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What’s The Tea?

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Published 09/24/2020

What happened?

What else is there to do during a pandemic besides sip some tea? Well, the price of the world’s favorite drink is going up.

Here’s the tea: At-home working arrangements have caused more people to drink tea, but the tea industry is drying up under pressure.

  • The cause? Supply lines of tea leaves are shrinking, thanks to bad weather in producer countries, port closures, labor shortages, and other issues.
  • Severe drought in Sri Lanka (the world’s 3rd largest tea exporter) caused tea production to fall by 15% during the first 7 months of 2020.
  • The second-largest tea exporter, India, saw tea production fall 22% in the first 7 months, due to its heavy amount of Coronavirus cases (5.65 million cases).

This is major tea. Around 3.7 billion cups of tea are consumed daily, so this is a pretty big deal.

  • Over half of the American population consumes a cup of tea a day (usually black iced tea).

Market gossip. The price of wholesale tea leaves has shot up by 50% since March to $1.44 a pound.

  • The cost of liquid tea concentrate has increased by 9.6% from a year ago.
  • The price of tea bags has risen 1.7% for the year.

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