Average? Average? Do I look like an average?

We recently had on one of the blogs hosted here at Teatra.de the beginning of a discussion regarding what is the tea community like in the USA or in the Old World (I really like using some “strange” place names from time to time).

My mind immediately jumped on the strange idea of defining an average tea drinker in the USA and in my own country and those I travel to on a regular basis.

I then gave this idea a little more thought and with my good old mathematical background, I found this was a silly idea for several reasons.

Don’t leave yet, you shouldn’t be worried, I won’t begin to focus on concepts such as mean, average, central tendency… I will leave that your former, actual or future maths teachers.

I just decided to go along with my thoughts and give you some ideas of why I came to that conclusion.

Let’s begin with some data provided by the UK Tea Council.

According to them, 165,000,000 cups of tea are drunk in the UK everyday and with 63,181,775 inhabitants, each of them should drink 2.61 cups a day.

This doesn’t seem much for a so-called tea loving country, does it?

Since 96% of all cups of tea drunk daily in the UK are brewed from tea bags, this implies that either 0.11 cup per day and per capita is made of loose leaf tea or that around 2,528,735. 63 people in the whole UK make their 2.61 cups a day with loose leaf.

I then decided to focus on my own market (so to speak) and I looked at different information sources on the French tea drinkers.

The first I found was in a market intel file on green and black teas in France made by the CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, a Dutch Agency).

As with wines, French consumers are looking especially for “Grand Crus”.”

The extending tea market also involves a growing emphasis on factors such as traceability, employee working conditions on plantations and sustainability, as well as production in specific regions. French consumers want to know where their tea comes from and how it was grown and blended. Customers love to feel a connection to the source; it adds to their sense of enjoyment and pleasure and increases their understanding of their cup of tea.”

The second intel source was some information provided by the Ministry of Agriculture which basically said: tea is made in majority with bagged teas (with almost twice as much black tea being drunk as green one) and the main drinkers are in the Ile-de-France (Paris and the surroundings) or in the Western part of the country.

When you try to define a profile of an average French tea drinker, with these two different sources you get obviously nothing as they seem to be speaking of two different countries or groups of people.

Why is that? Because there is not such thing as an average tea drinker.

We all like it in a different way that might be completely opposite to our neighbour, and be far from this average picture of tea drinkers.

Does this make us an unworthy tea drinker? I don’t think so. Tea is about all of us being different and there are so many things to discover, experiment…

So next time someone tries to tell you what an average/normal/typical tea drinker is/should be, just tell him/her “Average? Average? Do I look like an average?” and then drink your favoured tea the way you want.


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