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The origins of tea stretch back more than 5 000 years, but its contributions to health, culture, and socioeconomic development are still as relevant today. Tea is currently grown in more than 35 countries and supports over 13 million people, including smallholder farmers and their households, who depend on the tea sector for their livelihoods.

Tea production and processing constitutes a main source of livelihood for millions of families in developing countries and is the main means of subsistence for millions of poor families, who live in a number of least developed countries.

The tea industry is the main source of income and export revenues for some of the poorest countries and, as a labor-intensive sector, provides jobs, especially in remote and economically disadvantaged areas. Tea can play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction, and food security in developing countries, being one of the most important cash crops.

Tea consumption can bring health benefits and wellness due to the beverage's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and weight loss effects. It also has cultural significance in many societies.

International Tea Day

International Tea Day is observed annually on May 21, according to the United Nations.The concerning resolution was adopted on December 21, 2019, and is celebrated by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to lead the observance of the Day.

The International Tea Day aims to raise awareness of the long history and the deep cultural and economic significance of tea around the world. The goal of the day is to promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favor of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.

History of International Tea Day

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The International Tea Day campaign was launched in 2005 by the trade unions, small tea growers, and civil society organizations in Asia and Africa to address the issues of living wages for workers and fair prices for small tea producers.

The International Tea Conference in New Delhi came out with an International Declaration on the rights of workers and small growers to help regulate uneven competition, land ownership, safety regulations, rights of women, social security, and living wages. Another organization, The Tea Board of India, proposed International Tea Day in hopes of it becoming an official holiday to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

This was proposed by chairman Santosh Kumar Sarangi in 2015. According to the chairman, the proposal of India was supported by countries such as Canada, the United States, European Union, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Kenya, and Malawi. While the holiday doesn’t have official status, the goal of this holiday is to recognize the vulnerable situations that tea producers in India have with current living conditions and worker-related policies.

The day also focuses on deliberating on urgent issues such as residues, climate change, technology, and trends on production and consumption in the tea industry. To observe this day, over 150 representatives from tea organizations gather and conduct a seminar to discuss the pervading problems the tea industry has as well as problems faced within their own country.

How to Celebrate International Tea Day

If you’re a lover of tea, then do some research about some of your favorite companies. Try looking up tea brands that support fair trade, and possibly switch to those brands to make a difference in the way you buy products such as tea. Use the hashtag #internationalteaday to help recognize it as an official holiday and educate others about the tea industry if you’re interested.

You could also use International Tea Day to try a variety of tea you have never had before. Matcha, for example, is highly popular as of late.

How to make the perfect cup of tea

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You can make a perfect cuppa for an International Tea Day next year

  1. Draw a kettle using freshly drawn cold water which enhances the brightness in the cup
  2. Be careful to not over boil the water (note: black tea brews best at boiling point)
  3. Pop a tea bag or tea leaves in your mug and pour the hot water on top (if using tea leaves add two grams of tea leaves for 100ml of water in a strainer or infuser)
  4. Stir briefly and then leave the bag in the mug
  5. Allow the tea bag to brew for two and a half to three minutes to make sure the flavour fully develops (for black tea allow five minutes)
  6. Gently squeeze the bag once against the edge of the mug and then remove (if using tea leaves remove the strainer)
  7. Enjoy with milk, sugar, lemon, or served black depending on your preference

Which tea is best for health?

Chamomile and Green teas are tied for first place when it comes to health. Both are considered the healthiest tea options however they serve different purposes. Chamomile tea cuts blood-sugar levels, and the chemicals in the tea block activity of an enzyme associated with the development of diabetic eye and nerve damage. Green tea is said to extract lost body fat and reduces cholesterol while working efficiently to raise our metabolism.

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