Americans are drinking more tea

Story at a glance

  • The United States imported a whopping $508 million worth of tea in 2023.

  • That number is over $350 million more than what Americans were importing 30 years ago.

  • Millennials are the most likely to drink tea, with black and green tea being the favorites.

More Americans are becoming tea drinkers.

The U.S. imported $508 million worth of tea last year, roughly $350 million more than 30 years ago, according to recently released data from the Census Bureau.

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world except water, with about 159 Americans alone drinking the lightly caffeinated beverage every day, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A.

Tea drinkers are more heavily concentrated in the Northeast and in the Southern United States, where it is commonly served iced.

About 84 percent of all tea consumed in the U.S. is black tea and 15 is green tree, the organization found.

Between 75 and 80 percent of tea consumed in the United States is iced, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A.

Not all Americans are drinking tea at the same rate though. Millennials are the most likely to be tea drinkers, according to the association.

Tea consumption is growing in the United States in the food service and retail sectors in part because of its health benefits, according to food service supplier Westrock Coffee Company.

“Higher-end hot tea offerings that mix traditional black teas, green teas, flavors and herbal ingredients are growing both in retail and in food service outlets,” said Kyle Newkirk, EVP of Global Sales at Westrock.

“Consumers are looking for better-for-you alternatives with health benefits.”

Studies show that drinking tea has a positive impact on health and can improve the immune system, boost metabolism, and ward off heart disease.

The price of tea has gone up with the average cost of a kilo bumping up to $3.05 in 2022 from $2.69 a kilo in 2021, according to World Bank data.

Tea prices fell again between 2023 to $2.74 per kilo, the data show.

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