Spot of Tea

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Stereotyped? Tea.

That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything. You're a bit cold? Tea. Your boyfriend has just left you? Tea. You've just been told you've got cancer? Tea. Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt? TEA DAMMIT!

LiveJournal user jslayeruk

Tea. Today, it is one of the most, if not the most, popular drink in the UK, and this has obviously not been lost on TV writers. To an American, it may seem like massive quantities of tea are consumed in the average British Series. In fact, the number of cups of tea drunk is often quite normal in Britain, though even the Brits can exaggerate.

Whenever a British character appears in an American series, they will invariably a) drink tea, and b) describe at great length how wonderful it is compared to coffee - that is, if the character has heard of coffee before coming to the United States. In fact, the mere act of drinking tea automatically marks one as British.

However, these characters typically drink tea from an ornate china set, whereas in Real Life, such things are reserved for special occasions. In fact, there's a dying tradition of keeping a set of "best china" that's never to be used unless the Queen should suddenly turn up for a visit.

The great British author George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four, Homage to Catalonia) was an avid tea drinker, even going so far as to write an article on how to make "A Nice Cup Of Tea"; Douglas Adams also wrote one. In general, the typical British attitude to tea is nicely summed up here.

Compare with Must Have Caffeine. See Tea and Tea Culture for info about tea and the world's Real Life tea drinking habits, including proof that the British love for tea is Freakier Than Fiction.

Examples of Spot of Tea include:


  • Quintessential Englishman Stephen Fry brings his sheer... Stephen Fryness... to Twinings advertisments, which is often sent up on QI.
  • Johnny Vegas and his woolly monkey (previously the mascots for the failed ITV Digital service) show how most British people drink tea – i.e. without pomp and ceremony – in commercials for PG Tips teabags.
    • The same company's older adverts used a family of chimpanzees (using actual trained chimps dressed in clothes) from 1956 onwards, in the longest-running advertising campaign in history, lasting until the late '90s.
  • The other major "everyday" brand of British tea is Tetley. Who recently resurrected their "Tetley Tea Folk" advertising campaign, another good example (albeit in animated form).
  • Snapple began making cold Earl Grey Tea and ran this commercial to connect their tea to Queen and Country "like it bloody well should be."
  • There's a bingo advert (can't remember which bingo website, though) that features the patron visiting the winners. Cue montage of doorbell->tea->doorbell->tea->...

Anime and Manga

  • Negi Springfield of Mahou Sensei Negima naturally likes tea, being Welsh and everything. He likes it so much that he and Fate almost came to blows over how tea ought to be served, with Fate calling Negi "A Tasteless Englishman".
    • Fate later has a tea party. In the middle of a high-stakes battle. He warps reality so that Jack Rakan joins him. One minute Rakan is topless and punching, the next, he's holding a hot cuppa and wearing white formalwear.
    • Evangeline is (probably) British,[1] and one of two members of the Tea Ceremony Society (the other being Chachamaru.)
      • By her clan name Evangeline would be a Scot from the area now known as Dumfries, interestingly she would also have been born well before the popularising of tea. I suppose it still got her in the end.
  • Lindy Harlaown of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha loves her tea, and has the quirk of drinking her Japanese green tea British style (adding two lumps of sugar and milk to it).
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, tea is one the very few foodstuffs that England doesn't screw up.
  • Subverted by the Britannian Beurling of Strike Witches, who prefers coffee to tea because of its stronger taste.
    • But then played straight by Britannian Lynette Bishop, who offers tea almost every other episode, usually before they're about to go on a sortie.
  • While she is not a Brit, Mint Aizawa of Tokyo Mew Mew is also fond of her tea. In fact she is so fond of it that she drinks it at the same time every day. Also fitting in with her massive wealth and personality, even after she joins the team and shows up to work early every day (or so she says) the only thing she's ever seen doing is DRINKING TEA!!! IN THE WORKPLACE!! WHERE SHE SHOULD BE WORKING!!
  • In Tenchi Muyo! it's stated that Tenchi prefers tea over coffee. In Tenchi in Tokyo he's often seen drinking tea when his classmates order coffee.
  • In the Read or Die OVA, the preparations for the British Library's "Operation Exterminate All I-Jin" cannot be complete until The Joker and his staff have been brought their tea. He and Gentleman are frequently seen drinking it throughout the series. This borders on Unfortunate Implications.
  • In Kurogane Pukapuka Tai, the first thing we see of the HMS Cutlass is a cup of tea; on the next page, the characters of Captain Ann and Commander Mary are established through their tea-drinking. Captain Ann grasps her teacup firmly in her fist, showing her earthy, aggressive nature, while prissy, ladylike Commander Mary grasps her cup daintily in her fingertips, pinky finger raised high. And then tea spills, nakedness ensues, and sex follows—it's That Kind Of Series.
  • Black Butler is set in England, so you expect it. Unfortunately, Ciel's love of sweet demands that his butler stave off a diabetic coma in some cases, with tea. EVERY MEAL has tea. Even when his host, his family, and Sebastian were drinking wine, guess what Ciel was drinking?
  • Pandora Hearts is...Europeanish. Sharon and Break are often seen having tea and sweets. Sharon, in particular, is often shown drinking tea. Break is eating the sweets. Everyone's sweets.
  • In Bleach, when Ichigo and his friends break into Hueco Mundo, Aizen says to the Espada:

"Good morning. We are under attack, but first...we will make some tea."

