China, Green Tea Health Benefits
China, Green Tea Health Benefits
Chinese Green Tea, East meets West
As the “Cradle of Tea”, China was the World’s sole provider for centuries. However, the British, who formed the habit of drinking Black Tea in the 17th century, introduced Tea trees to India and Sri Lanka in the late 19th century and then to Kenya in the early part of last century.
Partly because of their long connection with Europe, those 3 countries still dominate the Global market for Black Tea, which accounts for 60% of all Tea in the Global trade. Unlike the Chinese, Europeans and people in the US prefer Black Tea to Green, and prefer tea bags to loose-leaf teas.
And while Chinese companies are attempting to meet the needs of the Western customers for Green Tea, customers seem to be changing their habits.
Data from the London-based International Tea Committee, which compiles and publishes statistics on the industry, show that between Y’s 2001 and 2010, the Global market share of Black Tea fell by 10% to 60% while Green and Oolong Teas combined saw an increase of 8% to 31%.
“A lot of people drink tea because it’s healthy, and Green Tea can provide lots of benefits. Increasingly, people are beginning to realize that now,” said Wu Xiduan, secretary-general of the China Tea Marketing Association.
He explained that studies in the US and China suggest that Green Tea can help to lower the risk of contracting certain types of cancer, and also illnesses such as strokes that can cause cognitive impairment, and osteoporosis in the elderly.
And it is not just the health benefits that are prompting consumers to change their habits, it’s also the taste.
Loose-leaf teas are now beginning to take root in places where tea bags were previously the most popular form of the beverage.
“We believe there is no comparison between premium loose-leaf teas and tea made from bags,” said Diane Walden, co-founder of California Tea & Coffee Brewery in Los Angeles, which opened in Y 2008.
“Studies have shown that the maximum antioxidant benefits are derived from freshly brewed loose leaf Tea and that Tea from bags loses much of its antioxidant value once it’s steeped,” she said in an interview.
“The Tea in bags is usually the ‘dust’ or ‘fannings’, the lowest grade of Tea. Our customers are amazed at the difference in the taste of loose-leaf Tea when compared with tea bags,” she said.
But, despite the rise of tea shops and related centers across the US and Europe during the past decade, no company from the Chinese Mainland has yet opened an overseas outlet.
“We should be open-minded and take it, the rise of tea shops overseas, as positive news,” said Sun Danwei, general manager of Beijing Wuyutai Tea, a 125 anni brand that owns 270 shops in China.
“They are promoting knowledge of Tea all over the World and preparing customers for quality Tea,” said Sun, whose company is planning to open a store in Hong Kong as a first step to entering the market outside the Mainland.
Recognizing the growing demand, the US-based coffee giant Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has launched a variety of Tea-related products in recent years.
In response, Chinese companies such as Wuyutai are also attempting to broaden their appeal to younger consumers by producing Tea-flavored ice cream and also developing applications for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)electronic products providing subscribers with the latest news from the industry, and instructions on how to brew the perfect cup. It has also opened a restaurant in Beijing that serves a range of dishes in which Tea is used as a flavoring or major ingredient.
“It is not only about selling Tea. It’s about everything to do with Tea: The drink itself, the history, even the pots used in its preparation. The Japanese are doing a better job than us,” Sun said, referring to the vast numbers of Tea shops and centers on the streets of China’s neighbor to the East.
She admitted that it can be something of an effort to explain the cultural significance of Tea to foreigners, but once they become interested, she said, many find it fascinating.
“The government should take full advantage of existing networks such as the Confucius Institutes, government-backed organizations that promote the Chinese language and culture overseas, to push China’s tea culture across the World. The task is too difficult for individual companies to undertake at the present time.”
Chinese Tea is set to regain its popularity overseas, because more people are becoming interested in the Country and Tea is an integral part of our culture.
I have taken to drinking a cup of Chinese Green Tea daily…
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.
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