With some of the world's traditional tea markets under the spell of Ceylon Tea, time has come for Ceylon Tea manufacturers to explore new markets and capture new hearts.
The Commonwealth of Independent States including Russia and East Asian countries like Iran and Syria has dominated Sri Lanka's tea export market for years. Yet, with political turmoil and falling currency rates in Russia and Iran, time has come for the country to explore new tea drinking destinations and markets.
Sri Lanka controls nearly 23% of the global tea export market and is currently the top exporter of tea to the world. With the country's tea production fluctuating around 300,000 to 350,000 metric tons for the last eight years, Sri Lanka is facing two new challenges in improving the country's productivity in tea cultivation as well as increasing the exportation of value added tea products.
Despite the rising use of tea bags, Sri Lanka is yet to gain a considerable share of the global tea bag market and is still a new comer to the world ready to drink (RTD) tea market.
In an attempt to broaden the horizons of Ceylon Tea market, Sri Lankan Tea manufacturers are to make their presence felt in Chinese, American and European markets, which are the rising tea markets in the world with a taste for RTD flavoured and spicy tea, value added tea brands and tea bags.
Almost 80% of tea consumers in USA drink flavoured RTD iced tea, while June is being celebrated as the country's iced tea month. America's love-affair with iced tea has been perfectly worded by American journalist and writer, John Egerton, who declared that "Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths."
With Sri Lankan tea manufacturers blending the country's best tea brands with the exotic fruity and spicy flavours, American tea market is awaiting to be courted by the flavours and aroma of flavoured Ceylon Tea.
A third wave in tea in the form of gourmet tea outlets, trading luxury tea brands and varieties, have been popping up in the chic neighbourhoods of USA and leading coffee chain, Starbucks has included iced tea, black tea, green tea and herbal tea varieties into their menu to cater to a growing generation of tea drinkers.
Among traditional tea drinkers, England and Ireland house the world's largest and second largest number of tea bag consumers. Despite the imminent danger the bleached tea bags hold to the environment, UK consumers continue to revel in their national pass time of tea drinking amidst rising cautions from environmentalists.
With Sri Lanka's fame for producing the world's most environmental friendly tea, Ceylon Tea bag manufactures can rise up to the occasion by providing the world's largest tea drinking nation with the world's best tea, packed in unbleached and easily recyclable tea bags, as an environmentally viable option to common tea bags.
A growing economy and a booming middle class makes China a potentially lucrative market for Ceylon Tea exporters. Although China is the world's largest tea producer, the superior quality of Ceylon Tea allows it to be marketed as a luxury product to the Chinese consumers, who are increasingly becoming the top buyers of world's luxury items and brands.
Meanwhile Sri Lankan Tea exporters have been calling for a Riyal-Rupee arrangement with Iran and a Free Trade Agreement of Tea with China and Turkey to facilitate Ceylon Tea's arrival into these two expanding markets.
As the world bids goodbye to a series of conventional consumer goods and patterns and welcomes another lot that suits today's fast-paced life style; Ceylon tea faces the challenge of adding a new phase to its 150 year old march towards conquering global tea markets.