A symbol of tea drinking world-wide is changing its ways. Yes, the British are changing their approach to drinking tea and some long-standing traditions as well.
Let’s start with some tea brands that are varying their product line to accommodate changing trends and tastes in tea, especially in the UK. One such brand is PG Tips. Their flagship product is a black tea blend in a distinctive pyramid bag. That tea is now joined by three green tea versions: straight, lemon-flavored, and mint-flavored. A real nod to the growing demand by UK consumers for green tea, seen as being more healthy. They also now offer a version of the classic flavored tea — Earl Grey — part of their “Special Moments” range that includes teas called The Fresh One, The Strong One, and The Evening One.
Other brand developments:
- Taylors of Harrogate has been branching out for quite awhile now, with green, Earl Grey, Jasmine, and a spiced tea for Christmas.
- Tetley, a bastion of the basic black tea so often associated with UK tea drinking tradition, offers green, a blend of black and green, their version of Earl Grey, and herbal infusions including redbush.
- Barry’s, a brand very popular in Ireland, has added to their line-up that used to be straight black tea. They now offer herbals, pu-erh, and green tea.
As for such traditions as Afternoon Tea, wherever folks take a time out of their busy lives, it is in flux. While many have abandoned the practice in favor of grabbing a quick snack and a hot cuppa to gulp as they go, some tearooms are working hard to revive interest. However, one article states that higher end hotels are serving champagne at these Afternoon Teas instead of tea. Outrageous!
Another indicator are tea vendors who specialize in British products. They have moved way beyond the standard tea brands well-known to the British living both in the UK and abroad, and now carry a wide range of teas. The owners of this blog have grown their range of teas to include many flavored versions and herbals.
Further, there are more and more small, specialized tea vendors opening up in the UK and so far thriving. Some carry only the finest from the tea gardens of China, while others promote teas from just about every country now growing tea. Yes, tea tastes in Britain and the associated traditions are certainly changing.
The kettle may still get turned on around 4 p.m., but the tea being steeped and the manner in which it is enjoyed are evolving.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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