British blends are causing quite a “stir” in China. A growing number of Chinese tea-lovers are developing a taste for imported teas, especially from Britain, looking past their own tea traditions.
Traditionally, it has been Asian countries that had been supplying European nations such as Britain dried leaves worth millions of pounds each year. But now, China and Hong Kong are seeing a surge in imports, especially from Britain. Interestingly, some of the British blends that are imported have leaves plucked from Chinese estates. But still, the Chinese who savor such imported blends find them special.
Top tea blends from storied British companies like Twinings, Taylors of Harrogate and Hudson & Middleton are now occupying shelves in Chinese supermarkets. Tea houses serving British afternoon tea have sprouted up in the bigger cities in China. Five years ago, Annvita English Tea Company managed ten tea houses around China, serving imported blends and pastries in British-style tea rooms. The number has since grown ten-fold, with more planned, AP reported.
According to CBS News, upscale British brands are seeing huge sales growth in China because English tea has an “aspirational attraction and a classical image” which is popular among a growing number of Chinese people. Apparently, the popularity of British TV shows such as Downton Abbey is also helping to drive demand in Asia.