(Go West) We will do just fine

I don’t know if you see a pattern between the title of this post quoting the Pet Shop Boys, my previous post where I did a little (and probably not that good) Haiku with a reference to map and tea and what you will find in this post but I hope that by the end of your reading you will.

As the idiom goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is what had bothered me when I looked at the FAO data, splitting the world of tea into two categories: the Old World and the New one. If you don’t remember this post, its conclusions were that unlike in the wine industry, there was not a big reversal of production in the tea producing countries (but perhaps interesting developments going on in terms of diversity of producers).

But let’s get back to a picture is worth a thousand words. I am lucky to have at work two people working on our Geographical Information System, which for those who don’t know about it is according to Wikipedia “any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations.”

Those two people were friendly enough to help me to refine my needs and helped me find a way to present to you a visual representation of these data.

So you will find below a representation by decade from the 1960s to the 2010s (with the data ending in the year 2014) of the tea producing countries in the world and for each an average of the yearly production of each country during these 10 years. Even if it doesn’t always mean much, I thought it was as good as anything else to represent how much each country weights in the tea world. For more details, just click on the link below each map.

Tea producing countries from 1961 to 1969

Tea producing countries in the 1970s

Tea producing countries in the 1980s

Tea producing countries in the 1990s

Tea producing countries in the 2000s

Tea producing countries between 2010 and 2014


What can we learn?

First, that there are over these 50 years only a few new producing countries. I am still undecided whether or not this is true or linked to a problem in the way the FAO collects its data. If you see any country missing on the maps, do tell me and I will look further on.

Second, we can now visually see the rise and decline of some countries in terms of their yearly average production through each decade, something which might be of interest for later investigations.

Third and most important for me, we can now see the 3 main producing blocks in terms of number of countries located on three different continents (the South of Asia, the centre of Africa and South America from North to South) with some more exotic spots around them. It might be obvious to some of you but although I had all the data available, I had no idea that so many countries produced tea until I saw it

And what are your thoughts on these maps? Did they bring anything to you?


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