Understanding Types of British Tea & Britons Favorites

August 5, 2022

For most people, the Brits and tea are indelibly linked to one another.

This is rather surprising considering that the origins of tea didn’t even begin in England – it started in China!

Nevertheless, tea is seen as being quintessentially British.  

Therefore, it is only natural to wonder what the most popular tea in England is. Or, what types of British tea exist.

Well, these questions – and more – will be answered shortly…

Why is Tea So Important to The British?

Before going any farther, let’s unravel the most important question of all – why on earth do the Brits love their tea so much.

And, they do love it! It is estimated that Brits drink about 60 billion cups of tea a year!

This amounts to around 900 cups for every man, woman, and child in Britain!

While there isn’t one proven answer, there has been much speculation about this point.

It is believed that one of the reasons that the drink is so popular is due to classism.

In the beginning, tea was so expensive that it could only be enjoyed by the upper echelons of society.

As time passed, however, the prices dropped and the lower social classes were able to enjoy this treat as well.

What first began as a fashion statement of sorts soon became an intrinsic part of life.

Thus, the consecutive generations of the British public were born into a tea-drinking society.

As a result, most people gained a taste for it.

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What Kind of Tea Do Brits Drink?

Another question that you may be pondering is what kind of tea do they drink in England?  

Well, there appears to be some solidarity in the answer here, along with some interesting variations.

It is estimated that over 53 percent of the British population drinks English breakfast tea.

This is a black tea that consists largely of Ceylon tea, but that is known to contain some Assam leaves as well.

The blend is known for being strong and robust.

Around 23 percent of people drink green tea, while this number is closely followed by Earl Grey drinkers.

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Earl Grey is a black tea that is flavored with bergamot. 

About 9 percent of the population drinks Assam while 8 percent drink Darjeeling.

Needless to say, most people in England favor black tea above all other options.

However, this may change slowly as people’s tastes and interests begin to evolve…

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What is the Most Popular Tea Brand in England?

Now that the Brits’ favorite blend is clear, let’s take a look at which tea brand reigns supreme.

Well, it does appear that there has been some upheaval in this department.

For the longest time, PG Tips was the champion of the masses.

However, in the last year, Twinings has stolen that crown.

Interestingly enough, this usurpation actually reveals how British tea drinkers may be changing the way that they drink tea.

To begin with, it appears that the taste buds of the average person are improving.

As such, they are reaching for brands with better quality teas.

At the same time, it would appear that the general public is also becoming more interested in their health.

Due to this, they are turning to brands that offer healthier teas or simple more healthful options in general.

In case you are wondering, here are some of the other most consumed tea brands in order of popularity:

  • Yorkshire
  • Tetley
  • Pukka
  • Clipper
  • Teapigs
  • Typhoo
  • Tick Tock
  • Scottish Blend
tea in england

How Good is British Tea?

There is no denying that the Brits are loyal to their tea.

However, just how good is this their tea?

The truth is that the average Brit uses tea bags from average brands – Twinings and a few other brands being the exception.

The best teas are loose leaf teas that have been carefully selected and processed.

Nonetheless, these brands are more expensive.

Most Brits are looking for strong and affordable teas.

Due to this, you can’t really say that the Brits are drinking the best tea in the world.

Of course, tea flavors can be rather subjective.

Therefore, as long as you aren’t concerned with purity or quality, it is well within your right to claim that your favorite tea is, in fact, an English brew.

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What Tea Says About Social Status in England

Most people in England would apparently be able to tell a lot about your social standing simply by looking at how you take your tea.

For instance, stronger brews are associated with the working class. These are referred to as “builder’s tea”.

The higher that you work your way up the social ladder, the weaker that the tea becomes.

The middle class tend to indulge in Earl Grey – creating distinction between themselves and the working class.

Some middle class individuals will drink lapsang souchong, which tends to be a blend preferred by the more elite.

For more information, you should also keep a watchful eye out for how someone adds milk or sugar to their brew.

Most builder’s brews tend to be very milky. The true sign of working class, however, is adding at least two sugars to your tea.

Adding just one may indicate a lower-middle class station in life.

As you can see, there is quite a bit to understand about British tea. There is so much variance in preference – from brand to tea strength.

Needless to say, Britain has some interesting tastes when it comes to their favorite brew.

Despite this, people will continue to associate the beverage with the English and this isn’t about to change anytime soon.

Did you find this post interesting? If so, you should head over to our Pinterest page. You are sure to find plenty of similar posts there, including how to brew the perfect up of English tea!

About the Author
Dr. Dheena Sadik
Dr. Dheena Sadik is a consultant Nutritionist and Dietician. She has over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry.
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