Lockdown has seen tea sales surge by 65% year on year, comparing figures from 2019 to 2020. The Great British public have, also, been trying to answer that age old question: What came first, the tea or the milk?

Interest in making the perfect cup of British tea has also crossed the Atlantic and has gone viral in the USA thanks to a Tik Tok video of a ‘questionable’ American tea making method.

In order to settle the debate once and for all, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company have surveyed Brits to find out how to make the perfect cup of tea.

The survey of around 2,000 Brits has 70% of Brits agreeing on the following method: tea bag goes in first, boiling water is second and the milk is the final step.

Adding the water and milk before the tea bag is the UK’s least favourite way of making tea with 2.6% opting for this method.

UK's Tea Consumption

So, who is adding the milk first? The research found out that over 76% of people that add the milk first are men. 71% of men also opt to microwave the water rather than boiling the water in a kettle - what?!

Over half of the people adding the tea bag last are between 25-44, is this another thing that Millenials are going to get trending alongside smashed avo and quinoa?

Brits are also close to agreeing that a proper cuppa has to have a certain kind of milk. Cow’s milk dominates the responses with 75% of Brits choosing dairy over plant-based milk alternatives or no milk at all.

The data also shows that vegan milk’s popularity is rising quickly. Of those who choose plant-based milks, 44% prefer oat, 20% for both almond and hemp milk and 15% opt for coconut milk.

What Milk do you Add to your Cup of Tea
Most popular plant based milk by country

The research also found that the majority of Brits prefer their tea without sugar. A deeper analysis of the data reveals that younger generations have a sweeter tooth.

Gen Zers usually add two teaspoons of sugar whilst millennials opt for three, meanwhile the majority of people over 45 years old do not add sugar to their tea.

How Much Sugar in your Tea

Males make up 75% of the sweetest tooth individuals; whilst, the majority of women opt for no sugars at all.

It is unquestionable that the UK is a nation of tea-lovers. This is continuing to grow since lockdown in March 2020 with Brits are now drinking more tea than ever.

The Northern Irish are the biggest tea addicts in the UK, the majority of respondents have more than 5 cups of tea per day. The Welsh follow in second place with between 3-5 daily cups. The English and Scottish share the same levels of tea consumption per day at between 1-2 cups.

Amount of Tea Drink in the UK

Finally, British’s has also revealed their favourite tea brand. The data shows there is a tough rivalry between two brands: Yorkshire favorited by 26.2% and PG Tips by 26.1%.

What's your Favourite Tea Brands


The data used in this study was collected via the Google Survey platform and conducted over the period of 9th - 12th Feb 2021.

We analysed UK audiences’ tea consumption habits, posing questions to users that cover brewing techniques, milk and sugar preferences, daily tea intake and brand choices.

Data points were then averaged and grouped by age group, gender and country.

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.

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