Britain calls time on the beloved builder’s tea

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Britain calls (tea)time on the beloved builder’s brew: Survey reveals strong, white and sugary beverage has fallen almost completely out of favour

  • Builders tea has fallen almost completely out of favour, a study has shown
  • One per cent drink their tea that way, and 66 per cent don’t add sugar at all
  • According to the survey, white tea no sugar is the most popular combination 
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It’s the steaming beverage that’s kept the British worker going for generations.

But now ‘builders’ brew’ – tea that’s strong, white and sweetened with plenty of sugar – has fallen almost completely out of favour.

These days just one in a hundred people drink their cuppa that way, compared to two-thirds who don’t add sugar at all.

White, no sugar, is the most popular combination, chosen by 57 per cent, with another ten per cent having it black and unsweetened. About 27 per cent of us have it white with just one sugar, leaving six per cent having other variations, including just one per cent preferring it super-sweet.

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Builders tea has fallen almost completely out of favour, a study has shown (File image)

Builders tea has fallen almost completely out of favour, a study has shown (File image)

The study of 1,000 people, commissioned by the UK Tea and Infusions Association, also sheds light on the biggest controversy in tea-drinking: milk first or last?

Most people put the milk in last, but more than a fifth (22 per cent) do it first, the survey revealed.

Dr Sharon Hall, head of the trade body, insisted that for tea made from a bag in a mug – as 96 per cent of cuppas are – ‘adding milk last is best’.

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A spokesman for Yorkshire Tea, one of Britain’s biggest-selling brands, added: ‘This great debate comes down to a question of heat. Tea brews best in very hot water, but adding milk cools things down.

‘So if you’re brewing tea directly into a mug, it’s better to add the milk last, after it’s brewed. And if you’re brewing in a teapot, the order doesn’t matter at all.’

Dr Hall added that a tea bag should steep for three to four minutes in the mug for the best taste.

The study of 1,000 people, commissioned by the UK Tea and Infusions Association, also sheds light on the biggest controversy in tea-drinking: milk first or last? (File image)

The study of 1,000 people, commissioned by the UK Tea and Infusions Association, also sheds light on the biggest controversy in tea-drinking: milk first or last? (File image)

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Some food scientists disagree on the ‘milk first or last’ question. Professor Alan Mackie, of Leeds University, who published his findings on the subject this year, said: ‘Making tea the traditional way – steeping a bag in hot water before removing it and adding milk –results in the tannins in the tea turning into solids before they can develop the flavour properly.

‘But if the milk is added at the start of the process, then its proteins can bind to the tannins and other minerals in the water, preventing them from turning solid, which in turn gives you a far superior flavour.’

The study also found that seven per cent of people put cream in their tea, and that Britons down a collective 100 million cuppas every day, spending a total of £1.5 billion a year.

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