Builder's Tea


You can't talk about England without thinking of tea, and here's how to make it the right way



I was ecstatic to film my “How the World Drinks Black Tea” episode, as I often take on recipes that are very unique and ingredient-heavy. Many of these recipes are simple and traditional, the way most hot teas are enjoyed. Builder’s tea is something I’ve had before, but it was neat to revisit it through the lens of an English tea lover!

This builder’s tea recipe comes from Charlie, who resides in Berkshire in England. Made only from black tea, sugar, and your choice of milk, this is Charlie’s favorite tea. He is a British person with a Sri Lankan heritage, so tea is especially culturally important to him. Although many people outside of England think of tea as something posh and aristocratic, he tells us, it is oftentimes a casual occurrence; in fact, Charlie cannot recall one day during his life that he has not drusnk or been near someone else who was drinking tea.

Tea culture is definitely about bringing people together over innovative recipes. Classic teas, such as builder’s tea, are energizing yet comforting. They are perfect for a rainy day, settling in after a long day of work, or comforting someone. Though I do wonder: British folk, please comment and share your preferred order for the water, milk, tea, and sugar. I hear many conflicting beliefs, so I’d like to hear more about why people feel the ways they do!

Builder’s tea is known as an everyday English tea, so I paired it with some simple Digestive cookies. Dunking cookies in tea seemed a good way to try this out, and it was delicious. Traditional tea is fascinating in terms of flavor and culture, and this builder’s tea is sure to please in any instance.

I hope you try this recipe and get a taste of traditional English tea culture. Perhaps you could even follow a particularly vibrant meal with a hot, steaming mug of builder’s tea to soothe your stomach and calm your senses! Let me know how you like it.

Watch the Video

Builder's Tea


  • black tea
  • sugar
  • milk of your choice


  • Boil tea water.
  • Add tea bag to mug and pour water on top.
  • Let steep 2-3 minutes. Remove tea bag.
  • Add a splash of milk and a teaspoonful of sugar. Enjoy!
Course: Drink
Region: Europe


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