Expert reveals why tea could be the best way to get the nation talking

What better way to set the world to rights than over a cup of tea? The results from the 2024 Tea Census Study,[1] conducted on behalf of the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA), reveal that three quarters (76%) of the nation have plenty to talk about when we pop the kettle on.

Dr Sharon Hall, Chief Executive of the UKTIA, comments, “Over 1,000 British adults took part in our tea census study but only a quarter (24%) said they didn’t talk about anything over a cuppa or drank it alone. That leaves a lot of us with something to say over a brew or two, making tea the best way to get the nation talking.”

In terms of exactly what Brits discuss over a cuppa, the list included another great British tradition – talking about the weather – for four in 10 Brits (40%), while a third (32%) said they shared their future plans.

For three in 10 Brits, the hot topics during tea talk were work (31%), holidays (31%), and gossip (31%), while similar numbers talked about relationships (29%) and reminisced about the past (28%). Less popular topics included the kids (24%) and the neighbours (18%).

The data also revealed a difference in the most popular subject talked about according to age group. Whereas the hottest topic was work for a third (33%) of 18-29-year-olds, it was the weather for all of the older age groups, including:

  • 46% of 30-44-year-olds
  • 43% of 45-59-year-olds
  • 38% of the 60+ cohort.

“The 1,010 UK adults who took part in the 2024 Tea Census Study also picked out some of the specific ways in which a cuppa can help the conversation flow,” says Dr Sharon Hall, adding, “For example, 42% said having a cuppa helps people to see the bright side of things, while 40% said putting on the kettle helps to encourage someone to open up.”


Brits said having a brew can benefit communication in other ways, too – for example, over a third (36%) agreed that putting on the kettle helps to diffuse a difficult conversation, while three in 10 (30%) said that having a cuppa is a good way to celebrate good news.

The census also highlighted when tea is most likely to be drunk by Brits, with breakfast being the most popular time of day for a brew (45%) followed by the afternoon (44%), and mid-morning following not too far behind (40%).

“Tea’s power as an ideal pick-me-up also came to light in the 2024 Tea Census Study,” says Dr Sharon Hall, continuing, “Indeed, a third (33%) said they tend to have a cup of tea as soon as they wake up, and nearly two thirds (64%) said they need a cup of tea before they can tackle the day ahead.”

Tea is also an important element to work conversations for many Brits, according to the UKTIA Tea Census Study, with over half (54%) saying they grab a cup of tea to have during a meeting, whether online or in-person. Additionally, almost half (48%) said that if they held meetings externally, they would tend to do it over a cuppa.

Brits’ preferred types of tea were also revealed in the UKTIA Tea Census Study with the top seven teas being:

  1. Black tea (84%)
  2. Green tea (60.2%)
  3. Peppermint (46%)
  4. Ginger (43%)
  5. Chamomile (37%)
  6. Lemon balm (22%)
  7. Spearmint (20%)

What’s more, 46% admitted to expanding their tea drinking horizons over the past year, with:

  • 37% adding one or more herbal teas
  • A third (33%) adding green tea
  • Three in 10 (29%) adding a speciality black tea, such as Earl Grey or Ceylon

But, when it comes to a comforting cup of regular black tea, Brits have a clear favourite place to enjoy it, with nearly three quarters (73%) preferring the comfort of their own home. This is followed by the workplace for one in 10 (10%) and at friends’ or family’s homes for just 6%.

On top of this, home was also the preferred location for drinking herbal infusions, for two thirds (66%) of those surveyed.

However, of the 44% who said they made tea at home to take out with them, for four in 10 (40%), it was to enjoy on their commute, while 36% took tea to drink at work, and 35% made their own tea at home to save money.


Besides a preferred tea drinking location, Brits also have a clear favourite accompaniment to have with their cup of tea and a chat, with 48% preferring a sweet biscuit over:

  • A chocolate biscuit (36%)
  • Cake (32%)
  • A sandwich (24%)
  • Nothing at all (22%)

The optimal number of biscuits according to a third (36%) of those surveyed is two, while 13% prefer just the one biscuit, while one in 20 (5%) tuck into five or more.

Dr Sharon Hall concludes, “The 2024 Tea Census Study gives us some fascinating insights into Brits and their famous love of tea and, crucially, it shows us just how pivotal popping the kettle on can be to getting the conversation flowing, whether it’s to help us look on the bright side of life, open up to someone, diffuse a difficult conversation, or celebrate some good news.”

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