British Survey Looks at Brewing Tea Bags, Non-Dairy Milk Options

A new survey found that 65 percent of Brits prefer their tea without sugar. A deeper analysis of the data shows that younger generations are more likely to have a sweet brew, Gen Zers usually add two teaspoons and Millennials go for three. (Photo By: Jag_cz / Bigstock.com)

Lockdown has seen tea sales surge by 65 percent year over year, comparing figures from 2019 to 2020, says The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company in the U.K., an importer, packer and wholesaler that offers 1,000+ products, including loose leaf teas and tea bags. The company notes that there has also been a huge interest in how British make tea, after an American woman shared her questionable “tea brewing method” video on TikTok.

As a result, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company conducted a survey to conclude once and for all how to make the perfect cup of British tea with tea bags. The study also lent a keen eye on plant-based milks and their consumption patterns around the U.K.

The survey revealed that 30 percent of Brits disagree on the following brewing method: tea bag goes in first, boiling water is second and the milk is the final step. But the majority (96 percent) agreed that microwaving the water is wrong.

According to the survey, the top brewing techniques for Brits are:

1. Tea bag, water, milk: 70.4 percent

2. Water, tea bag, milk: 12.5 percent

3. Tea bag, milk, water: 6.8 percent

Milk Options
According to the survey, 12 percent of Gen Zers in the U.K have their tea with plant-based milk. English vegans opt for oat milk, and Scottish vegans and British Pensioners prefer hemp milk. Northern Irish and Welsh vegans love coconut milk the most with their tea.

The survey also shows that vegan milk is becoming more popular amongst tea drinkers, as 7.3 percent polled prefer to have their cup of tea with plant-based milk. However, it should be noted that the majority (75 percent) of Brits still prefer their cuppa with cow’s milk.

Of those having tea with non-dairy milk, 44 percent prefer oat milk, and 20 percent opt for almond and hemp milk, with 15 percent choosing coconut milk.

Plant-based milk preference by gender: A total of 56.6 percent of males and 45.4 percent of females prefer almond milk. 67 percent of males and 33 percent of females prefer coconut milk. Also, 74.2 percent of males and 25.8 percent of females prefer hemp milk, while 37.3 percent of males and 62.7 percent of females pick oat milk.

The study also shows that the U.K. is divided by its non-dairy milk choices. Scottish prefer hemp milk, English go with Oat and Northern Irish and Welsh go nutty for coconut.

Plant-based milk choice breakdown by country:

Image By: The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company


Hemp milk triumphs amongst the pensioners. Coconut flavor is favored by those between 45 and 64 years old, and younger generations prefer the trendy almond and oat milk with their tea.

Plant based milk preferences by age:

Data By: The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

So, who is adding the milk first? The research found that more than 76 percent of people that add the milk first are men. 71 percent of men also opt to microwave the water rather than boiling the water in a kettle.

Millennials are also committing brewing sins, according to the survey, as half of the people who are adding the tea bag last and microwaving the water are between 25 and 44 years old.

The survey found out that 65 percent of Brits prefer their tea without sugar. A deeper analysis of the data shows that younger generations are more likely to have a sweet brew, Gen Zers usually add two teaspoons and Millennials go for three. Meanwhile, the majority of people over 45 years old do not add sugar to their tea.

Also of note: The Northern Irish are the most addicted in the U.K. with the majority of respondents having more than five cups of tea per day. Welsh follow in second place with three to five daily cups. The English and Scottish share the same levels of tea consumption per day at between one to two cups.

Popular Tea Brands in the U.K.
Finally, the survey gives insights into another great debate centered around tea habits: Which is the favorite tea brand in Britian? The data shows there is a tough rivalry between two brands: Yorkshire favorited by 26.2 percent and PG Tips by 26.1 percent.

Most popular tea brands in the U.K. include:

1. Yorkshire – 26.2 percent

2. PG Tips – 26.1 percent

3. Tetley – 13.2 percent

4. Twinings – 7.2 percent

Image By: The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company


To gather this intel, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company collected data via the Google Survey platform and conducted the study Feb. 9-12, 2021. They analyzed U.K. audiences’ tea consumption habits by posing questions to users that cover brewing techniques, milk and sugar preferences, daily tea intake and brand choices. Data points were then averaged and grouped by age group, gender and country.

To learn more about The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, visit Tea-and-Coffee.com.