London Living: Tea, beverage of the Brits

The stereotype is true. The art of tea is a very important social aspect of living in England. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its place in New Zealand, but there is a special place in most Brits hearts, and it’s solely reserved for the great leaf.

Fact for the day: Approximately 165,000,000 cups of tea are drunk on average in a day, in England (according to the United Kingdom Tea Council, though they may be a little biased).

Tea with friends

Setting aside the very serious historical and political influence the humble tea leaf has been involved in, it is almost a religion here and I do know a few people whose blood has practically been replaced by the tan liquid.


Tea in the Queens’ Garden 

In the work place it’s very social – in most of the offices I’ve have worked in & charities I have volunteered with, if you don’t drink tea it kind of baffles people. They aren’t offended at all when you say no thanks, but a fleeting puzzled frown normally crosses their brow if you say “No, I’m ok thanks, I don’t really drink tea.” I found myself accepting cups of tea and getting involved in tea runs more out of a courtesy than thirst, and subsequently found myself with a caffeine habit.

I’ve found that there are 3 types of people; the social makers (who always get their round in, or can be persuaded to), the anti-social makers (who never get a round in, strategically planning their trip to the kitchen and employing some pretty sneaky tactics), and the canny ones (who make such bad tea that the rest of the offices shudders at the suggestion & leaps to their feet to make for everyone).

Greasing the wheels of industry… 

It’s also quite a social etiquette with milk; who gets it and which one they get – we have had office-wide discussions on the subject alone, and there is a minor panic when we run out.

Posh Afternoon Tea

There is also the subtle art of how you take your tea – at home we were quite involved in the motor racing scene, and the odds were:
MECHANICS – 2 Sugars+
DRIVERS – 1 Sugar
OWNERS – No Sugar

It was uncanny how often our ‘scientific’ formula was right, and it didn’t matter if it was cars or bikes. Whilst researching for this post, I ran into this article on “your tea type” Great minds think alike (although fools seldom differ. That’s a bit of food for thought!)

No overseas box would be complete without a box of Union Jack Tea. Fact.


In my experience, since living here, if I find yourself in a stressful situation I didn’t quite know what to do, I switch the jug on. A cup of tea is your friend, calming, giving your hands something to do, partially occupying your mind, it’s hot and soothing, and provides a small caffeine bump.

However, if you aren’t a tea drinker, I have found a loophole in the social matrix.

That’s right, nothing is enjoyed more by your new tea-drinking colleagues & Brits than a nice slice of cake.

How do you enjoy your tea? Or are you a Coffee Fiend?
Have I made you Thirsty?
What does your beverage of choice say about you?

%d bloggers like this: