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The cup of choice

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STUDY Tea set to take on coffee as drink of choice

When temperatures fall even coffee-addicted Europeans are partial to a cup of tea now and then. Rooibos-vanilla, ginger-lemon or a cup of classic black tea can be the best thing to warm things up on a cold winter day.

Germans, for example, drink 26 litres of black and green tea per person every year. That figure doubles when it comes to fruit and herbal teas. But tea drinking is set for even bigger growth.

Coffee remains Germany’s most popular non-alcoholic beverage but tea is by far the world’s drink of choice after water. So it’s no surprise that multinationals such as Nestle and Starbucks are trying to get in on the act.

“The tea business is on the cusp of fast growth,” predicted Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz last November after announcing a deal to buy tea retailer Teavana for 620 million dollars. The global tea business is worth 40 billion dollars a year. Swiss company Nestle is also pursuing the same tactic. Health consciousness and consumers’ desire for more taste varieties has led to tea’s growth. “You can buy tea as a soluble powder and as an ingredient in food and cosmetics,” says Monika Beutgen from Germany’s Tea Association.

Tea’s promoters are also taking on the coffee business. The “Assam Shot” can be drunk as an alternative to an espresso. “Matcha Latte” is also winning over passionate latte macchiato drinkers.

“Our products are mainly aimed at women,” says Barbara Groll from Nestle Germany. The company’s new Special T machine is based on the same concept as its Nespresso: insert a capsule and a perfectly brewed cup of tea comes out.

DPA

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