  • In Death Note, L's tea habit and frequently elaborate tea sets make a lot more sense when you realise that, regardless of his real nationality, the extent of his time at Wammy's House or the number of years he really lived in England, he's been kept by the definitely-English Watari since he was very small.
  • In Monster, Reichwein - conscious that Roberto is about to kill him - offers him tea and begins boiling water. The tea never ends up being made, but the boiling water on Roberto's face is a bonafide Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Shows up among all the Food Porn in Gankutsuou from time to time.
  • Just about every episode in Victorian Romance Emma features the main character (she's a maid) making tea or people sitting down to have tea.
  • Rozen Maiden: Each and every episode Shinku demands that Jun make her tea. She does this so often that she is referred to as "Tea Bitch" by The Imageboard That Must Not Be Named.
  • When the embodiment of the Gate to Heaven (looking like a early-teens girl) showed up in Ah! My Goddess!, she asked to try tea. Unfortunately, she'd heard about adding milk and sugar but not that it wasn't appropriate with Japanese green tea, and she insisted on having it that way despite Belldandy trying to warn her. Her facial expression on tasting it ranks among the funniest in the series.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, both the Ushiromiya family and the witches really like their tea, and the things that happen in the 'tea party' segment of each Episode are often very important to the plot.
  • Oddly, completely averted in Hellsing. Despite the painstakingly detailed British setting there isn't a cup of tea to be seen - even in a scene taking place at a cafe the characters don't drink or eat a thing.
  • Excel Saga: In the anime Pedro and Gomez sustain a round of quips while drinking tea, until Iz-chan admonishes them to begin actually fighting.
  • Oriko Magica: A witch appears at Oriko's house. What does she do? Make tea while Kirika fights it.
  • If you ask the Light Music Club in K-On!, tea is the answer to all life's problems. Well, tea and cake.
  • In Girls und Panzer, the "more British than the British" girls from St. Gloriana drink tea. From china cups. In the middle of tank battles. They also give gifts of tea to people they think of as Worthy Opponents.

Comic Books

  • Asterix In Britain reveals that tea was actually brought to the British Isles in 50 BC, by Asterix. Before that, the Britons are shown interrupting their battles to take their customary mid-afternoon hot water break (with milk and sugar). Asterix used tea as Bottled Heroic Resolve when he couldn't supply the Britons with genuine magic potion, and Chief Mykingdomforanos had it declared the national drink.
  • The Affably Evil Devil in Shade the Changing Man always drinking tea while smoking his pipe, and offered Shade some (with no other consequence.) After their deal went sour and Shade removed the source of his power, Shade punished him by banishing him to part of the Area of Madness where they only drank strong black coffee.
  • During the Cobra Civil War in the Marvel G.I. Joe comics, Destro's Iron Grenadiers arrived on Cobra Island, took over the airfield... and promptly broke for lunch and tea. They actually stayed out of the conflict until the end, as all Destro wanted was the Baroness.

Fan Works

  • In Winter War, an obsession with tea is one of the few things that Aizen shares with La Résistance against him. The latter always serve it at their meetings, and Isane even takes the time before a battle to brew one last pot of tea. While in Karakura on the Resistance's business, Lt. Hinamori also makes a point of getting some Earl Gray tea for Lt. Sasakibe, since it's his favorite and he hasn't been able to get any for some time because of the war.
  • In Bert van Vliet's The Bubblegum Zone, his self-insert character drinks tea steeped to the strength of coffee, several pots' worth a day.
  • Final Stand of Death has Hawk drinking some tea while watching a Bar Brawl, with Brandy, Monica, and that alien, Zatar, with her and crew.
  • Douglas Sangnoir of Drunkard's Walk seems to prefer tea to coffee in almost all situations.


  • Despite the title, the anthology film Coffee and Cigarettes has Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina (fail to) bond over a pot of tea.
  • A Bridge Too Far (based on Real Life anecdotes from the Arnhem landings, see below)

Corporal Hancock: Sir.
[Offers mug of tea]
Major General Urquhart: Hancock. I've got lunatics laughing at me from the woods. My original plan has been scuppered now that the jeeps haven't arrived. My communications are completely broken down. Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?
Corporal Hancock: Couldn't hurt, sir.
[Urquhart accepts his mug of tea]

  • In Dog Soldiers, after the soldiers have barricaded themselves into the farmhouse and fought off the pack of werewolves (for now), Coop orders one of the lads to put the kettle on. "We could all do with a brew."
  • In How I Won the War a British patrol crossing the North African desert stops for a brew-up. Their foppish lieutenant starts talking about how incredible it is that sand always ends up in one's cup—and the camera pans down the line of soldiers, each of whom dump another spoonful of sand into the lieutenant's cup before handing it to him.
  • In The Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair calls Her Majesty away from afternoon tea to serve her a hot dose of reality about the death of Princess Diana. Prince Philip proceeds to flip out at the impertinence--"Bloody fool! And now your tea's gone cold!"
  • In Time After Time, H.G. Wells time-travels to modern-day America. He eats at a McDonald's, parroting the incomprehensible order of the guy in front of him until, to his surprise and relief, he sees tea on the menu board.
  • Mary Poppins as the famous scene where Mary, Burt, Uncle Albert, and the children have a tea party on the ceiling. It came about because Mary was annoyed Uncle Albert's contagious levitating laughing disease might make them miss tea time, and thus just made the tea set and table float. You can't stop these people from enjoying tea!
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Eddie: The entire British Empire was built on cups of tea, and if you think I'm going to war without one you're mistaken!

  • In Snatch, villain Brick Top is an avid tea drinker, and frequently has cups delivered to him. When Turkish asks if he wants sugar, Brick Top quips, "No thanks, Turkish. I'm sweet enough!"
  • In Shaun of the Dead, Shaun and Ed's perfectly understandable reaction to encountering (and killing) zombies in their garden for the first time is to have a bit of a sit down and a cup of tea.
  • In Ice Cold in Alex the Mole is discovered due to their inability to make tea in the desert.
  • Similar to the Asterix example above, Carry On Cleo contains this line:

Mark Antony: You know I just don't get these Britons; everytime we get a good punch up going, someone behind the line yells "Tea's up!" and they all disappear!

  • In The Fellowship of the Ring, the hobbits (being essentially British everymen) drink tea when they can get away with it.
    • Bilbo offers Gandalf tea at his home, and brews it while they're catching up on news.
    • Later, the hobbits are following Strider into the wilderness and wonder if they're going to stop for a variety of snacks and meals, including afternoon tea.
      • Although afternoon tea is in reference to a meal.
    • In The Two Towers, when a gloom from Mordor blocks out the sun, Sam remarks "It must be getting near teatime ... leastways in decent places where there is teatime."
  • Notting Hill: "Have a cup of tea!" "I don't want a goddamn cup of tea."
  • Near the end of the film The Others, Ms Mills offers Grace a cup of tea after Grace has just realized that she murdered her own children and that the three of them are now ghosts. But tea will make her feel better!
  • In Cradle Of Fear, Melissa spends the day seeing demonic faces all over the streets. She visits her friend Nikki, and explains the story, who then offers her a cup of tea to calm down.

NSFW AT ALL, scene at 5:50 (seriously, clip starts with nudity)

  • The stokers and engineers on the Titanic in A Night to Remember are seen drinking one last cup of tea as they find out they need to remain below decks and help isn't coming.


