Have the British turned from tea to coffee?

tea cup

The Guardian is pondering why and when the British turned their preferences from tea to coffee. According to their article No time for tea? How Britain became a nation of coffee drinkers:

“Research by the Grocer shows that volume sales of shop tea are down by 6% in the past 12 months, while supermarket Nescafé sales have increased by 6.3%. Every year, home coffee systems such as Nespresso gain more willing disciples. We are in danger of becoming a nation of coffee drinkers.” Somehow they blame it on a habit of buying sweetened, milky coffee when out of the home, “Our coffee habits have been shaped by the pints of cappuccino and calorie-dense gingerbread-flavoured cream-topped nonsense peddled by the big coffee chains.”

But there does appear to be hope – the tea companies are striking back. According to a representative from Taylors of Harrogate, while “standard black tea market is in decline…[and] We’re moving more towards a cafe culture, … I don’t think that coffee is necessarily affecting the market to the detriment of tea – people are just buying different types of tea. The standard black tea market is in decline mainly because people are putting different things, like green and herbal tea, into their baskets. Tea companies are increasing their offerings left, right and centre – they’re looking to widen their nets.”

Of course, there could be an argument whether green and herbal teas are truly traditional English tea – but we’ll leave that for another time.


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  • ellabee  on  December 30, 2013

    More coffee (or tea) for the headline writer!

  • debkellie  on  December 30, 2013

    maybe writing too late at night after one too many fruit mince pies?

  • fiona  on  December 30, 2013

    Oops now fixed.

  • ellabee  on  December 30, 2013

    It's one thing to drink less tea, or different teas — but the increase in Nescafe is saddening (if it's the same product as in the US: instant coffee. Bleah!)

  • sir_ken_g  on  December 30, 2013

    Years ago the Brits – with some of the best beer in the world – took up Bud Lite. I wanted to throw myself in their path to save them.

    English Breakfast tea fresh and properly prepared is awesome.

    The decline of the Empire continues. ;(

  • Cookingdiamond  on  January 5, 2014

    I agree sir Ken…..it would appear that us Brits are like sheep! following the American way regardless. Don,t get me wrong, their culture has so much to offer that is good and great. Sadly we seem determined to throw away everything that is unique and wonderful about our own individuality and culture.xxx

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