What is Builder’s Tea? This is a question long asked by our customers because, put simply, there is a multitude of definitions. In many ways, it depends on perspective.

In this article, we will look at some of these definitions associated with Builder’s Tea while exploring our wide range of choice here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company.

What is Builder’s Tea?

What is Builder’s Tea?

While the consensus is that Builder’s Tea is Black Tea, what ‘kind’ differs from person to person. Some say Ceylon Tea; others say Assam, Kenya, China or a blend of Teas like English Breakfast Tea. The possibilities are nearly endless!

Regardless of the type of Black Tea, most agree that a Builder’s Tea must be strong and ‘hearty’. Traditionally, it’s the brew of choice for construction workers and tradesmen like electricians, welders, plumbers and, of course, builders. That’s not to say, however, that everyone can’t enjoy it.

More to the point, it’s a common stereotype that such construction workers and tradesmen enjoy a ‘cuppa’ throughout the working day, perhaps with “milk and two sugars”, as the saying goes. This is arguably most prevalent in Great Britain and Ireland, although countries like Australia, New Zealand and even the United States have variations.

George Orwell and Tea

George Orwell and Builder’s Tea

With so many different specifications, depending on who you are and where you come from, can we really agree on what is Builder’s Tea? We’re all entitled to our opinion, after all, including the late, great George Orwell (1903-1950).

George Orwell was an English writer famous for works such as Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). In the January 12, 1946, edition of the Evening Standard, however, he took a break from writing fiction and instead had an article published entitled “A Nice Cup of Tea”.

So, what do we need to do to make an Orwellian cup of Tea? Suffice to say, his musings sound very much like common definitions of Builder’s Tea:

“First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese Tea. I maintain that one strong cup of Tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true Tea lovers not only like their Tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes. Some people add that one should only use freshly boiled water. After making it, one should stir it, allowing the Tea leaves to settle.”

This is a very compelling argument for what is Builder’s Tea. What’s most compelling, however, is Orwell’s view on the age-old question: milk or Tea first?

“One should pour Tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable.”

I guess that settles it, right?

Recommended Builder’s Teas

Recommended Builder’s Teas

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 well suited to adding milk and sugar:

English Breakfast BOP

English Breakfast 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.

Kenya Tea

Kenya 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 Kenya 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

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 Pluckley 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

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.

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.

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