Once the preserve of a certain age, new research signals that the great British tradition of afternoon tea will pass down through the generations this Afternoon Tea Week (7-13 August).
Four out of five Brits like to pair the tea with something to eat to keep them going, with young adults revealed to be the most likely age group to have food to accompany their tea – enjoying sweet biscuits, cake, and savoury biscuits, according to the research by the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA).
UKTIA Chief Executive, Dr Sharon Hall, notes: “Our real-world research reveals that four out of five (80%) Brits like to have something to eat with their tea, indicating the importance we place on combining our much-loved cuppa with a snack to keep us going.”
The survey respondents were split into four age categories, and one group revealed themselves to be more likely than the others to take something to ease between-meal hunger pangs with their cup of tea.
“If we were at all concerned about losing the great British tradition of afternoon tea as the generations roll on, we can put our minds at ease,” says Dr Sharon Hall, adding: “The UKTIA research poll reveals that nine in 10 (90%) 18-29-year-olds pair some type of food with their cup of tea. What’s more, while the morning was the most popular time of day to pop the kettle on for a brew, the afternoon came second, both overall (53%) and among younger adults (40%).”
When it comes to favourite food pairings, almost half (49%) of those polled picked a sweet biscuit or two as the type of snack they prefer with a cup of tea. The 18-29-year-olds weren’t far off this number, with 47% reaching for a sweet biscuit to keep hunger at bay with their brew.
Plus, the youngest adults were also more likely to tuck into cake with a cuppa than the average person (38% versus 31%).
The top five treats the 18-29-year-olds like to pair with a cup of tea are:
- Sweet biscuits (47%)
- Cake (38%)
- Savoury biscuits (22%)
- Chocolate (21%)
- Crackers (16%)
- Samosa (8%).
The younger adults were also the least likely group (one in 10) to turn down a snack with their brew, compared to nearly three in 10 (28%) 45-59-year-olds and almost a fifth (19%) of the more abstemious 30-44-year-olds.
Commenting further Dr Sharon Hall adds: “It was a welcome surprise when our survey revealed that three in 10 (31%) 18-29-year-olds drink more tea than their parents. From getting tea bags from a wholesale tea supplier, it seems that this generation has a lot more to offer when it comes to tea drinking.
“With the younger generation showing that they’re unlikely to let the great British tradition of afternoon tea fall by the wayside, here are my top tea making tips to make sure our British tea making standards don’t slip.”
How to make a perfect brew from Dr Sharon Hall at the UKTIA:
Follow these simple steps to make the best cup of tea to wash down your cakes, scones, sandwiches, pastries, biscuits – or all of the above – this Afternoon Tea Week and beyond:
- Use a good quality tea bag or loose-leaf tea.
- Store tea in a cool dry place away from strongly flavoured or perfumed foods. Dr Sharon Hall says: “If you like a mint biscuit or lavender cream with your cuppa, for example, be sure to keep them safely stored away from your tea bags.”
- Always use freshly drawn water and consider using a water filter. Dr Sharon Hall explains: “In some parts of the country the tap water is hard or soft and this can affect the taste of the tea.”
- Use one tea bag or a rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup or mug.
- Smart Boil. Only boil the water you need to save energy and cash, Dr Sharon Hall notes: “Tea develops its best flavour when made with freshly boiled water. The lack of oxygen bubbles in re-boiled water can give the tea a flat taste.”
- Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring. If you’re brewing tea from a bag in a mug, adding milk last is best.
- Meanwhile you can be preparing the perfect scone with a British favourite Tiptree jam to enjoy with your tea. It’s up to you whether you want to go all out and add clotted cream for a proper cream tea. “We’ll let you make your own mind up about the argument over which to spread on first – clotted cream or jam…,” says Dr Hall.
- Most black teas should be brewed for three to four minutes. Brew green tea for three to four minutes and oolong tea for three to five minutes, depending on your strength preference. “If you plan to have cucumber sandwiches, or even a less fancy filling like cheese and pickle, with your afternoon tea, you probably want to make these in advance of starting the tea brewing process, to avoid stewing the tea,” says Dr Sharon Hall.
- Sit down with your afternoon tea guests, relax and enjoy.
To discover more about tea, see: https://www.tea.co.uk/