The Great British Cup of Tea: A National Institution

Cooleraid • 27/01/2021

Tea has become the national drink of Great Britain, with an estimated 100 million cups consumed per day according to the UK Tea and Infusions Association. Tea has become part of our national image all over the world. It is thought that Britain drinks more tea than any other country in relation to its size. Perhaps because it’s so cold here most of the time! On average, people in Britain drink about 2 cups of tea a day each. But a lot of people will drink far more than that. So where did our love of teas in Britain come from?

A Very Brief History of Tea in Britain

Tea first arrived in Britain in the early 17th century. It was brought here by the East India Company. It was a very expensive product and was only consumed by the rich who kept it under lock and key. Catherine of Braganza, the wife of Charles II introduced the ritual of drinking tea to the English Royal Court and the habit was adopted by the aristocracy. The very first tea shop for ladies was opened by Thomas Twining in 1717. Tea shops then slowly began to appear throughout England making the drinking of tea accessible to all. The British love of tea was further developed during the years of the British Empire in India.

Does drinking tea have health benefits?

Yes! Drinking black tea does have proven health benefits. These include:

  • Reduction of risk of chronic disease and improvement of overall health due to consuming antioxidants
  • Boosting of heart heath due to consumption of flavonoids
  • Reduction of ‘bad’ cholesterol
  • Improvement of gut health and immunity
  • Possible reduction of high blood pressure
  • Possible reduction of the risk of stroke
  • Possible reduction in blood sugar levels (if consumed without sugar)
  • Possible reduction in the risk of cancer
  • Improvement of focus and alertness

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

The debate continues. Every Brit has an opinion on how to make a ‘proper’ cup of tea. Here’s what we think.

The first ingredient has got to be leaf teas. Not tea bags and definitely not powder (who even dreamed that up?). Black tea is the only one considered ‘real’ for a cup of tea in Britain. Black tea is the dried and fermented leaves of the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis.

So, you’ve got your tea leaves, now you’re going to need some freshly boiled water and of course, a tea pot.  Warm the teapot with a little of the boiled water, swirl it around the pot and then discard. Put one teaspoon of fresh, leaf tea per person plus an extra one into the pot.  Top up the teapot with the boiling water. Leave it to infuse for 3 to 4 minutes, no longer or it will develop a ‘stewed’ flavour.  Then pour the tea through a tea-strainer directly into clean―preferably―china teacups.

What comes first? The tea or the milk?

Oh, the time that’s been spent thrashing out this debate in Britain! Do you put the milk in the cup before pouring or after? Originally milk was always added before the tea to prevent the hot teas from cracking the delicate bone china cups. Tea experts agree with this tradition but also state that pouring milk into hot tea after pouring alters the flavour of the tea. Every person will have their own opinion on this and it’s so interesting how it’s usually steeped in tradition. What did your Mum teach you?

Instant Hot Water Dispensers

With so much tea being consumed in Britain, instant hot water dispensers are a great way to save time, money and the environment.  A full kettle takes, on average, about 2.5 minutes to boil. If you do that 4 times a day, you’ve spent ten minutes just waiting for the kettle to boil. That’s going to cost you about £60 per year just to run your kettle! Now imagine you’re a business owner with a staff of 30 people. Britain’s tea obsession suddenly starts to really add up!

An instant hot water dispenser does just that – provides instant access to boiling hot water at all times. All our water boilers at Cooleraid are fitted with an advanced carbon block filtration system which removes bacteria, impurities and chlorine. This results in a better tasting brew. Talk to us today and let us find the best hot water solution for you.

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