  • A Nice Cup Of Tea by George Orwell, as mentioned in the article. He also mentions some Serious Business debates popular in England; tea in bag, in a sieve, or freely floating in the tea? Milk in tea or tea in milk? Sugar or no sugar?
  • Douglas Adams also rather liked tea. A Running Gag through all incarnations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is Arthur's inability to get anything resembling tea anywhere in the galaxy, no matter how carefully he describes it to the ship's onboard computer, getting something "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea".
    • Adams wrote instructions to Americans on how to make a proper pot of tea (explaining that most of the reason Americans don't like it is that they've never had decent stuff), and these appear in The Salmon Of Doubt.
    • The Infinite Improbability Drive was also created with a cup of tea.
    • Arthur did get a pot of "the best tea he'd ever tasted" in a silver teapot with a cup of fine bone china after he took quite some time telling the computer about what exactly he wanted. Unfortunately, the request put the computer offline for some time, just as a Vogon ship came passing by. The rest of the crew of the Heart of Gold were not amused and Ford sarcastically joked about whether Arthur was "dying" for a cup of tea.
  • Naturally, comes up a bit in the Harry Potter series. Most notably, the trio usually have tea when they visit Hagrid. Dumbledore's drink of choice, however, seems to be hot chocolate. The trio even drink tea more and more as they get older (when they're kids they drink pumpkin juice), and Professor Umbridge even attempts to feed Harry truth serum using tea. Harry winces at how much sugar Umbridge puts in her tea. Dudley at one point leaves a cup of tea for Harry as a peace offering. Harry and Cho go to a tea house on their first (only) date. Ron mentions that his mother offers to make tea when someone's upset. (She is shown later serving tea to an unhappy Tonks.) When it looks like Mrs. Weasley is about to become very angry, Harry suggests to his friends that maybe they should go out for tea.
    • Though Harry and Cho go to the tea house to drink coffee on their date.
  • In Neverwhere, "The first part of the Ordeal of the Key is the nice cup of tea." It's said that if you knew what the Ordeals consisted of, you'd want a good cup of tea inside you before facing them. When Richard emerges, he asks for the tea.
    • Like Adams and Orwell, Neil Gaiman also wrote an entry about making good cups of tea.
  • In Johnny and the Bomb There Are No Therapists for bombing survivors, but there is tea.
  • The most high-profile subversion of "the British drink tea" is James Bond, who (in the books) repeatedly states that he dislikes tea and prefers Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee (a high-quality coffee that he drinks when martinis are not available). At one point, he describes tea as "mud," and the narrative notes that "a cup of mud" became a common joke in the office cafeteria for a while thereafter. Bond has also said tea is the sole cause of everything wrong with the British Empire.
    • He has mentioned that he favors Yin Hao (the highest traditional grade of Jasmine Tea, which fits his character of preferring the finer things in life).
  • As a habit picked up from the Valhallans, Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) has developed a strong taste for tanna tea, and is often seen drinking it during meetings and when in his quarters. It is no surprise that the people recognize this habit of his and therefore bring tanna tea to meetings just because of this.
  • It isn't Camellia sinensis, but in C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner series the alien atevi drink a lot of different herbal infusions. Unfortunately, most if not all contain toxins which are fatal to humans.
  • In the Liaden Universe, Liadens usually drink tea, while Terrans prefer coffee.
  • Comes up in Discworld a few times, in particular Interesting Times with the Agatean (Fantasy Counterpart Culture of China and Japan) tea ceremony - "it takes three hours, but you can't hurry a good cuppa".
    • There's also a great exchange in Carpe Jugulum where Granny Weatherwax, having just been bitten by vampires, is (literally) tied to a bed and severely feverish. Hodgesaargh the falconer's optimistic response: "Best to face her with a cup of tea inside you, then." (He then uses Granny's fever to boil the tea.)
      • A cup of tea is also instrumental in defeating the book's vampires.
    • In Unseen Academicals, Juliet is apparently not very good at making tea (or at most housework in general, except standing around and looking pretty). "The tea was a brown color characteristic of tea, and usually the only tea-like characteristic of tea made by Juliet."
    • The Ankh-Morpork City Watch apparently favor a brew akin to British "builder's tea" (strong, cheap and in large quantities), and Sam is horrified when his wife, Lady Sybil, ignorantly but well-meaningly cleans out years of built-up residue from the Watch-house tea urn - apparently an act of sacrilege.
  • In Good Omens, Mr. Young, a quintessential mild-mannered middle-class Brit, is offered coffee by a nurse who has mistaken him for the American cultural attache. When he insists on tea instead, the nurse is impressed by the extent to which Mr. Young has "gone native."
  • Space Captain Smith and his crew are often found drinking tea. The second novel, God Emperor of Didcot elevates tea to Spice of Life status, being what gives the British Space Empire an edge over it's enemies by improving moral fibre.
  • Although he's Irish instead of British (close enough), Artemis Fowl likes his Earl Grey tea. And he's twelve when the series starts.
  • Tea is common in Derek Robinson's novels, only fitting since they're about British fighter pilots. What else would they drink? Besides gallons of Guiness, I mean. Tea is drunk before and after patrols and air battles, and the commandoes crossing the Sahara also stop for tea whenever they have to.
  • Judge Dee downs literally gallons of tea in the course of his cases. In fact he hits the teapot the way Sam Spade hits the bottle. This being Imperial China everybody else is equally addicted (except for his faithful Lieutenants Ma Joon and Chiao Tai who prefer 'the amber liquid' ie: wine). A cuppa is even offered to witnesses and criminals in court, to revive them after a round of beating or being overpowered by emotion.
  • Bertie Wooster can get pretty cranky if deprived of his tea, which he refers to as "the life-saving" or "the vital oolong".
    • The stereotype gets lampshaded in the story "The Aunt and the Sluggard" when Bertie, who's staying in New York, serves tea to his friend's visiting aunt. She's disgusted by it and can't comprehend his enthusiasm: "I don't understand a word you say. You're English, aren't you?"
  • Bravo Two Zero: Stuck behind enemy lines with no working radio with what looks like half the Iraqi army after you, in a freak snowstorm so cold Diesel starts to freeze, and you can’t possibly risk giving away your positions with a fire? Sod it: stick a brew on before you freeze to death.
  • Naturally, tea is quite important for Hobbits.

"It isn't time yet. It can't be tea-time even, leastways not in decent places where there is tea-time." Sam in The Return of the King.

    • Since Sam is a lower-class hobbit, it is probable that he is referring to high tea rather than the traditionally upper-class afternoon tea.
  • In The Hobbit, Bilbo offers his unexpected dwarf guests tea, only to find that they'd rather drink up all his wine instead.
  • Also important to the good creatures of Redwall, particularly the Big Eater hares. Technically it's peppermint tea, since they're in Medieval Stasis, but it's close enough. Basil Stag Hare actually disappears shortly before an important skirmish to set the tea brewing for when the captives are rescued, much to Matthias' annoyance.
    • It could be real tea anyway; the Redwallers have been seen to use potatoes, sugar, nutmeg, and a few other things that aren't native to medieval Europe.
  • Subverted in the Aubrey-Maturin series. Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin are both inveterate coffee drinkers, and Maturin goes so far as to describe tea as "that insipid wash."
  • It's impossible to mention Alice in Wonderland without mentioning the infamous Mad Tea Party chapter, which is about, well...
  • Amelia Peabody, being a British archaeologist in turn-of-the-century Egypt, quite frequently discusses the plot with other characters while passing out "the genial beverage," as she often calls tea (though sometimes, after tense moments, "the genial beverage" is whiskey and soda).
  • The very colonial Eugene in Purple Hibiscus drinks tea from a china tea set every day.
  • In Robert Westall's Sci-fi novel Futuretrack Five, making a perfect cup of tea from a bone china set without spilling a single tea leaf is part of the testing process for a senior position in the Technican career path.
  • In Katherine Mansfield's short story "A Cup of Tea," well-to-do housewife Rosemary, out to prove that she is not selfish or superficial, brings home a young woman in distressed circumstances, vowing to do more than just give her the requested title beverage, but transform her life. When Rosemary's husband returns home and notes that the girl is 'rather pretty', said young lady is quickly dispatched with a little money, and equilibrium seems to be restored.

