What Kind of Tea Do They Drink In England 

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The British have a long term love-affair with drinking tea. Many people across the United Kingdom drink tea on a daily basis, and some even drink many cups each day. You might be asking yourself, exactly what kind of tea do they drink in England?

There are over 1,500 different types of tea in England with different tastes, colors, and styles. Black Tea is by far the most popular and is a staple in most English homes. Earl Grey, Oolong, and herbal teas are also popular choices. 

The History of Tea in England

In the early 17th century, tea was first introduced to the British by the infamous East India Company. Originally, it was a delicacy reserved for the very wealthy. The ritual of tea drinking became a favorite pastime in the Royal Court soon after and quickly spread throughout the aristocracy. 

The first tea shop was opened in 1717 by a man named Thomas Twining. It was immediately successful and soon other tea shops were popping up all over the country.

The Duchess of Bedford is credited with creating the ritual of Afternoon Tea, which is still a popular practice throughout the United Kingdom. It often involves light snacks and treats served alongside the freshly brewed tea as a way to hold people over until supper. 

As the British Empire expanded to India, the popularity of tea only continued to grow exponentially. The British began cultivating and trading tea in huge quantities – which helped to establish drinking tea as the unofficial national pastime that it has come to be in England. 

What Are the Most Popular Types of Tea in England

Black Tea 

The most popular tea in England is Black Tea. You may have heard it referred to as English Breakfast or Breakfast Tea. Black tea varieties include Kenyan and Assam. 

Black tea is often purchased in tea bags in England, which makes it quicker and easier to brew than loose leaf tea. It’s very flavorful and contains caffeine. The British usually drink it with milk and sugar. The milk helps balance the bitterness in the tea and gives it a smooth flavor. 

Tea is significantly more popular than coffee in the United Kingdom, and many people drink multiple cups each day. 

Earl Grey 

Earl Grey got its name from Prime Minister Charles Grey when he received it as a gift from China in 1830. Earl Grey’s are similar to black teas and contain Bergamot, a citrus oil from the bergamot orange. 

It has more health benefits than black tea and is steeped for longer. The British typically drink it without milk, but might sometimes add sugar. 

Chai Tea 

Chai tea originated thousands of years ago in what is now India. The name means ‘spiced tea’ and its modern-day variation includes black tea combined with delicious warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and even black peppercorns. 

It has a variety of health benefits and is combined with milk and sweetener for a flavorful treat. It’s traditionally served hot, but cold Chai drinks are growing in popularity in Britain as well as throughout cafes around the world. 

Green Tea 

Green Tea originated in China and due to its health benefits its popularity has increased drastically over the past decade in Britain. It is light green in color and contains caffeine. It has a very fresh earthy aroma and is consumed without milk, but many enjoy adding a bit of honey. 


Oolong is another Chinese tea that is semi-fermented. It is often prepared using loose tea leaves and has a smoky and fruity flavor. 

Oolong can be pricey, so it isn’t consumed as often as some of the black tea varieties discussed above. 

Herbal teas

Herbal teas include various combinations of herbs and flowers that are prepared with boiling water into a tasty tea-like beverage. The varieties are endless, with options ranging from peppermint, chamomile, and hibiscus. They have a variety of health properties and many drink herbal teas medicinally in Britain to help with everything from nausea to anxiety. 

Many people choose to consume herbal tea in the evening due to the lack of caffeine content in many varieties. Some herbal teas even contain ingredients that will help you relax and drift into a deep, restful sleep. 

How to Make the Perfect Cup of English Tea

The preparation of the perfect cup of tea depends largely on the individual. Tea lovers often have their own specific rituals and everyone claims theirs is the best, but some basic rules for making tea are generally agreed upon. For a perfect cup of tea, follow these simple instructions. 

  • Fill a kettle with cool water and bring to a boil 
  • Warm the teapot with some boiled water and then put it out. 
  • Place one teaspoon of fresh loose leaf tea into the teapot per person. 
  • Cover the tea leaves with boiling water. You will want one cup of water per person and a little extra for the pot. 
  • Let the tea infuse for 3-4 minutes (for English black tea, as steeping time and temperatures vary for other types of tea). 
  • Pour the tea into cups through a tea strainer. For those who take milk with their tea, add the milk to the cup before pouring the tea. 
  • Add sugar to taste! 

Following these instructions will ensure that you brew a delicious cup of tea that would impress even the most expert tea connoisseur. Enjoy sipping your tea alongside a tasty English biscuit and you’ll feel as though you could be right at home during an Afternoon Tea at the Royal Court. 

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