Britishness isn’t very complex. The Twittersphere likes to play like it’s very exclusionary and nuanced state of being but, like most embodiments, it can be reduced into primary fundamentals. Namely: Misappropriated politeness, indifference to most things and tea. However, the latter portion of this stereotype is at risk.
According to the Independent, between the mid-1970s and the 1980s, tea consumption fell by a fifth in the UK. As the coffee empire nestled into the country’s chest and decided “Yes, this will do”, coffee’s popularity overtook tea by 1986.
This diminishing trend didn’t ever stop and might even suggest the death of tea!
Back in the 70s, tea consumption per person was about 68 grams per week and is now less than 25 grams! Our standards are really slipping and who is to blame? Well, like most problems, everyone is blaming the millennial. Damn the millennials!
Research shows that young people don’t want a mug of lukewarm leaf-water, they want to try new things and explore new flavours. Young people are always the first to back healthy alternatives which explains the rise of fruit teas; green tea, for example, has seen a 39% rise in the last two years.
Food futurologist (best job title ever) Morgaine Gaye argues that the death of tea is because young people look at a cuppa as symbolic of something from the past. Food is “about aspiration”, apparently, “showing how healthy, attuned and cool you are”.
“A cup of English breakfast tea is only cool when you are slumming it. You might have a cup at your mum’s, but not when you are out or in a cafe because it doesn’t say anything”.
Morgaine seems to be overestimating how much young people think about their drink choices. We’re an over-analytical bunch but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
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At the end of the day, a fruity tea is delicious and a builder’s tea from Starbucks tastes like brown trash water.
Tea is dead. Long live tea.