Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Not my cup of tea

by : 

Since moving to Vienna, being offered a cup of tea now sets off a series of alarm bells for me. Have you ever heard all British people being labelled as tea-fanatics? Well, ever since I arrived in Austria, I’ve been proving that this stereotype is alive and thriving.

Over in Britain, we take tea very seriously. It’s a staple part of our culture and much more than just a drink. To us, it can be a way to start your day, a way to offer comfort to others or a go-to peace offering after an argument with a loved one. In the UK, we tend to find an excuse to drink tea whenever and wherever we possibly can. Back home, I can be found surrounded by a tower of used mugs at any point throughout the day.

So now you’re probably wondering what the big deal about drinking tea abroad is, am I right?

As you may already know, to the majority of British people, a cup of tea means something very specific: it means black tea with milk. Some like their tea stronger than others, some like it milkier, some people may even choose to add a spoonful of sugar or two. There is variety within reason, but the principle remains the same and you can relax knowing no major surprises or disappointments are coming your way. Once you have stepped foot off the British Isles however, these perfectly reasonable expectations surrounding your ‘cuppa’ are alien to the natives!

I am here to tell you that the world of hot drinks is a daily struggle for us Brits abroad: tea elsewhere in the world seems to be open to interpretation and it is hard to adjust to. I’ve accepted one too many cups of tea, only to discover a moment too late that I’ve agreed to a fruit tea. But accepting an unexpected cup of fruit tea is nothing compared to the nightmare of being offered a mug of black tea when there is not a single drop of milk to be found anywhere in the entire building. I've realised that it’s going to take me a while to trust people around kettles and teabags again!


Do you like drinking tea? Is tea popular in the country you are from? What stereotypes exist about the food in your culture? 


Manaly's picture
Manaly 4 September, 2016 - 15:09

This article reminds me to our attitude with coffee. We as Arabian country famous with coffee and we have a type of coffee called Arabian coffee. We admire it a lot and usually start our day with coffee. We drink it in school, college, job and even at any celebration !!
And because i love coffee so much i wish if there is a perfume with coffee smell :)

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piku99's picture
piku99 13 June, 2016 - 16:18

Tea is very popular in my country . The morning breakfast started with a Tea . Our country people make tea in cooker. The people make tea with a Fresh cow milk and some like to milk powder . The some of like black tea and majority people like Colourful tea . All of the people like tea with sugar only avoid the sugar davits people .

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Pilot's picture
Pilot 3 January, 2016 - 09:48

Tea is more populer drink in my city. And ı like drinking tea but i prefer coffe. Well, we drink tea breakfast or dinner. Actually when we eat something we drink tea. :) but more tea isnt good for health. Just it :D

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Salmaihim's picture
Salmaihim 29 December, 2015 - 11:06

i love drinking black tea with a bunch of mint soaked in it , it tastes nicer than anything you can imagine, and my parents too , they like drinking it , though in my country almost local people drink black tea plainly without anything but might add 3-4 spoons of sugar to make it taste sweeter !

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Silvermist's picture
Silvermist 28 December, 2015 - 10:42

Sri Lanka, We ARE a source for tea for the British so a cup of tea in the morning, some people even drink it at noon and we always have a cup of tea in the evening which happens everyday.
I like teas. Not plain tea but tea with milk.
We also sometimes add a piece of ginger to spice it up and it soooo exotic!

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CreepyL's picture
CreepyL 23 December, 2015 - 16:55

I really love drinking tea, especially in the afternoon with my mum. We love mixed-berries-tea, but in my country tea is not as popular as in Britain

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gianggiang's picture
gianggiang 8 December, 2015 - 08:28

I almost forgot. I am curious to know if the picture above is a cup of tea,It's definitely different from Vietnamese tea.

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 10 December, 2015 - 01:26

Hi giang! I know Vietnamese tea, it's different from British tea! When I first knew Vietnamese tea, I wondered if this was a cup of tea because it had sweet milk at the bottom of the glass…!
Hold on… It wasn't tea but coffee?? I saw it at the restaurant.
Anyway, Vietnamese tea culture appears to be similar to Chinese one.
Mmmm, I'm typing now with a cup of lemon tea! I wish I had the scottish bread with it! ☆

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gianggiang's picture
gianggiang 10 December, 2015 - 11:34

Hi Elsa,
It wasn't a cup of tea, It was a cup of coffee ! :D, because if someone adds milk in a cup of Vietnamese tea and drink it, they will be at hospital immediately !

In Vietnam,Green tea is very popular everyday and it is exported to foreign countries. but on Tet holiday, we often send red tea ( the symbol of luckiness ) to each other.

However, in most villages in the North of my country, people plant trees whose leaves are used for making tea. Adults pick leaves and then those leaves are cooked with hot water, after about an hour, you can drink .This
kind of tea is very good for health.

Anyway, Vietnamese tea is completely difference from Chinese one: )))) I'm sure !

If you have chance to drink a cup of Vietnamese tea, don't add anything in it except a little sugar or you will stay at hospital !

Btw, have you ever drink a cup of coffee which is mixed with an egg ?

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JordenF's picture
JordenF 9 December, 2015 - 17:25

Yes, this picture is a genuine cup of tea. It probably looks different because it has milk in it. If it didn't have milk added to it, it would be a black/dark green colour, which you may be more familiar with in Vietnam? Maybe you could give tea with milk a try and experience a bit of British culture at home! :)

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Lavender's picture
Lavender 13 December, 2015 - 13:31

My parents drink tea everyday instead of water. They can't drink water because, as they said, it is tasteless to them. However I don't drink tea as a habit, but I try to drink artichoke tea, I was told it's good for health.
And in my opinion people here tend to drink iced tea, to satisfy their thirst.
Hmm for me I'm gonna go for a glass of sweet iced milk tea (esp with Lipton tea bags ^^)

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gianggiang's picture
gianggiang 8 December, 2015 - 08:24

No,I don't.Tea is popular in the North of Vietnam, when adults meet each other, they usually say " Would you like to drink a cup of tea ?"

In the North of my country, people like drinking tea whereas in the South, people like drinking coffee.

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