiwan’s major tea companies is Taiwan Tea Corporation (TPE:2913.TW ). This Corporation was founded in 1899 and has been growing tea on its organic tea farms. They claim that no artificial processes or products are used to produce tea.

11. Russia

Tea exports in 2021: 115 million USD

A little-known fact about Russia is that tea is a central part of its culture although this drink is traditionally associated with China. Tea also traveled from China to Russia, and Russian tea is distinguished by its smoky flavor due to the caravan-smoke fires lit by merchants who transported tea to this country in the old days.

10. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Tea exports in 2021: 135 million USD

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or simply the United Kingdom, is a prosperous European country that is said to have popularized tea in the Western world. Tea is considered the UK’s national drink and it is often mixed with milk. Green tea was first introduced in the country in the 1600s, with healing properties advertised during marketing. Unilever PLC (NYSE:UL) was one of the largest tea companies in the world before it sold its tea business.

9. Japan

Tea exports in 2021: 189 million USD

Tea appears in the 8th century in Japan and was originally the drink of the religious class. There are several different types of tea consumed in Japan. The most popular Japanese tea is Matcha, which is produced in the dark for its distinct color and flavor. Other types are Sencha, Sobacha, and Genmaicha. Some of Japan’s largest tea companies are Ito En, Ltd. (TYO:2593.T), Harada Tea Processing Co., Ltd., and Fukujuen Co.,LTD.

8. Vietnam

Tea exports in 2021: 204 million USD

Vietnam has many different types of tea, including green tea, jasmine tea, bud tea, artichoke tea, and lotus tea. Among these, lotus tea is a specialty of Vietnam and is produced by placing green tea leaves inside lotus flowers for a characteristic aroma. Some of the largest tea companies in Vietnam are Lam Dong Tea Joint Stock Company and Vietnam Tea Corporation (Vinatea). The diversity of these different types of tea also makes Vietnam one of the largest tea exporters today.

7. Germany

Tea exports in 2021: 242 million USD

Tea is one of the most popular drinks in Germany, in addition to coffee. Tea is also a popular Christmas gift in this country. Some popular types of tea here are black tea (Schwarztee), fruit tea (Fruchttee), and Roman chamomile tea (Kamillentee).

6. Poland

Tea exports in 2021: 262 million USD

Poles drink at least half a kg of tea per capita annually and there are some different drinks in the country. Tea was originally popularized in Poland for its health benefits. In contrast to the British who serve tea with milk, the most popular tea in this country is Herbata, which is usually served with lemon and sugar. Several global tea brands such as Twinings and Teekane have factories in Poland, and the country is also one of the world’s largest tea exporters.

5. United Arab Emirates

Tea exports in 2021: 338 million USD

In contrast to European countries with localized tea types, tea in the United Arab Emirates is simply black tea or green tea. In Dubai, a type of tea called chai karak is one of the more common types, with ‘karak’ referring to a stronger tea with less milk and higher potency.

4. India

Tea export in 2021: 687 million USD

India is one of the largest economies in the world and also one of the largest tea consumers. This helps the country have a developed tea industry which exported 197,239 tons of beverages in 2021, equivalent to 687 million USD. The vibrant industry also provides its own exclusive teas. Some of India’s most popular tea brands are named after the regions in which they are grown, such as Assam and Darjeeling. In fact, tea growers in Assam have their own time zone, called Tea Garden Time, which is an hour earlier than Indian Standard Time.

3. Kenya

Tea exports in 2021: 1.1 billion USD

Kenya is an African country with a GDP per capita of 6,122 USD. Tea is one of the country’s most important sources of foreign exchange as it accounts for up to 1/5 of Kenya’s exports. By the end of 2021, Kenya exported 556,552 tons of tea, equivalent to 1.1 billion USD. The most widely produced tea in Kenya is Pekoe Fanning 1, and other variants Broken Pekoe 1 and Pekoe Dust.

2. Sri Lanka

Tea exports in 2021: 1.3 billion USD

Sri Lanka is an Asian country known for its vibrant tea industry. Tea is an important part of Sri Lanka’s exports, which have recently become more important due to the foreign exchange crisis in the country. The climate here is suitable for tea production. Sri Lanka’s largest tea brand is Ceylon Tea. This brand is owned by the Sri Lankan tea council and is also considered a national heritage.

1. China

Tea exports in 2021: 2.2 billion USD

Many types of tea are consumed in China, including black tea, green tea, Puerh tea, oolong tea, white tea, yellow tea, and jasmine tea. China exported 2.2 billion USD of tea in 2021. Some of the top brands are Tieguanyin, The Long Jing, and Baihao Yinzhen./.