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100 million cups of tea are enjoyed by the British public every single day. But what is the nation’s most popular tea? What are the tea drinking habits in Britain and what really is the favourite brew in England? Let’s find out more!
History of Tea in England
It’s no secret that Brits are a nation of tea lovers with 84% of the British public drinking the stuff every day!
Tea has been around for thousands of years but has only been available in the UK from the early 1600s. Before this time, coffee (and gin!) were the beverages of choice. This was dependent on class with lower classes often homebrewing their own gin and beer. Coffee houses were reserved for the higher classes.
Chinese teas were first imported to Britain by the Dutch. Tea was initially seen as a novelty drink often referred to as ‘a cup of tee’ when served at London’s established coffee houses. Around 200 years after the Dutch first brought Chinese teas to England, Indian teas were introduced when a tea trade was established. Richer bolder black teas from Assam gained more popularity over the Chinese varieties mainly due to the Indian-British relationship.
So, whilst the original leaves that came to England included more of the green tea varieties, Indian black tea varieties quickly became more popular and are now considered the traditional tea in England.
Read More: Do Brits Really Drink a lot of Tea?
Sugar and Milk in Tea
Of the 100 million cups of tea enjoyed daily in the UK, 98% of those cups are teas with milk. Black tea is the most popular type of tea in England and it is almost always enjoyed with a splash of milk and a teaspoon or two of sugar. However, it was not originally designed to be taken this way. When tea arrived to British shores, it was served in dainty china cups. However, there was a problem with this, the hot water temperatures would often cause cracks in the china. The addition of milk helps avoid any damage by lowering the temperature. Nowadays, the proper way to enjoy tea is with milk and sugar.
Milk and sugar is also added to lesser quality teas to make the taste better. Adding sugar to stronger, bolder and more bitter teas can help provide a more pleasant taste experience. Adding sugar to a spicy masala chai can balance out the spicy flavours.
Read More: Best Non Dairy Milk for Tea
History of Afternoon Tea in England
The tradition of afternoon tea started around 200 years ago not long after the British-Indian trade was established and tea was becoming more and more popular, especially amongst the high societies. It was Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who had the idea to enjoy a hot cuppa with finger sandwiches and cakes as a way to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. It was also a way to get together with friends to exchange hot gossip. This past time quickly became fashionable and still is hugely popular these days.
Is Tea More Popular Than Coffee in England?
A recent survey showed that 52% of Brits favour tea as their hot drink of choice while 35% of Brits prefer coffee. The remaining people surveyed couldn’t choose or didn’t like hot drinks. However, it appears that the younger generation maybe more likely to opt for cold drinks with only 39% of under 25s are more likely to opt for tea over coffee, 30% prefer coffee and the remaining participants surveyed were undecided.
What Type of Tea do Most Brits Drink?
Black tea is predominately the most popular type enjoyed by the British public. A recent poll tells us that 54% of tea drinkers favour English breakfast followed by 18% preferring Earl grey tea, both of which are blended black teas that are usually enjoyed with a little milk. English breakfast is a traditional blend from Assam, Ceylon and Kenya, and sometimes Keemun (a Chinese black tea).
What Brand of Tea is Most Popular in England?
A recent report shows that Twinings tea is the nation’s favourite brand of tea with PG Tips following a close second and Yorkshire Tea coming in third place.
Twinings have been in business for more than 300 years and the original shop in London’s Strand still stands today. Twinings tea were appointed the ‘Royal Warrant’ by Queen Victoria in 1837 and has been supplying tea to the Royal family ever since. So, the Queen’s favourite brand of tea is also the nation’s favourite too.
What Time do Brits Drink Tea?
We are a renowned nation of tea lovers but there’s no particular time for us Brits to enjoy a hearty cuppa. Brits are known to have the kettle on morning, noon and at night time. English breakfast is the most popular type of tea, but it’s not just a tea to enjoy before midday. Confusingly, Brits may enjoy a cup of English breakfast at any time. But, lots of people nowadays are becoming more health conscious with many of us opting for naturally caffeine free herbal blends for their evening brew. Herbal tisanes such a chamomile tea, peppermint, ginger and rooibos tea are gaining huge popularity and make for a super soothing bedtime drink.
What’s your favourite cuppa? Let me know in the comments below!
Read More of my Blog Articles About Tea
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