The British Prefer to Put Milk in Tea Last. You Know, the Proper Way

By Tom Pritchard on at

Tea is one of those things that's quintessentially associated with Britain and the British, even though it comes from India, China, and other far away parts of the world. It's the ultimate act of cultural appropriation, really, but it's been around for so long that nobody seems to care anymore. YouGov being YouGov has finally got round to asking people how they take it, and it turns out there's an obvious solution to the conundrum of when the milk should go in.

As it turns out it's not much of a condundrum at all. The British are very much in favour of putting the milk in last, with a mere 20 per cent of people doing it wrong. After all it's easier to dilute the strength of the tea when it's already in the cup. It's not a generational thing either. While the older generations tend to be more in favour of putting the milk in first than the yoofs, the overwhelming majority still do things properly.

YouGov points out that the story is milk going first is a result of class differences, because cheap china couldn't handle boiling water and needed milk to help immediately cool it off. Despite this tale, the study found there were no significant indicators of class divide in the results. In fact both the working and middle classes are equally likely to pick either option.

As for the strength of tea, it seems most people stick to the meme-sphere and take their tea the colour of He Man. When offered YouGov's A-H colour categorisation, 47 per cent of people opted for He Man-coloured E. Second place is the slightly stronger and darker D, and in third is the 'builder's tea' F. Only one per cent of people like their tea to be slightly caffeinated milk.

And being the tea drinkers that we are, the British obviously have a preference when it comes to brand. Surprising literally no one, the most popular kind of regular tea is Yorkshire Tea, followed by PG Tips , then Tetley. Unsurprisingly posh Stephen Fry-supported brand Twinnings only got six per cent of the vote.

YouGov also worked out the popularity of tea, with 58 per cent of respondents saying they drank it on a daily basis. 11 per cent say they have more than five cups a day, 19 per cent drink it less than once a day, while 22 per cent abstain from it completely.

You can see the report at the source link, and all the collected data here. [YouGov]