Live-Action TV

  • Coronation Street naturally has this in spades arguably one of the the most common phrases uttered on the show (other than "a pint of bitter please" natch) is "I'll make tea then" Eileen Grimshaw practically uses this as her catchphrase.
  • Eastenders too. It's often offered when someone visits, when a character enters the kitchen in the morning, when someone's upset, when someone dies, when they're depressed...well all the time.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation - Captain Jean-Luc Picard likes his "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot". A strange choice considering he's French. But he is played by the most British actor in the world: Patrick Stewart. So...
    • Also possibly relevant: to explain away his very British accent, Patrick Stewart jokes that Picard was raised by a British nanny. This could also explain his liking for the stuff.
    • Funnily enough, in the finale he gets called out on his ordering style by Data's British maid. "Well of course it's hot! What do you want in it?"
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - English Doctor Julian Bashir also seems to be rather fond of the stuff, which he likes to have with scones and jam for breakfast. He also frequently orders Tarkalean tea from the Replimat. Unlike TNG, however, most characters drink a Klingon coffee drink called a raktajino.
    • In one episode, the Cardassian resident Garak had the audacity to criticize Earl Grey tea, saying "I'd like to meet that fellow Earl Grey and tell him a thing or two about tea leaves."
      • Cardassians seem to prefer red leaf tea and Cardassian characters are seen drinking it in different episodes.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Giles drinks tea, but lampshades this in one episode when another character asks him why he is drinking coffee if he is British. He replies "Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense."
    • Spike, snidely to Giles after a vicious fight with vampires: "Oh, poor Watcher, did your life flash before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea?" (Never mind Spike is English too.)
  • Wesley on Angel also likes his tea:

Cordelia: "I thought you were gonna be a man and talk to him about this!"
Wesley: "I was a man! I said... things."
Cordelia: "Like what?"
Wesley: "Like... did he prefer milk or sugar in his tea. (Pause) It's how men talk about things in England."

  • Anthony is forever being asked to "make a brew" in The Royle Family.
  • In an episode of M*A*S*H, Hawkeye gets upset that the British give their wounded tea...even when they have abdominal wounds, as this increases the chances of infection and death.
  • On Merlin, Merlin and Gaius drink tea, which many claimed was an anachronism; however, the word 'tea' can be applied to infusions which aren't made with tea leaves, so it's best to assume that what they're drinking is made with some other herb.
    • If they actually call it "tea" it is still an anachronism: we call those infusions "tea" now after the tea plant, rather than calling tea leaves that because they're used to make such infusions. Arguably acceptable as a Translation Convention, but for the record there is an English word (tisane) that more properly means "herbal infusion beverage of any source".
      • On the other hand, they also throw tomatoes at Merlin in the stocks. I don't think they are going for historical accuracy here...
  • As mentioned above, in Doctor Who the Doctor is revived from his post-regeneration coma by the mere smell of spilled tea. (Or possibly, the tea was being evaporated against a piece of hot metal in the TARDIS, and was being breathed into his lungs.)
    • Earlier in the same episode, Jackie decides that hiding in the TARDIS from the current alien invasion is an excellent time and place for a "nice cup of tea", prompting Rose to mutter sarcastically about tea being "the solution to everything".
    • When the Doctor was U.N.I.T.'s scientific advisor, the tea lady was the only person not on the Brigadier's personal personal staff with special dispensation to go near or enter the Doctor's laboratory unescorted.
    • Tea also gets an end-of-story thumbs-up from the 5th Doctor in The Awakening (see page quote, above)
    • In one of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels, there's a part where the TARDIS has been lost and the Doctor's companion Fitz is reminiscing about how they used to drink tea together when they did have the TARDIS. He goes on at quite some length about their little rituals and favorite types of tea. It's really quite sweet, not to mention the Ho Yay.
    • In another of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels, a planetoid has just been invaded by the Fifth Axis. The aliens are being deported or put in concentration camps. Some of the good guys seemed to have turned traitor. The main character's half-alien son is in hiding, and the planetoid's omniscient chess master, Braxiatel, is unable to figure out how this happened. So this conversation happens between them:

"Bernice," he said. "This can't be happening."
"No," she shook her head. "It's not."
"In that case," he said, gesturing to two armchairs. "Let's have tea."

    • In the newest series the British Army has a force of Daleks in World War II, and what use do they find for them? Serve the tea, of course (Alright, and to use as an unstoppable superweapon, which is almost as useful).
    • In "The Lodger", the Doctor proceeds to cure Craig of an alien poison with, you guessed it...
      • There's tea in it, but nobody in their right mind would ever call it tea.
    • Tea is even mentioned in the final lines of the series' original run:

The Doctor: "There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace — we’ve got work to do!"

