21 May — An international day to celebrate tea

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 21 May as International Tea Day (#InternationalTeaDay). Celebrated for the first time this year, International Tea Day offers the opportunity to recognise the importance of the tea industry, from seed to cup, to raise public awareness of the importance of the tea industry and its workers, and to improve the tea value chain.

“The aim [of International Tea Day] is to highlight that tea production contributes to the fight against hunger, reduction of extreme poverty, empowerment of women, and is a sustainable use of ecosystems,” said Dr Sharon Hall, chief executive of the UK Tea and Infusions Association, in a statement.

Although Covid-19 has curtailed out-of-home events and activities, the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, the Tea Council of the USA and the UK Tea and Infusions Association, all have a variety of online and virtual educational and promotional activities planned leading up to, on International Tea Day (ITD), as well as after 21 May.

The Tea and Herbal Association of Canada (THAC) is gathering tea friends, personalities, and experts from around the world for a ‘SofaSummit’ on ITD. “I’ll be travelling to 12 countries across 13 times zones in 10 hours. It will be an epic journey,” said Shabnam Weber, president of the THAC.

In addition to the SofaSummit, the THAC has created a video celebrating tea drinks around the world and to thank tea workers. For more information on the SofaSummit schedule and ITD activities, or to watch the video, visit the THAC website.

The Tea Council of the USA, which, during the Covid-19 crisis, has been actively sharing updates and developments in origin countries as well as from the Center for Disease Control (US) and the World Health Organization, and hosting weekly virtual tea parties via the Specialty Tea Institute, will be sharing content in the days leading up to and after ITD on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook through its Tea Council of the USA. (Several international tea boards and brands have provided some assets.)

The Tea Council will be highlighting various tea-growing regions and discussing the tea supply chain from plant to cup. Posts will celebrate tea not only as a commodity but also as a heritage and basis for smaller livelihoods, touting the hundreds of thousands of workers who are involved with the growing, production and manufacturing of tea consumed worldwide. Content will also touch on the many health and environmental benefits associated with tea.

The Tea Council’s promotion launches with user-generated content from their annual #IndividualiTEA sweepstakes to showcase how tea is universal and unites us. They will encourage their followers and other social media users to share from where their favourite tea is sourced. Once they have enough content, the Tea Council will share images and videos from tea regions around the world.

In celebration of ITD, the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA) has issued press releases from UKTIA and its Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) to introduce ITD to the British media.

The UKTIA has jointly produced a ITD-related video with the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada on YouTube. Click here to watch.

Throughout May, the UKTIA has been giving thanks to British tea consumers with a ‘cheers to the tea drinkers’ campaign on social media. In return, they have asked the British public to thank all the hands that bring tea to consumers’ cups. The deadline for submission was 10 May, and they are now creating a tribute to the people that bring us tea — from seed to cup.

The UKTIA also highlighted ITD in an article of its second issue of its magazine, Brew.

While many of us may not be able to venture out on 21 May to celebrate, there are ample ways to participate and enjoy this first International Tea Day from the comfort – and safety – of our homes. So, brew a pot (or even a cup) of your favourite tea (I have a lovely shan tea I’m looking forward to trying), and take a virtual journey around the world for fun, for education and to help honour and show appreciation for all tea workers — from seed to cup! #InternationalTeaDay

  • Vanessa L. Facenda, editor Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. She may be contacted via [email protected].

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