What is the most popular type of tea in England?
Despite a large portion of the country preferring coffee, tea is synonymous with England and maintains a special place in the hearts of British adults of all ages. We know our tea and when it comes to determining the most popular types – there are a few stand outs that we will be exploring in this guide. First though, lets discuss why tea is so widely consumed in England…
The popularity of tea in England
Loose tea became a staple of royalty and high society in England a few centuries ago after it was imported from China and India. It quickly became a regular occurrence for the wealthiest to drink tea and eat light snacks when socialising, known as afternoon tea. By the 19th century tea leaves became more accessible to the working class too so everyone could enjoy a cup of tea regardless of social status.
Tea consumption dipped during both WW1 and WW2, largely as a result of rationing but picked up again until the late nineties. At this time a wave of coffee shops began to open, and coffee became the hot beverage of choice for many. However, tea popularity has steadily grown again throughout the 21st century. This, at least in part, was due to a boom in more specialty and health driven tea products and the wider varieties of flavours that have been introduced to the market. Taking this into consideration, let’s see what the most popular type of tea is in England and the closely followed runners up.
What are the most popular types of tea in England?
Starting with the winner, black tea is by far is the most popular tea amongst Brits. Black tea and blends of black tea are often enjoyed with milk and the finer particles make for a stronger, distinctive flavour which set it apart from other more delicate and subtle teas. English Breakfast, Kenyan and Assam are key examples of popular black teas, known for their impressive flavour profiles.
If you like a strong tea, you’ll definitely want to give those with a black tea base a try if you haven’t already. Despite a lot of tea now being prepared with tea bags for speed and convenience – there has been an increase in people utilising black tea leaves. Not only does this offer more flavour than using a tea bag but the more eco-conscious individuals will have peace of mind that they aren’t fuelling single-use plastics.
Earl Grey tea
We know what you’re thinking and yes Earl Grey has traditionally only been a type of black tea in the past. However, there are so many variations of tea now that this infamous beverage has had several descendants including ones that use oolong tea and even green tea. Also, even in its original black tea form, Earl Grey is different from other types as it is best enjoyed without milk and should be steeped for longer too. So, it deserves its own place on the list and given its wide presence and popularity with many tea drinkers in England, as well as its fascinating history with Charles Grey and Lady Grey – it rightfully takes the silver medal.
Going back to the consumer demand for healthier products in the 21st century we arrive at green tea. This type of tea is known for having a number of health benefits, which opened the door to a whole new generation of tea drinkers looking for a healthier alternative to black tea. Green tea often retains more of its natural properties and minerals as it is less manufactured and oxidised in comparison to other tea types in this list. As a result of this, the tea boasts an earthier flavour that is highly refreshing and ideal for those who are wanting a healthier option that doesn’t have the same degree of bitterness as a more conventional tea.
Following a similar trend to green tea, herbal tea focuses on being a healthier option to normal tea as well as a wide range of different flavours. There might be some debate as to whether they should be in this list as they are not technically tea. Rather than coming from the camellia sinensis plant they are produced from alternative herbal plants and fruit extracts. Rose tea is a popular example of a herbal tea and its light aromas appeal to those who don’t enjoy the traditional taste of tea. Technicalities aside, tea is in the name and their popularity amongst consumers today is valid, so it has a place in this list.
This type of tea is quite niche and best suited to those who want very unique flavours. You will mostly find oolong is a loose tea form and depending on its production the tastes can be smokey and thick or the complete opposite with fragrant, fruity notes. It may not be a tea for the average tea drinker but if you love tea and want to expand your palette further, exploring an oolong tea could be right for you. Many tea enthusiasts in England appreciate an oolong tea or blend, which has resulted in it taking the final place on this list.
Despite many years of cultural shifts, demand changes, and different generational attitudes black tea remains the firm favourite tea in England. It continues to stand the test of time even with other types of tea growing in popularity. Ultimately, you can’t beat a nice cup of classic black tea – whether it’s in tea bag or loose-leaf form.
Looking to buy loose leaf tea in Newcastle? Pumphreys has a wide range of loose teas to suit every flavour profile whether you prefer a simple black tea, a healthy green, or an adventurous oolong. We’ve got tea that you can make part of your daily brew. Explore our product range today and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.