Tea is one of those things everyone associates with the UK, and England in particular. Each year every person in the United Kingdom consumes almost 2 kg of tea and makes over 900 cups.
British tea and BritainThere are many kinds of tea, but the tea preferred by British people is black tea. If you go to a tea house or tea room or even a coffee shop and order tea, you will get black tea with milk (sometimes inside a little jug, sometimes already mixed) and sugar on the side. No one will ask: what kind? Unless the person serving you is not from the UK. Lately other varieties of tea (like green and herbal) are becoming more popular, but black tea is still the preferred kind. In the past the upper classes had weak tea with little or no milk and no sugar, and the lower classes preferred strong bitter tea with a lot of milk and a lot of sugar. This sweet milky tea is known as builder’s tea and is usually served in cafeterias (usually called a caf) in a mug. The lighter tea is the one now most commonly served in tea rooms in teacups.
Common tea blendsIn the UK people usually drink black tea, but there are also a few blends that are popular.
- Earl Grey: black tea with bergamot orange oil. Earl Grey is very popular as a way of flavouring baked products, especially shortbread.
- Lady Grey: the same as Earl Grey but with lemon and orange peel. It is a trademarked blend created in the 90’s.
- Breakfast: a rich and strong blend made to be served with milk and sugar as the drink of a full English breakfast.