Tea to Remain

Statistics can be fascinating. Our lives are governed by numbers however much we would like to escape the fact. Yes, passion and ethics have their part to play too. It’s a complex mix where we often make big decisions that might not be all that rational. Preferences are personal. That said, good choices maybe be shared with many other people as well as the reasons for those choices.
The Economist has just published figures on who likes tea and who likes coffee. This sounds trivial but the global businesses in this sector are huge.
I’m on a personal journey over drinking preferences at this moment. Having just returned from a decade in Germany to the UK, I’m going from a predominantly coffee culture to a tea culture. Not that the national drinking culture in each Country is static or simple or easily explained.
Across the wider Europe the tea drinkers tend to be; UK, Ireland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland Turkey, Ukraine and Russia. Others Countries prefer to drink more coffee than they do tea. According to Euromonitor International, the research company that did this work, the UK drinks 3 times as much tea as coffee. Americans, on the other hand, are the other way around with 3 times more coffee than tea.
My instinct and experiences tell me that these numbers are on the move. The continuing invasion of coffee shops is changing the habits of people in the UK. The love of quality and speciality teas in Germany is having an impact there too. A real tea-coffee convergence is underway in Europe. Slowly but surely our historic drinking preferences are shifting and coming together.
Does this have any relevance to the up and coming UK referendum of EU membership? I’d say it does on a couple of levels. One is that our preferences are free to change and the single market makes that change easier. It gives UK consumers easy access to more choices of drinks and more variety at a reasonable price. On another level, UK tea exports by well know companies are popular on mainland Europe. UK brands have the opportunity to sell more because of the single market.
I’m not sure tea or coffee can be used to strengthen cross-border security or tackle climate change but I’ll bet in every one of the European meetings where those subjects are discussed one or other will be on the table.

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