British people love to drink tea! If you ever visit Great Britain you will definitely be offered a cup of tea. We love tea in the morning, on a break at work, with our afternoon snack or last thing at night. British people drink tea with (or without) milk, sugar or lemon. Lets take a look at the reason why the cup of tea is such an important part of British culture.

All the Tea in China

Tea – of course – actually started its life in China. Legend has it that a Chinese Emperor invented tea nearly 5000 years ago when some leaves from a tree he was sitting under blew into the boiling water he was drinking. Tea didn’t arrive in great Britain until the 17th century (1600-1699). During this time tea became a fashionable drink for British Royalty and the upper classes. However it wasn’t until the late 1700s that tea became affordable and everyone could enjoy a cuppa! Since that time tea has been a much loved British icon.

Having afternoon tea is a popular British tradition. At some point between lunch and dinner British people will sit down and have a nice cuppa, usually with a cake, biscuit or scone!

Slang - Cuppa

Many people love to make tea in a teapot and drink it from a cup and saucer (see photo above), but others prefer a larger mug of tea. Tea in a teapot is usually made with loose leaf tea whereas tea in a mug is usually made with a teabag!

Talking about tea:
  • Barry: Would you like a cuppa?
  • Steve: Yes please.
  • Barry: How do you like it?
  • Steve: White with 2 sugars. (White = with milk, 2 sugars = 2 sugar cubes or spoonfuls or sugar)

I prefer my tea with milk and no sugar. How about you?

Is tea popular in your country?

Have you ever tried a cup of British tea?