Is Britain’s love affair with tea over?

The study of 2,000 workers found that 44 per cent are too busy to take tea breaks, a quarter feel they aren’t allowed them and one in five said they didn’t take tea breaks in case their bosses think they’re slacking.

Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James said this was an indicator of modern work pressures. “Whereas in the past taking a tea break was seen as a valuable social activity in the office, it’s now beginning to be seen as an unnecessary indulgence and waste of productive work time,” she said.

“Yet research has indicated time and time again that striking a balance by taking short breaks during the working day increases people’s productivity and creativity,” Langcaster-James added. Tetley’s study recorded 44 per cent of workers saying they felt re-energised after a tea break and a third feeling more productive. There are also the associated social benefits of chatting to colleagues.

A fifth of those surveyed said they definitely take fewer tea breaks in a typical day than five years ago, but the desire for tea breaks still remained. The average worker has four cups a day – with those in advertising drinking the most. Unsurprisingly, Londoners rush the most and take the shortest tea breaks overall.

So, if you’re going to make a concerted effort to up the office’s tea break quota, you’ll probably want a refresher on the appropriate etiquette when making tea.

Dodging your tea round is frowned upon, but Tetley found one in four sneaky workers still try to skip their turn. Pay particular attention to any colleagues working in marketing as they’re the biggest culprits of this.

When it comes to those up the top, it’s not any better – bosses may be busy, but four in ten said they never made a tea round for their staff.

Men are also more likely to furtively nip out to make themselves a brew, to avoid making a round for their colleagues – 30 per cent admitted to doing so. Just as calculated were those who piped up to offer a tea round, but only when they knew others had just had a cup.

Read more on office etiquette:

Unfortunately, the minefield of tea etiquette extends to those who do carry out their turn fairly, but just aren’t that great at it. Some 13 per cent admitted they turned down a tea round, because the person offering didn’t make a particularly good brew. Those in creative roles were most fussy when it came to people getting their orders right, while IT workers were least fussy.

Alex Snowden, senior brand manager at Tetley, said: “The power of a quality cup of tea has long been a source of rejuvenation for Britain’s workforce and the tea break is an integral part of many a workplace. However, our research has shown that for many, the chance to have a tea break away from the desk is quite rare.”

Tetley is hoping to encourage businesses to “Bring Back The Tea Break” with a new campaign – Virgin Media, Russell Hobbs and Mr Kipling have got on board so far.

We all know some people can be hugely particular about their tea – and the debate about just when it’s appropriate to add the milk rages on. Tetley’s master blender, Sebastian Michaelis, had a few tips of his own which you can share with those whose brewing skills just aren’t up to scratch yet.

Six tips for a top cup of tea:

(1) Tea should be made with boiling water – but only once-boiled water with a low mineral content
(2) For black tea, pour the water as soon as it has boiled to deliver the best tea
(3) For green tea, allow the kettle to cool for up to two minutes to avoid a bitter taste
(4) For tea bags, add the milk after the water to avoid hindering the infusion process
(5) Leave the tea bag in for at least two minutes to let the flavour of the tea infuse
(6) After removing the tea bag, leave the brew to cool for two minutes for a better quality taste

Image: Shutterstock

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