  • Father Ted is a rare television example of the Irish fondness for tea, Ireland being the country with the third highest per capita consumption (after the UK and Turkey). Mrs Doyle has the famous catchphrase 'will you have a cup of tea father' and almost has a breakdown when Ted buys her a tea making machine.
    • That's not so much the tea itself as the making of the tea. Including but not limited to "sheep tea" (That is, tea made for sheep, not made from or using sheep) for the burping sheep who was living in the parish after being scared by stories of the Beast. Yep, it's that kind of show.
    • Her desire to make tea is often quite alarming. Once, someone politely declined another cup of tea and moved his hand over the top of the cup, and she proceded to pour fresh hot tea into it anyway... oh, and she stays up all night every night at the bottom of the stairs in case anyone happens to wake up and want tea.
  • Adelle DeWitt on Dollhouse, although she tends to drink green tea.
    • Although, she's just as if not more partial to vodka.
  • The UK car show Top Gear often shows its presenters making or having cups of tea, usually in bizarre situations for the sake of comedy.
      • For example, James and Richard drinking tea whilst treading water in the English Channel after their amphibious car had sunk.
  • James May, of Top Gear fame but co-presenting another show in which he joins Oz Clarke on a drinking holiday thinly disguised as a factual miniseries about wine in France, spends about 15 minutes of one episode looking for a British expat just to get his fix of a good cup of tea, and several minutes explaining exactly how to make it. Then in the followup series Drink To Britain, in which he and Oz search for the drink that stands for modern Britain, they conclude after a month of touring Britain and liberally sampling everything alcoholic it has to offer, that the drink is in fact... tea.
  • Magnus of Sanctuary refuses to drink coffee, it's how she solves one of their cases.

Magnus: I have standards, Will, and drinking coffee? Far below them.

  • The Prisoner demonstrates the proper way to make tea as an excuse to empty his drugged cup, and slip drugs to the person trying to drug him.
  • Dead Like Me has a scene where British expat Mason goes to great lengths to mooch off a dead old lady's tea while he's supposed to be reaping her soul.
  • On Heroes Noah Bennet is trying to get information out of an English guy named Edgar. When he tries the Good Cop routine, he asks Edgar if he'd like some tea, then immediately remarks that, Edgar being English, there was really no need to ask.
  • In Being Human (UK), it is mentioned that Annie has an annoying habit of fixing tea purely out of habit - she can't drink it so cups of the stuff are just left sitting around, so George can never find any empty mugs when he needs them. She does make coffee and other drinks though.
  • You know Bilis Manger from Torchwood is bad news from the way he can make even the offer of a "nice cup of tea" sound ominous.
  • In The Young Ones, after Neil kills the kettle, Vyvyan comments "Looks like we're having raw tea again." and proceeds to eat a tea-bag.
  • In Hogan's Heroes, one of the main characters, who is British, is drinking tea while the others are using a radio to contact a British submarine which is transferring the message to England. Both the captain of the submarine and the commander of the base in England were also drinking tea at the same time.
  • In the Frasier episode "Travels With Martin", the Cranes accidentally take the (British) Daphne into Canada, which since she hasn't got her Green Card yet means trouble. Martin asks if Daphne can pretend to be American at the border, which naturally she can't:

Daphne: Oh, I need a cup of tea!
Frasier: TEA! Why don't you just wave a crumpet in the air and start singing, "God Save The Queen"!!

  • In Spaced, Tim and Daisy are drinking tea having just moved into the flat. Daisy offers another cup: Tim responds, "Nah, twelve's my limit."
  • Subverted in Keeping Up Appearances, where Hyacinth regularly invites her neighbours for a cup of coffee. Members of her sister's family prefer tea but they usually drink it from the old chipped mugs (much to Hyacinth's chagrin) and generally don't make much fuss about the way they prepare it.
  • QI comments on this when they're discussing using the boiling point of water to determine your altitude:

Sandi Toksvig: It's such a British notion, isn't it. I wonder how tall it is; let's make tea. ... We couldn't live in [the Mariana] Trench, you can't make tea!

  • Almost every episode of Are You Being Served had some sort of reference to tea— Tea breaks, putting the kettle on, tea at meetings, and even a tea trolley at one point.
  • Mentioned briefly by the Hitcher in The Mighty Boosh during his titular song, while listing off all things British/Cockney:

The Hitcher: Trapped in a box by a Cockney nutjob. Have a cup of tea, have a cup of tea! I'm the Hitcher!

  • Sharpe, in spite of being a ranker at heart, drinks more tea than liquor on-screen. Granted, this is the British army.
  • Dr. Wyatt in Bones is stereotyped as a tea-drinking Englishman.
  • Tea makes several prominent appearances in Sherlock, although Sherlock does drink coffee in his first appearance. Mostly notably, he tries to poison John with contaminated sugar (It Makes Sense in Context) in his tea. John doesn't take sugar, but drinks it anyway, as he thinks that Sherlock is actually trying to do something nice. In the second episode, a client makes Chinese tea with hundred-year-old tea pots. Finally, in The Reichenbach Fall, Moriarty and Sherlock drink tea while discussing crime and genius. Notably, this is the only time they're seen using "the best china."
  • A Running Gag in The Two Ronnies sketch "Tinker, Tailor, Smiley, Doyle" involves George Smiley's fondness for tea.
  • Upstairs, Downstairs has this more than a few times (it comes with the territory).


