Fancy coffee and herbal alternatives have driven down sales of classic tea. Sad times
There's something nearly meditative about preparing tea.
A gentle hum from the kettle, the just-right submersion time, a gentle swirl of milk and the swishing paddle of a teaspoon – total break-time bliss.
But it looks like the classic mid-afternoon brewing ritual is languishing. Hipster-led coffee culture, herbal blends and a general image issue with stalwart bags of English Breakfast mean that you'll find most of us clutching a paper cup of perfectly frothed Flat White rather than dunking PG Tips in the kitchen.
New research from market firm Mintel shows that the UK's tea consumption has dropped by more than a fifth in five years, with the volume sold going from 97 million kg in 2010 to 76 million kg in 2015. Uh oh.
"Black tea is being held back by a rather uninspiring image and is struggling to maintain consumers’ interest amid growing competition from other drinks," said Emma Clifford, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel.
Another factor in the tea exodus?
The great sugar scare. Naturally, the ideal match for a cup is a biscuit on the side – and sales of those have dropped off by 8 per cent from 2009 to 2014.
Could we be nearing the end of our national love affair with the brew and biscuit? Truly, these are terrifying times we live in.