May 21 is International Tea Day

International Tea Day is celebrated annually on May 21st.

Set for May 21st each year, this UN-backed observance is not just a tea lover’s paradise but also an impactful event that addresses issues you might not have associated with your cuppa. Established in 2019, the day aims to give tea—the world’s second most popular drink after water—the attention it deserves.

“Bee Engaged in Pollinator-Friendly Agricultural Production”: The 2023 Theme

The theme for 2023, “Bee Engaged in Pollinator-Friendly Agricultural Production,” brews the spotlight on some buzzing little friends—bees! Beyond honey and stings, bees are vital pollinators for various crops, including tea. They help pollinate the tea flowers, an essential process for generating tea leaves. Given that tea is grown in over 60 countries, the role of bees can’t be underestimated. Pollinators contribute to both the quality and yield, making them tiny yet significant stakeholders in the tea industry.

Challenges and the Tea Industry

Tea faces some steep challenges, though, and International Tea Day serves as a wake-up call for these issues. Climate change threatens traditional tea-growing regions with irregular weather patterns and increasing pests. Declining productivity due to soil degradation and aging plants is another concern. Unfair trade practices like price exploitation and poor working conditions for laborers add to the growing list of challenges that need urgent action.

Typical Theme Categories

  1. Sustainability and Environment: With climate change threatening traditional tea-growing regions, themes around environmental sustainability are becoming increasingly important.

  2. Economic Fairness: Given that tea is a significant source of income for millions, equitable trading conditions and fair wages could also be a focus.

  3. Cultural Preservation: Tea is steeped in history and culture. Celebrating these cultural nuances can also be an engaging theme.

  4. Health Benefits: Tea is more than a soothing beverage; it’s rich in antioxidants and offers various health benefits. A theme around this topic can be both informative and enticing for tea drinkers.

  5. Innovation and Future: The tea industry isn’t static. The sector is continuously evolving with the advent of new technologies and practices. Themes could also highlight innovations in tea cultivation or production techniques.

Given the versatility of tea and its impact on so many lives globally, the themes for International Tea Day can be quite varied, reflecting the multi-dimensional role tea plays in our world. Keep an eye out each year to see how the themes evolve and address the industry’s most pressing issues.

How to Celebrate: Beyond Sipping a Cup

To celebrate International Tea Day, you have a range of options as diverse as the teas. Sure, a delightful cup of tea with friends and family is the easiest way to celebrate, but you can do so much more. Consider diving into the rich history and cultural practices surrounding tea. Learn the difference between Darjeeling and oolong or discover how matcha is made. You can also support organizations focused on sustainable tea production or fair trade practices.

In a world where a simple drink like tea intersects with global trade, ecology, and social issues, International Tea Day serves as a moment of reflection and celebration. It’s more than an occasion for tea enthusiasts; it’s a day for anyone concerned about sustainable agriculture, fair trade, and enjoying good tea. So how will you steep yourself in the day’s activities?

25 Trivial Facts About Tea and its Origins:

  1. Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, after water.
  2. Tea is believed to have originated in China, around 2737 BC.
  3. The first written record of tea comes from a Chinese medical text from 2200 BC.
  4. The Chinese word for tea is “cha”.
  5. The Japanese word for tea is “chan”.
  6. The British word for tea comes from the Chinese word “te”.
  7. There are over 3,000 different types of tea in the world.
  8. The most popular types of tea are black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea.
  9. Black tea is made from fully oxidized leaves.
  10. Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves.
  11. White tea is made from young leaves and buds.
  12. Oolong tea is made from partially oxidized leaves.
  13. Pu-erh tea is made from aged black tea.
  14. Tea is a good source of antioxidants.
  15. Tea can help to reduce stress and improve heart health.
  16. Tea can also help to boost the immune system and fight off disease.
  17. The caffeine in tea is less stimulating than the caffeine in coffee.
  18. Tea can be enjoyed hot or cold.
  19. Tea is often served with milk and sugar but can also be enjoyed plain.
  20. Tea is a popular ingredient in many desserts and pastries.
  21. Tea is also used in some traditional Chinese medicine.
  22. The world’s most expensive tea is Da Hong Pao, which can cost up to $1,000 per pound.
  23. The world’s largest tea plantation is in Assam, India.
  24. The world’s largest tea consumer is China.
  25. International Tea Day is celebrated on May 21st.