The British consume 60 billion cups of tea per year, according to the Tea and Infusions Organisation. That’s more than 900 cups a year for every man, woman and child in Great Britain.
There’s no denying that drinking tea is considered one of Britain’s favourite past-times, but its rituals have divided tea lovers for centuries.
But now it appears that the age-old question has been answered: Should milk go in a cup of tea first or last?
The most controversial issue has been when to add milk, but a poll published recently reveals that four times more Britons believe that it should be poured in at the end, rather than the beginning.
The YouGov Omnibus survey found that 79 per cent favoured adding milk last, with 20 per cent disagreeing.
The split was even more distinct across the generations, with 96 per cent of 18-24 year-olds believing it should be added first, compared to 32 per cent of over 65-year-olds.
An interesting reference to this conflict was made by author George Orwell in his 1946 essay A Nice Cup of Tea, where he wrote “indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject”.
It is believed that the issue had social class connotations where the upper-class are more likely to show off their expensive china cups by adding boiling water first. If cheaper cups were used then it would have shattered easily.
But the latest poll indicates no preference according to class, with the middle and working classes both equally likely to add their milk in first.