Global Warming Changes Future for Tea Leaves

Since its first brewing, tea has become the second most popular beverage in the world. The industry has grown into a $20 billion behemoth that sells everything from pedestrian PG Tips to luxurious Yunnan golden tips. Yet that industry and the farmers that rely on it for their livelihoods could be in hot water as the climate changes. Coffee’s struggles with a changing climate are well-documented, but the impacts on tea are just coming into focus. Early research indicates that tea growing regions could decline in some parts of the world by up to 40-55 percent in the coming decades and the qualities, particularly for high end teas, could also change. Ann Marie Brouder, a sustainability advisor at Forum for the Future, says, "Crystal-ball gazing, there certainly is the case that some countries growing tea might not be growing tea in the future or certainly growing less."