There has always been a certain allure to drinking tea. If it has a gender, it could be said it is a female – dainty, sweet, mild-tempered, and on certain occasions, carries a British accent.

But did you know that the tea industry supports the livelihood of millions of families around the world? Tea, a beverage made from the Camellia sinesis plant, is considered an important global industry, and is in fact the second most consumed drink next to water.

Previously, the International Tea Day was observed on 15 December, but was moved to 21 May by the UN General Assembly to mark the beginning of production. In observance of this day, the United Nations re-emphasises the call to promote and foster collective actions in favour of a more sustainable tea industry.

International Tea Day

According to, global consumption of tea in 2018 amounted to about 273 bn litres, and is forecasted to reach to 297 bn litres by 2021. In 2016, Turkey was the largest tea-consuming country in the world, with a per capita tea consumption of approximately 6.96 pounds per year. That’s a lot of tea!

How Would You Like Your Tea?

Tea’s popularity in Qatar is synonymous with the common karak, a concoction of black tea mixed with milk, sugar and spices. Tea houses offering this drink are popular meeting places in Qatar and were almost always filled with people, pre-coronavirus. But there are more ways that tea is enjoyed in the Middle East.

QFI Tea Infographic

Matcha, which in recent times has risen in popularity, is tea made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves from Japan. Most coffee/tea shops in Doha serve their own take of the Matcha drink, served iced or hot. Matcha itself is a sought-after flavour for cakes and pastries.

Another popular tea drink is the Bubble tea, a ‘fun’ sugary tea drink made more interesting with balls of pearls (tapioca). Bubble tea originated from Taiwan and is such a hit, you can order it from almost anywhere in Doha!

Tea Bags

Keeping it Sustainable! 

International Tea Day is more about the tea workers and the improvement of the tea value chain, and how to achieve these goals for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – reduction of extreme poverty, the fight against hunger, women empowerment and sustainable use of ‘terrestrial’ ecosystems. Let’s keep all these in mind while having our cup of tea today.

Josephine Nyirakarenga works on a tea plantation in one of the hard-to-reach areas of Rwanda’s Western Province, 2,400 metres above sea level (image from 

Author: Lalaine Turqueza

Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.