Builder's tea

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Builder's tea, a mug of strong tea with milk

Builder's tea is a British English colloquial term for a strong cup of tea. It takes its name from the inexpensive tea commonly drunk by labourers taking a break. A builder's tea is typically brewed in a mug with a teabag (as opposed to loose tealeaves in a teapot), with milk and sugar.[1]

Characteristics and brands[edit]

In 1916 the Ministry of Munitions health committee pronounced in a document titled Hours of Work: "An opportunity for tea is regarded as beneficial both to health and output."[2]

Builder's tea is typically robust and a rich brown colour. The leaves are often brewed for longer than usual.[citation needed] Brands high in tannin, caffeine and Assam leaves better suited to builder's tea include PG Tips, Red Label (Brooke Bond, Tesco), Tetley, Yorkshire Tea and Lyon's Quickbrew.

It is associated not only with labourers in the building trades, but also with DIY, according to the Social Issues Research Centre.[3] The term has widespread use throughout both Ireland and the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edwards, Adam (23 Jun 2001). "Liquid assets: builder's tea". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Page 161 in "A Social History of Tea" by Jane Pettigrew, first published 2001 by The National Trust
  3. ^ "Two Great British Obsessions - Tea and DIY - First-Timers". (Social Issues Research Centre). Retrieved 2013-05-27. 

Further reading[edit]