The British (population about 59 million people) drink every day 165 million cups of tea, 98 % of British drink tea with milk, but only 30 % add sugar in tea.Tea accounts for 40 % of the total fluid in Britain. 86 % of all consumed tea is consumed at home and 14 % out.
According to English tea notions of tea drinking traditions there should be served a number of various kinds, regardless of the time of a day, so that everyone can choose the tea that suits his preferences and mood. This is an expression of respect, which covers the whole ritual of English tea. The chosen tea is brewed in the individual teapot, rinsed with boiled water, even if these are tea bags. The brewing, regardless of the sort, should infuse for 3—5 minutes, otherwise the tea will not reveal all its virtues.
While the tea is brewed, there are served milk, sugar, lemon etc, as well as a separate pot with boiling water — to dilute the tea to the desired level of strength. As the water is cooling, the kettles are replaced by new ones— it is also regarded as a manifestation of respect, compulsory for English etiquette.
The tradition of serving tea with milk deserves special attention. Milk is an indispensable attribute of the tea ceremony in England. It is added to many kinds of Indian and Ceylon teas to alleviate the effects of caffeine and make the the drink taste less harsh. The British have been debating on what should be poured into the cup first, tea or milk, for more than two hundred years. Supporters and opponents of both versions give strong arguments in defence of their positions, but etiquette admits both ways of mixing. Instead of milk sometimes a slice of lemon or tangerine is put into the tea.
Traditionally tea is served with toasts and muffins. You can also offer bread, butter, biscuits, jam— all you need to refresh yourself with a cup of tea.
It should be noted that in recent years in England there are used mainly tea bags, which accounts for nearly 90 percent. At the same time, conservative British did not refuse the teapots. Simply instead of tea leaves they put there a tea bag. It is not our usual tea bag with thread (in England they are called «bags for one cup»), but a big bag for teapots, which occupies 98% of the packaged tea market in Great Britain (such bags in Ukraine are offered by trade mark «Ahmad Tea»).
An adult Englishman drinks six cups of tea per day. Tea drinking usually begins early in the morning. At six o’clock in the morning England drinks the «morning tea». In hotels it is common to serve it directly into the bed when a guest has just woken up. Strong morning tea helps to relieve sleepiness in cold cloudy weather, so frequent in the British Isles.
At eight in the morning there is breakfast, which is completed with a cup of tea of the same name. Taking into account the strength of mixture, consisting of Indian, Ceylon and Kenyan teas, tea is usually diluted with milk.
Next on the schedule is lunch, somewhere between second breakfast and dinner, during which there is necessarily consumed «a nice cup of tea».
The honour of the sacred for the Brits tradition of «afternoon tea», which is drunk in order to extinguish the feeling of hunger that arises between lunch and late evening meal, belongs to Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bradford. Because of the long breaks in the meal, the Duchess suffered from «sudden weakness» in the middle of the day. To deal with bouts of hunger, she asked her maid to bring a teapot and snacks to her room. Finally, the Duchess liked the idea, and she began to invite her friends to this afternoon tea. Very soon this habit was picked by all metropolitan beau monde, and then — the rest of society.
The most popular English tea drinking is «five-o’clock», arranged throughout the U.K. At this time there are closed all stores and institutions, offices and banks — everybody is drinking tea. None of the heads will dare to forbid his subordinates to take a break for a cup of tea at five o’clock: this step may have a very negative impact on the relations in the team. Ironically, «five-o’clock» was forcibly introduced in the United Kingdom in 1851 — at that time the government was seriously worried with the problem of addiction to alcohol. According to the special law, officials, workers and sailors should make the fifteen-minute break for tea. The law has found understanding and appreciation in the masses, and it is scrupulously, already voluntarily, followed today as well.
In the evening the British are going to dinner with their family. During the big meal they discuss the events of the day, politics and sports. At that time of the day especially popular are soft, soothing teas flavoured with bergamot. The most famous «evening» tea is «Earl Grey». The receipt of this tea belongs to Charles Gray — a member of the British Parliament and influential diplomat. There are several varieties of tea «Earl Grey», according to exclusive recipes it is replicated by different companies. However, it should be noted, that at the last competition, where there were only teas of this kind, the first place and «Grand Prix» won the tea «Earl grey» of «Ahmad Tea» company.
English tea is completed, as well as it starts, «in bed». Shortly before bedtime they drink tea without caffeine, as well as a variety of teas with fruit flavours.