Brits just can’t get enough of tea, in fact, the country collectively drinks a whopping 36 billion cups of the stuff each year! Tea is our national drink and opinions vary on how it should be drunk - from favourite brews to when the milk is added, everyone likes to have their say.
That’s where the Great British Tea Survey by Gorgeous Cottages comes in; to find out exactly what makes the nation’s perfect cup of tea we have asked all the important questions to determine the ideal shade, favourite brand and whether the milk is added first or last. We have also spoken to an expert to learn some of the science behind optimal brewing for your tea.
The UK's preferred shade of tea
Almost 50% of people like their tea brewed to the colour of a Yorkshire Pudding according to our research
The next most popular shade is 'Yorkshire Terrier' with 20% of the votes followed by 'Filey Beach' with 13% of the votes.
12% of people prefer their tea the colour of 'Whitby Jet', with no milk added to the brew but the paler shades of 'White Rose', 'York Minster' and 'Fat Rascals' got no votes at all - it seems we all like our tea with a bit of oomph!
The top three brands of tea are:
Yorkshire Tea is the UK’s favourite brand, with almost a third of respondents in our survey naming it as their favourite brew. It rates highly across all ages and locations and, as you would probably expect, it comes out highest in the North East and Yorkshire, with 41% of people surveyed giving it the number one spot.
Milk added first or last?
Two thirds of us add the milk last to a cup of tea which means around 35% of Brits put the milk in first according to data collected from our Great British Tea Survey. Everyone has their preferred method for making tea and it seems that not even experts can agree on this controversial subject.
We spoke to Jesse Richardson who is Ambassador of Teas at The Brothers Apothecary and studying Plant Based Medicine at Cornell University who says:
“The temperature of the water has direct effects on the flavor and character of the tea and robust black teas require higher temperatures closer to boiling. If you add milk first you are quickly reducing the water temperature from what is measured on your kettle. Similarly, milk can curdle or separate at times if the tea or kettle is acidic, which becomes more apparent the longer the milk is brewed with the tea.”
However, Professor Alan Mackie from Leeds University has claimed that adding the milk last can help tea taste better by binding its proteins to the tannins in tea and stopping them turning to solids before the flavour is properly developed.
The majority of Brits can’t do without their favourite tea
Is having a good cup of tea so important that you take your favourite tea bags abroad with you? If the answer is YES, you’re not alone. According to our survey results, 58% of Brits include tea bags on their packing list - it seems that settling down to a good cup of tea really is a holiday essential!
Most people drink three or four cups of tea each day
Just over a third of people in our survey (36%) will drink three-four cups of tea each day, and almost a quarter of people (24%) drink a whopping five-six cups to get them through the day. People from Wales are most likely to drink more than this, with 23% saying they drink over six cups of tea a day!
Lockdown has led to an increase in tea consumption according to our survey results, with 35% of people drinking more hot brews now than they did a year ago. This increases to 48% among 25-34-year-olds, with respondents in this age bracket drinking more tea due to lockdown restrictions.
Our survey also shows that comfort and warmth are key reasons why people turn to a trusty cup of tea to get them through the day - could this be why tea consumption has increased over the stressful lockdown period?
Sugar in your tea or are you sweet enough?
It seems that the majority of the British public are already sweet enough as 76% of people don’t take any sugar or sweetener in their brew. The percentage of people preferring unsweetened tea does seem to increase with age though - from 63% of 25-34-year-olds to 83% of our more mature respondents.
Respondents from the North West appear to have the sweetest tooth, with 12% of people taking two or more sugars or sweeteners in their tea. People from Scotland are most likely to go sugar-free, with 84% of Scots preferring their tea without any added sweetness.
The average British tea drinker
How do you compare to our survey results? The average Brit drinks three-four cups of unsweetened Yorkshire Tea each day, adds the milk last, and makes sure that tea bags are always on their packing list when heading abroad.
The majority of people prefer their tea to be brewed to somewhere between the colour of Filey beach and Yorkshire Terrier on our Yorkshire Tea chart, with Yorkshire Pudding the most popular tea shade.
Ten facts about tea
1. Tea is made with the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant.
2. It takes more than 1000 leaves to make just 250 grams of finished tea.
3. Most types of tea come from the same plant - the differences come from how the leaves are treated.
4. Tea contains antioxidant polyphenols which are really good for you and help stave off a range of diseases.
5. Around 36 billion cups of tea are drunk annually in Great Britain.
6. Turkey drinks more cups of tea per person than any other country (Ireland is second and Britain is third).
7. Earl Grey tea was created in 1831 for the then Prime Minister, Earl Charles Grey.
8. The Chinese have been drinking tea for more than 2,000 years.
9. Tea was first introduced to the UK in the 17th century but during the 18th century huge ‘tea taxes’ meant tea had to be smuggled into the country.
10. After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world.
About Gorgeous Cottages
Gorgeous Cottages are obsessed with all things Yorkshire and are the booking agents for some of the finest holiday cottages available in God’s Own County. Our luxury Yorkshire holiday cottages are all hand-picked by the team and range from romantic coastal retreats to family-friendly cottages in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with lots of dog-friendly Yorkshire cottages available too.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.