  • Ray Davies of The Kinks has written a few songs on the subject of tea and tea-drinking (but then, what else would you expect from the quintessentially British band?).
    • One of their songs praising the drink, "Have A Cuppa Tea", has been covered by Great Big Sea.
  • Paul McCartney has a song called "English Tea."
  • Mitch Benn, on The Now Show, singing about the crew of an RAF aircraft who used a teapot in an improvised repair:

No, we never fly without our teapot.
It's the most important item in our kit.
And if we ever find we've left the bally thing behind,
Then we abort the job and fly right back for it.

  • Emilie Autumn, an American musician, employs a lot of Victorian aspects into her image, tea being probably the most important part after the asylum chic.
  • How did we forget Mr Scruff? He doesn't sing about tea, but he loves it so much that, upset that there weren't any non-alcoholic options (bar soft drinks) at clubs and DJ sets for people who needed to drive or didn't want to drink, Mr Scruff started setting up a stall selling tea at his DJ sets. Now he has his own fair trade tea business, Make Us A Brew
  • And, of course, there's the classic Kula Shaker track, Drink Tea For The Love Of God.
  • Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, being a Chap-Hop artist, is a great enthusiast for a spot of tea and a slice of cake. In a Crowning Moment of Awesome, one of his videos features Mr B getting kidnapped, only to persuade the Mooks to let him go by sharing a cuppa.
  • Fellow chap-hopper Professor Elemental has Cup of Brown Joy, in which he raps about his insane love of tea. "I'd sell my own grandmother for a cup. Well, I'd sell your grandmother."
  • In The Beatles song "It's All Too Much," George Harrison lightens up the psychedelic exploration theme with the line "Show me that I'm everywhere, / And get me home for tea."
  • Sting, "Englishman In New York":

"I don't drink coffee I take tea my dear"

  • The KLF's The Manual (which instructs the users on how to create a #1 charting single the easy way) includes dozens of references to tea. "Put a kettle on" is Rockman Rock and Kingboy D's default response to any situation where the reader has to wait for someone.


  • Ned Seagoon, in the Indian quarter of Bombay, is offered "all the sensuous drinks of the Orient". His response?

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

  • Peter Kay has a routine about the different dunking properties of biscuits, another about how "Wanna brew?" is invariably accompanied by a hand gesture, and a third about his dad attempting to smuggle tea along with other British products through Spanish customs.


Video Games

  • Many of the endings for Touhou games feature its protagonist Reimu Hakurei having tea parties with other characters, especially those who were her enemies in the game.
    • The Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Remilia Scarlet is also quite fond of her tea, which may or may not contain blood. (Like in many other areas, the canon is inconsistent on this detail.)
  • In the ending of each level in 8 Eyes, your protagonist shares tea with his opponent after beating them in a Boss Battle/sword duel.
  • Henry Hatsworth, the most well-dressed gentleman in Tealand, can expend his MP to take a Mid-Battle Tea Break and summon a giant Steampunk robot to obliterate everything in sight with pure, unadulterated Englishness. "Good Show", indeed!
  • Giles from Red Alert 3 can often be seen drinking tea or referring to drinking tea. He is, to no one's surprise, the British CO in the Allied army.
    • The Soviet ending from the first Red Alert game has Nadia serve Stalin a cup of tea in London, to which he replies "When in Rome!". Turns out the tea is poisoned.
      • Given the already considerable Russian fondness for tea, this ends up looking a bit odd to anyone aware. Possibly the tea had milk in it. Maybe he was lactose intolerant?
      • The fact that Stalin actually was poisoned and died in response to a stroke caused by the poison in Real Life makes this event Harsher in Hindsight.
  • BlazBlue's Elegant Gothic Vampire Rachel practically obsesses over tea. Her most common entrance has her enjoying a cup before battle. She belittles Hakumen by ordering tea at the start of their Boss Battle. Her console story mode begins with a cup of tea, and ends with the same one in her Ragna Ending.
    • In Arc System Works' other mainstay Guilty Gear Ky Kiske is shown to greatly enjoy tea. However, he's not shown to be British and is in fact, French.
  • Armed and Dangerous has Q, a robot that achieved sentience though his love of tea, tea can also be used to restore health.
  • The European-raised Edgeworth in Ace Attorney enjoys tea so much he's even got a tea-drinking sprite in Investigations.
    • He also owns an exspensive tea set and a large collection of tea leaves in his office. Curiously, in the original Japanese Version of the Games Edgeworth was actually raised in America. The world might never know where he picked up his tea drinking habbits from.
  • Professor Layton enjoys his tea. In fact, one of the minigames in Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box involves brewing up different blends of tea using herbs found in certain puzzles and helping several people you come across by serving them their preferred tea. Finish this sidequest, and Layton receives the title of Tea Master. Said tea is given to people suffering from things like the chills, mild anxiety, forgetfulness, and in at least one case, thirst.
  • Miles Edgeworth of Ace Attorney is known to love his tea, even having a full set of good china in his office.
  • Referenced by Cammy in Street Fighter IV; in her win quote against Guile, she asks if what she heard about the American military is true, that they don't allow breaks for tea.
  • Dirk Valentine treats tea as a Healing Potion. The love for it is described as one of the few things the hero has in common with the "ungodly rotters" he fights.
  • Major Zero in Metal Gear Solid 3 insists on having his tea and scones, even while in the middle of a mission and cruising at high altitude in soviet airspeace.
  • While it can hardly be called British in nature, it otherwise fits the trope: in the Subspace Emissary portion of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Princess Peach decides to stop a fight (that is just beginning) between Fox and Sheik by offering them each a cup of tea. On top of the enemy's airship. And it works. (Or rather she offers one to Fox who, along with the camera, looks over to Sheik, who somehow already has a cup and is drinking it though her mask)
  • Vice President Richard Hawk from Metal Wolf Chaos may be devious (and very American), but he still loves his tea.

