Tea

With an estimated 70,000 cups drunk every second, tea is the most popular drink in the world after water. What started as a medicinal crop in China 5,000 years ago is now consumed all around the world, with global exports reaching $5.7 billion in 2013.

Most of the world’s tea is produced on large tea plantations, although some small-scale farms do exist. Fairtrade works with workers on plantations as well as with smallholder farmers to bring Fairtrade tea to consumers around the world.

What Fairtrade Means for Tea Producers

Fairtrade certified tea helps producers and workers on plantations survive on the world market by providing more stable prices and helps them gain access to new markets. Fairtrade standards for plantations ensure minimum wages for workers and decent living and working conditions.

Producers and workers groups also receive a Fairtrade Premium in addition to the selling price to invest in social, environmental and economic projects in their communities. Read more

General Tea Facts

  • The plant Camellia sinensis is the source of various types of tea, but for each of them its leaves are processed in different ways. For example, leaves for black tea are wilted, crushed and fully oxidized; leaves for green tea are steamed and not oxidized; leaved for white tea are wilted and not oxidized. 
  • China and India are the giants of global tea production, while Kenya and Sri Lanka are the world's largest tea exporting countries.
  • Almost all tea bags are a blend of teas from different estates and even different countries. This is done to create a well-balanced flavour using different origins and characteristics.
  • Full leaf or teabag? Water at 100º, 80º or 70º degrees? Brewing time 2, 3 or 5 minutes? There seems to be as much variety in tea preparation guidelines as there is in flavours. However you enjoy your tea, check out ISO3103-1980 which is the global industry norm that determines how a cup of tea should be properly prepared before sensory tasting.

Where to Buy

Fairtrade teas are available in many markets. If you can’t find them, talk to your local grocer or get in touch with your local Fairtrade organization by checking out Fairtrade Near You or select one of the countries in blue on the map below.


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