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

Builder's tea, also known as a ‘Builder’s Brew’ 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]



Builder's tea is typically robust and a rich brown colour. The leaves are often brewed for longer than usual, with an average infusion time of between two and four minutes.[2] Brands high in tannin, caffeine and Assam leaves are better suited to builder's tea.

The name is a reference to the many cups of tea consumed on tea breaks by the building trades in both Great Britain and Ireland.[3][4] The term has widespread use throughout both Great Britain and Ireland.[5][6][7] Research from the Social Issues Research Centre found that people performing construction work found tea "both soothing and stimulating".[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Edwards, Adam (23 Jun 2001). "Liquid assets: builder's tea". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Colman Andrews (8 November 2016). The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales. ABRAMS. pp. 637–. ISBN 978-1-61312-211-2. 
  3. ^ Cups of tea, class and other British customs
  4. ^ Minor British Institutions: Builders' tea | The Independent
  5. ^ John Ayto (18 October 2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. OUP Oxford. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-0-19-964024-9. 
  6. ^ Karen Bescherer Metheny; Mary C. Beaudry (7 August 2015). Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 176–. ISBN 978-0-7591-2366-3. 
  7. ^ Will Self: Why I hate builder's tea
  8. ^ "Two Great British Obsessions - Tea and DIY - First-Timers". (Social Issues Research Centre). Retrieved 2013-05-27. 

Further readingEdit