How Do You Like Your Tea?

Here in the UK we are known the world over for our quaint little traditions, and none more than our obsession with a cup of tea. We love the stuff, in fact 26% of people drink more than 6 cups a day and it contributes to a massive amount of our daily fluid intake. You might say that as a nation, our love affair with the good old brew will never end.

Tea was originally brought to the UK by a Portuguese Queen and was exclusive to the rich and famous but over the years has become a staple to our day.

There are lots of ways you can drink tea and the eternal milk first or water first argument reigns through the office when we meet around the kettle. Did you know however that in the past people who were referred to as “a bit of milk first” were deemed to be lower class, and uncouth?

Now the banter is a lot more light-hearted, and there is even a range of mugs that you can purchase with different pantones on the side so when people are making you a cup they know EXACTLY how much milk you have in a perfect cuppa. Never again will you have to sneak back to the fridge to add a splash more milk while making sure that the person kind enough to make the tea doesn’t spot you!

Through the ages, afternoon tea has become a fantastic tradition that we love. In fact, the humble cupcake, that has risen to star status recently, originated in the UK. Servants on tight budgets stole the discarded old tea sets when they were replaced in the big house upstairs, and made cakes in them when there was a shortage of cake tins.

Today, afternoon tea is taken with a selection of finger cakes or a good old scone and cream, referred to as a cream tea and seen as a fantastic luxury treat, maybe due to the amount of calories!

Tea is naturally refreshing, and did you know that when consumed in the heat it will lower your body temperature? It’s a myth that to drink a cold drink makes you cooler, as your body feels the freeze and tries to up its core temperature. By drinking a good old cuppa, your body will cool. Interesting, huh?

When taken with milk, four cups of tea a day will provide you with nearly 20% of your daily calcium requirement, 5% folic acid, vitamins B1, B2 and B6 and a healthy helping of zinc. What’s not to love?

So how do you like your tea? Earl grey, English breakfast tea, Ceylon… the possibilities are endless. Add milk, add sugar, a dash of lemon; however you like to drink yours it’s not going to run out any time soon.

Laura Tinker is a writer from the UK and her daily musings can be found at Head over and say hi! Follow Laura on Twitter @lillyheart999.


  1. John says

    I like a cup of PG Tips (lucky for me, it’s sold in the states in the International section), milk second. I pour the milk second mostly because I love the way it looks, like a galaxy swirling in my mug, if only for a moment. And since my kitchen’s a nightmare, I usually take my tea with a few Oreos, though I’d prefer scones ;)

  2. Jean | Delightful Repast says

    Laura, I’m part of the 26% who drink more than six cups a day. Or, rather, if I were in the UK I would be part of the 26%. I’m sure the number is much lower in the US. Usually drink it as is, sometimes with a tiny splash of milk.

  3. Clare A says

    I drink more coffee now actually but I think that’s because in my mind, coffee is fuel to work and tea is more for pleasure. I tend to drink a cup or two of tea (teabag, milk and sugar) in the afternoon/late evenings.

  4. Stacey Burnaroos says

    Oh I admit, I do drink a lot of tea every day. It is usually started in the morning made by my husband John thankfully, but he doesn’t make it as strong as I normally would like as usually in a bit of a hurry. But I can’t complain. Actually I have to blame my father, he warmed our baby bottle with a top off of tea, to warm the milk, I guess that almost sounds like child abuse but he was a lovely man, a British man, and I guess that started my tea addiction/obsession, and it sure was good!! I make mine in the stainless steel pot with a homemade cozy, made by my mother. Milk first, then tea, Tetley’s, with a good stir, that’s the 1 thing, my husband doesn’t always do and I have to growl at him, not very nice for someone who’s being waited on

  5. Elizabeth Thums says

    Living in the U.S., I create my own version of afternoon tea at home since Americans haven’t picked up on this delightful tradition. I wish I could drink LOTS of tea per day, but it seems to affect my anxiety and stomach, so I keep it to 1-2 cups, but relish every drop. I used to get excited over crazy and exotic flavors, but these days prefer good quality black or earl grey (with cream and sugar).

  6. Roxanne Stickler says

    Earl Grey is not a guest in our home. =) I prefer ‘unflavored’ tea – Yorkshire, Typhoo, Barry’s, Lyons, some Twinings – English breakfast or ‘basic black’ blend, milk & sugar, in a mug as it doesn’t cool quite so quickly. I could easily drink 6 cups a day. (Just wish it were easier to find here in the US.) Some scones would be a welcome addition!

    My mom’s tried to convince me drinking hot tea in summer will cool you; it has always made me hotter! =)

  7. Kitty says

    I think I may be viewed as a bit of a Philistine. I like my tea very strong and with nothing in it (been known to let it steep for 20 minutes, depending on the size of the cup). Though I will put milk and honey in a nice Chai tea. :)

  8. Maggie B says

    My dad used to make tea when we got ready to sit and read. Not only did I learn to read by age 5 I grew to love tea. Being in the Midwest USA my tea-making skills followed by father’s…water first into a pre-warmed pot, then sugar, and last, a right healthy splash of milk. PG Tips are a favourite now, but Yorkshire Tea runs a close second. Occasionally I have Spiced Chai tea with a regular bag for a change of pace.

    Sitting down with a lovely cuppa and a good book is IMHO as close to Heaven as one can get whilst still breathing.