Known for already being the top tea consuming nation, Turkey has further cemented its rank as locals consumed even more of their favorite drink as the coronavirus pandemic forced them to spend more time at home.
“We drink more tea as we stay more at home during the pandemic,” says Yusuf Ziya Alim, general manager of the General Directorate of Tea Enterprises’ (ÇAYKUR).
The consumption of the nation’s primary and most-consumed beverage has increased by almost 50% in the first three months of the pandemic, marked by countrywide lockdowns to stem the spread of the disease, Alim told Demirören News Agency (AA) on Wednesday.
The average sales of about 20,000 tons increased to 40,000 tons during the period, he noted.
High performance was also observed in October and November, Alim says. “Our goal this year was to sell 120,000 tons of tea, but we have already exceeded this figure,” he noted.
Tea, which is the most important part of Turkish daily life, has been considered a part of Turkish culture for centuries. It is generally seen as an occasion to sit and talk.
“I also drink 30 cups of tea a day, but we have people who drink 50 to 60 cups of tea a day,” Alim says.
According to the International Tea Committee report in 2019, a Turkish person consumes an average of 1,300 cups of tea every year.
Tea culture is a long-established tradition in Turkish homes, ÇAYKUR’s Alim says.
“Whether crowded or alone, it cannot go without tea. Tea develops the friendship, conversation,” he noted.
He added that they also offer alternatives for those who do not want to drink the traditional black tea all the time. “We offer different alternatives such as green, white and organic tea.”
Founded in 1983, ÇAYKUR is a state-owned enterprise, employing more than 10,600 people in its 45 factories. It is also responsible for the majority of promotional and branding activities for Turkish tea.
According to data by the Eastern Black Sea Exporters’ Association (DKIB), Turkey’s tea exports increased a whopping 43% in the first seven months of 2020 and reached $9.13 million (TL 72.67 million).
The country sold 2,325 tons of tea to 102 different countries in the said period, recording an almost 500-ton increase compared with the same period last year.