Ah, time for my afternoon tea. Nothing like sipping some DELICIOUS Darjeeling tea... and watching you getting your clock cleaned!

  • In Arcanum, recruiting Gar as a follower requires you to start a debate with him regarding the merits of green tea over earl grey.

Web Comics

  • Occasionally referenced on Scary Go Round, in particular a T-shirt bearing the slogan Tea, tea, the musical drink, the more you sup the more you THINK.
  • The page picture is of Professor Raven of El Goonish Shive, who is certainly British-themed if not actually British (he's half- elf immortal, making him an elf).
  • The yetis in Irregular Webcomic enjoys this, and also speak with British accent.
  • Most of the cast of Jayden and Crusader [dead link] drink tea as shown here, here and here Interestingly the most British, Sir Reginald 'Smic' Derby III, has never been shown drinking tea. Jayden, the American, drinks coffee. A point explicitly made.
  • In Girl Genius, despite being (presumably) German or Austrian (going by the names), Gil built a construct when he was eight that makes tea (and is very concerned about Agatha stealing his job), and employs a British manservant and spy who knows how Gil takes his tea. Agatha and the other inhabitants of Mechanicsburg seem to prefer coffee.
    • Agatha drank coffee once in her life. There were several explosions.
  • The Monster in the Darkness from Order of the Stick enjoys having tea parties, though it doesn't seem to notice if its guests are unconscious or dead.
  • Cited in this Dork Tower strip as the secret of the famous English Stiff Upper Lip.
  • Extremely ineffective superhero Hubris from Neko the Kitty wants to go home and have a cup of tea. That's basically all he wants
  • While Phix of Wapsi Square is not actually British (she predates modern Britain), she does fit the theme, using British slang, an speaking with a British accent according to the author, and she usually seems to have some tea on hand. She apparently prefers Earl Gray.

Web Original

  • Exception: Quincy Archer, a Survival of the Fittest character who often tries to emphasize his Britishness, "fucking hate[s] tea."
  • This wonderful celebration of tea..
  • Bakura of Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series is here to kick ass and drink cups of tea. Because he's British.
  • N Tom 64 of Hellfire Commentaries always drinks tea whilst recording commentaries.
  • Mike J of That Guy With The Glasses has a slight breakdown when trying to review Jaws: the Revenge without his customary cup of tea.
  • In the obligatory Whateley Universe example, pretty much all the East Asian characters (even those who only look Asian as a result of their mutation or magical transformation) love their tea.
    • Team Kimba now has a weekly tea party every Sunday, where they relax, drink tea, and just chat about stuff. It seems to be proving quite therapeutic, which isn't terribly surprising considering the wringers they all regularly get put through.
  • Every video by The Spiffing Brit, bar none, extols the virtues of tea -- particularly Yorkshire brand tea -- while demonizing coffee drinkers. At the start of each he invites viewers to sit back and relax with a warm cup.

Western Animation

  • Iroh of Avatar: The Last Airbender, whose passion for drinking tea reaches an almost obsessive level, risks personal health and safety for the sake of a good cup of tea. Naturally, his greatest dream is to open his own tea shop. Though he's not very British, he is Chinese, and that's more than enough... or he's Japanese... or Korean... or he's from a fictional nation whose culture amalgamates features of several cultures across the Orient, all of whom love tea.
  • On Pinky and The Brain, one of Brain's schemes is to freeze Big Ben at teatime, thus forcing the entire United Kingdom into inaction as they enjoy a teatime without end.
    • If only...
  • In The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Rival", when part of Homer's sugar pile was stolen by a Brit.

Homer: All right pal, where did you get the sugar for that tea?
British Man: I nicked it when you let your guard down for that split second and I'd do it again. (sips tea) Goodbye.

  • In Rocky and Bullwinkle‍'‍s "Peabody's Incredible Histories" segment about Lawrence of Arabia, he dresses up in standard Bedouin garb, but then manages to expose himself as a British spy just by saying:

Teatime, chaps! Anyone for crumpets?

    • Peabody's used this one a few times; when helping the Marquis of Queensberry get into an actual fight so he could understand it well enough to create his set of rules for modern boxing, Peabody, at tea time, orders a cup of tea for himself and Sherman and a cup of coffee for the Marquis, which sends the waiter into an uncontrollable fit of rage. Apparently calling it a matter of national pride is a considerable understatement.
  • In Disney's The Sword in the Stone, Merlin offers Wart (Arthur) a cup of tea, complete with magically animated sugar bowl. (It's just one of many anachronisms in the movie; not to worry.)
  • In Ivor The Engine, Jones the Steam routinely makes tea using the water from Ivor's boiler.

In case you aren't yet convinced that tea is Serious Business: There is an ISO Standard for brewing tea.
  1. judging by her name and age, she's almost certainly Scottish and from the era before Scotland came under English dominion, and Scotland is technically in Britain