Whether they take it take tea with milk, sugar, lemon or just plain, it’s clear that the British love the taste of it. Britons consume 60 billion cups per year, which is more than 900 cups a year for every man, woman, and child in Great Britain!
Tea’s flavor is affected by how it is grown, processed, and brewed – beginning with the light. Tea bushes are grown in terraces all over the tropics and subtropics.
It’s not clear whether tea drinking has any health benefits. It appears that molecules found in tea can protect cells from some kinds of damage, but despite a lot of research, there is no clear evidence on whether tea-drinking provides benefits beyond warm hands and an alert mind.
In Britain, tea divides classes. The working class typically enjoys the strongest brews of black tea. The mixture gets progressively weaker as one goes up the social ladder.
Milk and sweetener have their own codes. Taking sugar in your tea is regarded by many as a lower-class indicator: even one spoonful is a bit of a suspect; more than one and you are lower-middle at best; more than two and you are definitely working class.
Alongside its chemical properties, tea is an excellent social space-filler, and that is why whenever the English feel awkward or uncomfortable in a social situation (that is, almost all the time), they make tea.