The traditional English cup of tea, once considered a necessary luxury, is undergoing its biggest change since tea was first advertised for sale in London in 1657.
British tea consumption has fallen from 2.5 ounces per person per week to less than an ounce. That means Britons are drinking on average just 8 cups of tea a week today, down from 23 in 1974. This monument change in drinking habits is revealed in the latest National Food Survey.
The London Telegraph suggests that tea is often linked to sweets, biscuits and cakes, which have also fallen out of favor as new data show British consumers have tried to move away from sugar and bread toward healthier trends.
Another factor leading to the decline of the British tea tradition includes the rising popularity of coffee shops.
I recall seeing coffee shops popping up on every London street corner during the late 1990s. The eventual arrival of Starbucks threw the coffee culture into a boil that had not been seen since the 1600s when as many as 2000 coffee houses were found throughout the London area.
I wrote a Fresh Cup magazine article a dozen years ago that suggested the UK needed to “blow the dust of their tea image.” As a new millennium dawned, America was entering a tea Renaissance while Great Britain was staring at an impending Dark Ages of tea.
Is it time to blow the dust off the image of traditional British Tea?