In the UK, you’ll hear the word ‘tea’ used for several things. There’s afternoon tea and cream tea, then a cup of tea and high tea (or just ‘tea’.)
What is afternoon tea?
Still today, the formal afternoon tea is special and very much an occasion. Sandwiches and cakes line the table, and a pretty teapot takes pride of place in the middle of the table.
Have a cuppa
If there’s one thing the Brits and the Chinese can agree on that’s “A day without tea is a day without joy.” And while you can’t—unfortunately—have afternoon tea every day, every day can be a tea day.
Those 60 billion cups of tea a year happen in every household across the country. Whatever the question, tea is the answer.
When you ask people if they’d like a cuppa, your next question is simply: “Milk? Sugar?” and the answers will flood in: “Just a splash” means only a little bit of milk and “I like mine milky” means they want quite a lot. “Just one” is one spoonful of sugar—and some people ask for three or more spoonfuls of sugar. Most people, though, just have “Milk, no sugar,” which makes things easy.
To create the perfect cuppa experience, buy some biscuits to ‘dunk’ in your tea. One study claims Bourbons are the best for dunking, but there are many biscuits to try when you study in the UK.
. . . and ‘tea’
You may also hear people take about ‘eating tea,’ which will probably be very confusing. Many families call their evening meal ‘tea.’
Over the decades, the evening meal became a hot meal, but many working families still called it tea. So if someone asks you to ‘come to tea,’ it will probably include a meal, not just a cuppa.