A very British video teaches you about teatime

It’s 4 o’clock in London. Teatime.

I’ve lived in London for over six years, so believe me when I tell you that the British passion for tea may be a cliche but only because it’s absolutely true.

Even after all these years, I still don’t fully understand the traditions surrounding tea. It seems like my colleagues are always getting up from their desks and saying, “Tea?” with their heads tilted and a slight smile. The question and facial expression are always the same, no matter whether the urge for tea is a reaction to boredom, frustration with a manager or colleague, needing something hot to wash down an afternoon cake, or a desire to escape the desk and stretch the legs.

The urge for tea never seems to be prompted by thirst.

Yesterday, a friend at work brought in a lemon drizzle cake and told me we couldn’t touch it until teatime. Color me confused – isn’t tea time whenever you get yourself to the kitchen and turn the kettle on?

Apparently not. Another friend saw my confusion and sent me this video, which I think the Anglophiles among you will enjoy as much as those of you with a thing for puppets.

So make yourself a nice cuppa and watch the show. (No need to wait till it’s 4 o’clock where you are.)

If every nation in creation has its drink, what’s the favorite drink of your culture? Do you have any traditions around it?


  1. What a fun post–I’ll ReTweet it. 🙂 It looks like English Teatime is more about taking a break from whatever you’re doing at a designated time when nobody will give you grief about it–I like that! We Americans would do well to adopt this custom. It seems that working people used to practice the “coffee break” but nowadays you’re lucky if you can get working people to stop for lunch.

    1. It’s so true! Nothing beats gathering around for a bit of social time together. And how sad that many of us don’t take the time to eat away from our desks. I think it’s a terrible thing for office morale.

      Thanks for tweeting the post!

  2. Loved taking “afternoon tea” in my visit to England a few years ago, and there are a few tea rooms in New Orleans where one can get a proper cuppa. Still, we’re a Coke culture. In the South, the word “Coke” (or, among older people, “Co-cola”) stands for any soft drink, be it Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Sprite or Mountain Dew. It’s always asked, “Do you want a Coke?”

    1. Ah, the great “cola” debate, Suz. I remember gathering with friends from around the country my freshman year of college and arguing about whether it should Coke, cola, soda or pop. We obviously weren’t too politically aware if that was our main topic of debate!

  3. As an American, and a Californian no less, I have no such traditions. But thank you for sharing that tea time is still observed. 🙂 I am rereading Miss Read’s Thrush Green series and she always weaves tea time into her characters’ lives, as well as the threats to its continuation. It’s a good reminder that we all need those leisurely, social breaks in our day.

    1. Hello, fellow Californian! I know what you mean – it’s hard to think of a Californian tradition around particular beverages, unless it’s maybe drinking a happy hour margarita with a big basket of chips and salsa. Teatime’s definitely still important here, even if it’s not as formal as it once was. Sipping tea out of a chipped coffee mug while standing in an office kitchen might not have the same allure as sitting down for tea and crumpets with fine bone china, but it’s still a great break in the day! Maybe you can work it in to your own routine! Establish Coronatime, or Mexican-hot-chocolatetime.

      Mmm…now I’m missing home!

      1. lol. Those things have their place, but for everyday, tea time or a coffee break can’t be beat. Problem is to incorporate it. 🙂
        I remember my semester in Oxford and the utter lack of Mexican food–if it’s still like that, no wonder you miss it. I eventually had to make my own tortillas and beans, but it wasn’t quite the same. 😉

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