In the years to come the price of tea may soar high in the sky, as world producers work to promote the brew. The world price of tea reached its highest level for almost 200 pence per kilo at
For the tea pickers of
For tea drinkers, it means paying more. But tea will still be cheap, normally costing less in shops and cafes than its big brother, coffee.
World tea production reached a record level of 2,691,000 tons in 1996, some three percent higher than in 1995. in
The fall in output is one of the immediate reasons for tea’s higher price. A spokesman for the London-based Tea Brokers Association said that tea output in
With most export crops, the price is decided hour by hour in accordance with supply and demand. Tea, by contrast, is auctioned daily or weekly in nine centers around the world. There is no futures market in tea, and thus no opportunity for speculation.
But the price is still determined by supply and demand. While some of the chief producing countries have less tea for export, the worldwide demand for tea is growing, especially in the
Tea-exporting countries are hoping that the current price rise is just the beginning. With the support of
Tea drinkers have long claimed that the drink is more refreshing than its rival. Once Mr. Lewis, director of the London-based Tea Council, a body which promotes the drink, now points to a massive evidence, that tea drinking can help to prevent certain diseases.
Researches have found that tea drinking might protect people against cardiovascular disease and liver disorders, and reduce the risk of stomach cancer. More research is in progress. Mr. Lewis also claims that tea is environmentally sound. Tea bushes grow mostly on terraces at the high altitudes, he points out, and help to prevent soil erosion. And the smallholders who grow the tea tend not to use fertilizers and pesticides.
If its disease-prevention properties are confirmed, then tea could be on the brink of a boom.