Canadian Tea Culture: Drinking Twice as Much Tea Per Capita as the US

Though Canada Day is behind us, our celebration is continuing for the rest of the month. And what better way to celebrate than with tea? Though Canada has only around 10% of the population of the US, Canadians drink twice as much tea per capita, on average, compared to Americans [1, 2]. With the French and British roots of the Canadian settler colonies, it isn’t so surprising that tea has held such popularity. The average Canadian drinks 1.2 cups of tea a day [3]. The largest Canadian fast food chain, Tim Hortons, mirrors the Canadian love of tea by carrying ten different tea flavors, matcha and chai, and a few different ways they sell brewed tea, alongside their doughnuts.

What some may not know is that Canada has been the home of some important tea innovations. It was a Canadian, Theodore Harding Estabrook, who began the practice of pre-blending and pre-packaging the tea he sold over 100 years ago. While blending teas has been a practice for centuries, this new practice of blending and packaging tea before selling it allowed for fresher and more uniform cups of tea, and has only gotten more popular over the years [4].

Another regional tale goes like this. Despite its name, one of the most popular tea drinks out there is said to have gotten its name in Vancouver in 1997—the London Fog. This famous vanilla earl grey latte got its start when, as the creator explains, “I had severe morning sickness, so a lot of things didn't taste right,” but wanted something to replace her coffee. So, she asked the barista to make her Earl Grey tea with steamed milk, and added some vanilla sugar after the fact. How exactly the drink spread and got it’s name is anyone’s guess; Mary Loria, the woman credited with the original idea says she later began to see the drink under that name. Still, we can recognize the Canadian origins of this popular drink [5].

Roughly 18 percent of Canadian tea drinkers listed Orange Pekoe as their favorite tea flavor in a 2019 online poll of over 7300 people, which highlights their preference for traditional brisk black teas from Sri Lanka [6]. The president of the Tea Association of Canada, Louise Roberge, expands on this custom saying “Canadians still love their traditional black tea, but we are more adventurous compared to the UK where black tea is most popular and in the US where people prefer tea cold. Globally, tea is the second beverage after water and many people coming to Canada bring their tea traditions with them.” [2] 

A variety of modern immigrant tea cultures as well as the tea preferences of Millennials and Gen Z are helping drive Canadian tea trends. Modern Canadian tea culture is expanding into other specialty tea categories, and they’re not afraid of loose leaf tea and flavor-forward tea blends! Canadians primarily drink tea for the experience, but also lean on this beverage to help with relaxation, sleep, and anxiety [2]. We relate to our northern neighbors on this front, as we all seek healthy tools to relieve stress and nurture good sleep. 

For all of these reasons, and many more, we’re excited to get to know our northern neighbors better and build a community based upon our shared love of premium tea. We are thrilled to make our full line of premium teas and modern Steepware more accessible for Canadians to purchase directly online with a streamlined cross-border shopping experience, including door-to-door tracking and duties and taxes paid upfront. We welcome Canadian tea lovers with open arms and lots of delicious tea!



[1] Tea Association of the U.S.A Inc. “Tea Fact Sheet – 2021.” TeaUSA, Tea Association of the U.S.A Inc., 2021, 

[2] Roberge, Louise. “Canadian Market Overview.” O-CHANET, Tea Association of Canada, 2015, 

[3] World Tea News. “Per Capita Tea.” World Tea News, 24 Jan. 2014, 

[4] Salada. “A History of a Classic.” Salada, 2019, 

[5] Kergin, Brendan. “The London Fog Was Invented in Vancouver and We Spoke to the Woman Who Invented It.” Vancouver Is Awesome, Vancouver Is Awesome , 15 Mar. 2021, 

[6] Jan Conway, “Popular tea flavors among Canadian consumers 2019.” Statista, Nov 26, 2020.

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