As a nation, Brits are infamous for our love of tea. It is a very common - and largely accurate - stereotype of the UK.
All tea-drinkers tend to be quite particular about how they like their tea. When serving others tea, there are two important questions: "Would you like sugar in your tea?" and "How much milk do you like in your tea?". Unlike many countries in Europe, us Brits like our tea with milk. There are relatively few people who would relish a cup of black tea. Of course, when it comes to fruit teas milk is out of the question; it would be considered rather odd to add milk to a cup of fruit tea.
Adding sugar is the simple part: one cube or two does the trick for most people. Milk, on the other hand, can cause many problems. Some people, like my father, insist on putting the milk in the mug first and then pouring in the tea. My mother always complains about this way of doing it. She prefers to brew the tea, pour it into a mug and then add the milk. She says that this way she can make sure it ends up the right shade of brown. Some people like their tea very milky; others like it with very little milk. As far as I'm concerned, the true cup of tea should be a medium to dark brown - something we often refer to as a builder's brew.
Tea can be drunk in mugs or cups; at home, many people drink from a mug, whereas tearooms tend to serve tea in cups with saucers. Often, people will have a biscuit with their tea. Lots of people like to dunk biscuits into their cup of tea.
Tea is, of course, an essential element of the famous afternoon tea. Contrary to the stereotype, us Brits don't indulge in afternoon tea every day at 4pm. We will drink tea at any time of day, but afternoon tea is a special affair. If you're in a tearoom, it will tend to include a selection of small sandwiches and cakes with a teapot of tea. Some people opt to just have a scone (jam and cream optional) with their cup of tea.
Do you drink tea? How do you take your tea?