I had a few discussions and mail exchanges with @Lahikmajoe about the German tea culture and its importance mostly in Northern Germany.
According to him, one of the reasons behind it is that this area is the hinterland of the port of Hamburg.
This was coherent with other things I had read about the importance of Hamburg for the importations of coffee in the whole Europe.
So I decided to try to find a little more information on this and asked the Port of Hamburg Authority about this.
I must say that their staff was really friendly and sent me quickly some data.
According to the German Tea Association, 76.778 tons of tea were handled in Germany.
This figure includes the 50.838 tonnes imported of which about half (25.940 tonnes) were re-exported (probably after some blending and/or repackaging).
About 75% of these tonnages went through the Port of Hamburg, making of it according to the Port of Hamburg Authority the most important European hub for tea trade.
However what I found most fascinating is the data provided to them by the German Tea Association regarding imports and re exports.
When you look at them, you can see two interesting changes over time:
the sudden increase from 1988 on of the imported tonnages,
the rise of re-exportation (a little over 50% of the imported tonnes in 2010).
This prompted me to look at the few figures I have one more time and to drop the re-exportations to see what is really consumed in Germany.
Now, we have a completely different picture.
The 1988 increase is still there but after that, it seems that the importations are more or less flat (in terms of tonnage, value being another interesting indicator to look at).
Is Germany a country famous for its teas? Perhaps or the reason could be different as I read in my Tea Lover’s Guide that Hamburg is home to a certain number of large tea brokers that supply almost all the European “importers” of a certain standing but the problem is that the figures don’t really support that.
For now, the set of data I have is not huge enough to allow me to go further into that direction but my next task is to gather more data and to see with the German Tea Association if they have any ideas on the reasons behind these figures .
So far, I didn’t receive any answer from them but I won’t let them run away with it.
After all, I have all the time in the world as long as I have my tea cup near me.