Tea Prices Likely to Rise as Techies Switch From Coffee to Tea

Posted on April 4, 2009

Wired has an article that says tea is the new coffee and reports that today's web 2.0 crowd is on a tea drinking binge. The article also says that today's influential young Web 2.0 millionaires are drinking expensive imported teas. The article says Digg founder Kevin Rose imports $1,000 a month worth of specialty tea for Digg employees.
The drink of choice for Web 2.0 zillionaires isn't a quad espresso anymore. It's a soothingly steeped tea harvested from a shaded mountainside half a world away.

Captains of the internet like Digg's Kevin Rose and business guru Tim Ferriss (pictured above) are gravitating to the ancient drink, and enterprising retailers are stepping up to fill their every need.

"We've had the Red Bulls, coffee and everything else," Rose says of Digg, which spends about $1,000 a month just on specialty tea for employees. Rose himself favors a cup of Pu-erh imported from China's Yunnan province after a tough day at the office.

"It's one of those things where you want to turn to something really natural and from the Earth � and from something that isn't going to give you a big crash," Rose told Wired.com. "Once you start consuming tea it makes sense: This is the best of all worlds."
Kevin Rose also started a Twitter account called @goodtea to track the "best tea links from around the web."

It is true that there is nothing quite a like a good cup of tea. Unfortunately, it's no coincidence that as more people embrace tea, the demand for tea is going up, and so are the prices. The BBC reports that demand for tea is surging while production is falling.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that demand exceeded supply in 2008, driving up the cost of tea.

Tea consumption reached 3.85m tonnes last year, up 4.8% from 2007. But production was only 3.78m tonnes, according to the FAO's preliminary estimates.

Kenya, which is Africa's largest grower of tea, will probably produce 328 million kg of the crop this year, the Tea Board of Kenya said this month. That is well below the 345 million kg produced last year.

"If the shortfall turns out to be as deep as expected, then prices will go through the roof," Mr Chang said.
It does sound like a tea prices will be going up soon.