So, I’m english, and basically all I drink is english breakfast and earl grey. Because that’s what most english people drink, plain boring, black tea with milk. An only that. I do drink a lot of tea, but only that and some occasional jasmine because I’m a bit odd.
Herbal teas are kind of an odd thing to drink, as an english person I mean, not like weird, but it’s not a thing most people in the country would have. I mean, it’s would be pretty common among hippie/student types, but it’s not a usual thing. And everyone has a kettle and at least some kind of black tea in their cupboard. Pretty much everyone drinks tea. Not being a tea drinker is odd as an adult. Most people pick it up in university, if not earlier. Pretty much everyone also has milk. But yeah, drinking weird teas as a cure for a specific thing is either a weird hippie thing or an american thing.
I mean you clearly get that british people drink tea, but you’ve missed most of the bits of it that are actually important. You think we drink tea like americans, but just more of it? Nope. We drink tea in very specific and arbitrary ways.
There are social class lines about what type of tea you drink and how you take it. Having sugar in your tea is working class (acceptable among other classes if clearly marked as an eccentricity and other class markers are clear, I get away with it because I’m clearly middle class and also female perceived, and make “I know, sweet tooth” comments about it). Whether you put milk in first or not is a class indicator.
What type and brand of tea you drink is also pretty solidly defined by class. Bog standard tea like pg tips is I think an assam blend and is more working class than drinking twinnings english breakfast or earl grey. Basically the higher class status you go the weaker the tea gets. It’s all stronger than your american tea. This isn’t a judgement on any of this being good or bad,it’s just a random thing that tends to be a pretty good class indicator.
And if you want to know more about this read Watching the english (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Watching-English-Hidden-Rules-Behaviour/dp/0340818867) by Kate fox. It’s got a really interesting bit on tea drinking customs and class divisions.
Making tea for yourself and not other people is pretty universally rude though. As is offering tea in literally any situation.
Tea (meaning a bog standard blend of black tea) is a remedy for everything. Bad day? Tea. Cold? Tea. Headache? Tea. Flu? Tea. Cramps? Tea. Broken bone? Tea. Divorce? Tea. Cancer? So sorry to hear that, would you like a cup of tea? Dead family member? I’m so sorry…Tea? Car crash? Tea, and have some sugar in it for the shock.
This is now my fave post of all time.
Though I must add, as a weird hybrid of American and Brit (and also coming from a family of eccentric weirdos) I do know that valerian is good for relaxation, as is chamomile. Mint is refreshing so good on a hot day if you still want/need tea. Ginger and/or lemon is for colds/flu (add honey for antiseptic qualities and added sweetness), you can get bags of this but I usually make it myself by chopping up ginger, adding a spoonful (or 3) of honey and squeezing a lemon into boiling water.
Hot chocolate is not a tea but should be and is good for EVERYTHING. And I think this is as far as my knowledge of herbal teas go.
(There’s also a thing called rooibois but no-one actually know what that is and you only own it because your mother bought it on a whim to try something new but never got round to it, because why try something new and scary when you have good old PG?)
Hello, I have been summoned by your tags. And I have written a super huge essay under the cut.