There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of What is Builders Tea. In many ways, it depends on who you ask. Some people might say that builders tea is a strong, black tea that is typically served with milk and sugar. Others might say that builder's tea is any type of tea that is consumed by construction workers or other manual labourers.

At its most basic level, builders tea is simply a term used to describe a cup of strong black tea. This can include tea blends that are specifically designed to be strong, as well as more general black teas that are commonly consumed by those who like a strong flavour. The term builder's tea is also sometimes used to describe a cup of tea that is prepared in a specific way, typically with milk and sugar.

So, what is builders tea? Ultimately, it is a strong black tea that is often served with milk and sugar. However, the term can also be used more broadly to describe any type of tea that is consumed by builders or other manual labourers.

What is Builder’s Tea?

Builders Tea vs English Breakfast

While builders tea and English breakfast tea are both types of black tea, there are some key differences between them. English breakfast tea is typically lighter in flavour and traditionally a blend of both Assam Tea and Ceylon Tea and it is often drunk with milk and sugar.

Builders tea, on the other hand, is usually darker in colour and is quite often a Kenya or other African black tea and they have a more robust flavour. It is also typically drunk without milk or sugar.

So, which one should you choose? If you’re looking for a strong, hearty cup of tea, builders tea is probably the way to go. However, if you prefer a lighter-tasting tea, English Breakfast Tea Bags might be more up your alley. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference!

George Orwell and Tea

George Orwell and Builder’s Tea

Orwell was a big fan of builder's tea, and he wrote about it in his essay “A Nice Cup of Tea”:

“The milk ought to be fresh, but that is not always easy to arrange in a foreign country. The tea should be made in small quantities – as much as you need for one cup only. Into this pour first the milk and then the tea, so that by the time it reaches your cup the infusion is about right. After stirring, let it stand for two minutes so that the grounds settle before decanting into another cup.”

As you can see, Orwell had strong opinions on how builders tea should be made! He believed that milk should be added first, in order to create the perfect balance of tea and milk. He also thought that builders tea should be made in small batches, so that it would be fresh and flavourful.

Finally, he advised letting the tea infusion sit for a few minutes before decanting it into a cup, so that the grounds would settle.

While Orwell’s methods may not be everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended), his essay provides a fascinating insight into the mind of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated writers. And who knows?

Maybe his advice on making builders tea is worth following after all!

Do you find yourself agreeing with the Orwellian view of what is Builder’s Tea? Perhaps you’re instead scoffing at the computer screen? The bottom line is that a Builder’s Tea can be whatever you want it to be; the term is particularly colloquial and open to interpretation.

Nevertheless, here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we have ideas of our own. Here are some of our recommended beverages to call “Builder’s Tea”. Each one is a Black Tea with strong flavour notes.

While builders tea is a delicious and refreshing beverage, there are a few things to keep in mind when making it. First of all, be sure to use fresh, cold water when boiling the water for your tea. This will help to ensure that your tea turns out nice and flavourful.

Secondly, be sure to steep your tea for 3-5 minutes before adding milk or sugar. This will help to extract all of the flavours from the tea leaves. And finally, remember that builders tea is best enjoyed fresh – so make sure to drink it soon after it’s been made!

English Breakfast BOP

1. English Breakfast Tea BOP

This is a popular blend of Assam and Ceylon BOP Teas. The term “BOP” stands for “Broken Orange Pekoe”. This refers to the Tea leaves, which have been quite literally broken into smaller pieces. When brewed, BOP Teas like this one boast a strong character in cup, particularly when compared to FOP (Flowery Orange Pekoe) Teas, which are slightly subtler.

The tasting notes of this particular beverage consist of bold malty overtones and sweet undertones. Adding milk or indeed sugar can add even more flavour, although some choose to serve this brew black. That choice is, of course, yours. And whatever you decide, you’ve decided well with our English Breakfast BOP Tea, a great Builder’s Tea.

Kenyan Tea

2. Kenyan Tea

Did you know that the UK imports over 50% of its Tea from Kenya? This is because Teas grown in Kenya, a country located in East Africa, have characteristics much sought-after by the British! Whether you’re a construction worker, an office manager or a marine biologist, our Kenyan Tea has something for everyone. Why not choose this beverage as your Builder’s Tea today?

This, our ‘House’ Kenya Tea, is of a single estate origin with ties to The Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings Ltd. (KTDA). This ensures its quality and consistency with every cuppa brewed. It boasts a beautiful golden liquor and a powerful malty flavour with distinct sweet notes. Start your working day the right way with this delectable infusion.

Pluckley Tea

3. Pluckley Tea

This is our flagship Tea, a beverage like no other. We named it “Pluckley” after our home village, nestled within the captivating vistas of the Kentish countryside. It is a blend of Assam and Kenya Tea, and suits the palates of thousands around the world.

It has a refined malty taste with earthy undertones and also contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When it comes to choosing a new Builder’s Tea, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better brew.

The story of Pluckley Tea is our story. The Smith Family lived in Assam, India, until the 1970s. When they returned to the UK in 1982, they established The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, with this particular beverage leading the way.

The business started from their family home where Richard and Janet hand-packed Builders Tea Bags from chests of ten thousand. Today, it remains one of our most popular products, especially for making Builder’s Tea!

Heritage Hard Water Tea

4. Heritage Hard Water Tea

This is a blend of notably strong Black Teas created for, as the name suggests, brewing a cuppa in hard water areas. Hard water can affect the taste of Tea dramatically, yet this infusion, containing a mixture of Assam, Kenya and Rwanda Teas, ensures great taste every time. The fact that it’s a BOP, meanwhile, likewise ensures that its great taste is also bold and very much a strong cup of tea.

Indeed, when brewing Heritage Hard Water Tea, expect a deep and comforting cup of Tea from start to finish. Enjoy malty notes with every sip, followed by an extraordinary flavoursome aftertaste.

You shouldn’t have to settle for second best when it comes to your morning beverage, after all. And now, you don’t have to. Whether you live in a hard water area or not, this is an excellent choice.

Conclusion of What is a Builders Tea

So, there you have it! We hope this article has helped to explain what a Builder’s Tea is. builders tea is a type of tea that is usually bolder and stronger in taste. It is often made with broken orange pekoe leaves, which give it its distinct flavour. Kenyan and Pluckley teas are also popular types of builders tea. Whichever type of builders tea you choose, we hope you enjoy it!

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.