“What is Builder’s tea?” you might ask. As a tea enthusiast and blogger, I’m delighted to embark on this journey with you to explore the fascinating world of this hearty brew.
To me, builder’s tea is more than just a beverage – it’s a tradition, a symbol of robust hard work, and an integral part of British culture.
What is Builders tea?
Builders tea is a strong, robust, and traditionally British tea. It’s typically made from a rich blend of black teas, most commonly Assam, Ceylon, or both. Named after the hardworking Builders of Britain, who have been known to favor this full-bodied brew, the essence of builder’s tea lies in its strength and simplicity.
It’s often enjoyed with a splash of milk and sometimes sugar, served in a mug rather than a delicate tea cup, signifying its down-to-earth nature.
The term “builder tea” embodies not just a type of tea, but a slice of British culture, reflecting the no-nonsense, hearty spirit of the working class.
What is the origin of Builders tea?
Builder’s tea, also known as a builder’s brew or gaffer’s tea, got its name from the inexpensive tea commonly drunk by labourers during their breaks. The name was chosen because workers, known as ‘Blue Collar Workers’, in the British building trade typically consume many cups of tea throughout their working day. This habit became so widespread that it’s recognized in Great Britain and Ireland.
It’s a simple, comforting ritual – brew the tea in a mug, usually in a teabag, instead of loose leaves in a teapot. A dash of milk is added after stirring the tea or leaving it to stand and infuse. And for those with a sweet tooth, a spoonful of white sugar does the trick, though this is optional.
Social Issues Research Centre has even found that people performing construction work find tea “soothing and stimulating”. And so, the term ‘builder’s tea’ became a widely recognized colloquial term for this strong cup of tea that has become an indispensable part of the workday for many.
How do you make Builder’s tea?
You’re eager to start crafting your comforting mug of Builder’s tea, so let’s dive right in.
This process is less of a science and more of an art, with the goal being to create a brew that’s as soothing as it is stimulating. Remember, this isn’t a fancy tea ceremony; it’s about making a quick, strong, nourishing cup of tea that can power you through the day.
Prepare your materials and tools
You’ll need just a few basic ingredients:
- A good, strong black tea (Assam is a popular choice)
- Boiling water
- A generous serving of milk
- And sugar to taste.
In terms of equipment, all you’ll need is a mug and a kettle.
Step-by-Step Guide to follow
- Boil enough water to fill your mug (at least 350 ml).
- Add one tea bag and two heaped teaspoons of sugar in your mug.
- Add a splash of milk before or after the boiling water—it’s up to you.
- Pour the boiling water into the mug.
- Stir continuously to brew the tea, extracting the tannin and caffeine.
- Stir and press the tea bag against the mug’s side for 30 seconds to a minute, then discard.
- You should have a thick, dark tan, sweet-smelling tea.
- Serve and enjoy. Consider adding Rich Tea Biscuits for dunking.
And there you have it, a strong, hearty builder’s tea to power you through your day.
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Is Builders tea healthy?
To address this question, it’s important to know that builder’s tea is largely a strong brew of black tea. Therefore, black tea’s health benefits and concerns would also largely apply to builder’s tea.
Rich in Antioxidants
Black tea is loaded with a type of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These compounds have been associated with health benefits such as improved cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure.
Improve the heart health
Regular consumption of black tea may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Thanks to its high flavonoid content, it could lower the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and blocking LDL – the “bad” cholesterol.
Reduce the danger of diabetes
Some studies suggest that drinking black tea regularly could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
About Health Concerns
While builder’s tea has many benefits, excessive consumption may lead to some health concerns. These could include:
The caffeine content in black tea might cause problems for people sensitive to its effects. It’s important to limit consumption if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
Tannins present in black tea can interfere with iron absorption from foods. If you have an iron deficiency, it’s advisable to drink tea between meals rather than with them.
George Orwell and Builder’s Tea
“The milk ought to be fresh, but that is not always easy to arrange in a foreign country. The tea should be made in small quantities – as much as you need for one cup. Into this, pour the milk and then the tea so that the infusion is about right by the time it reaches your cup. After stirring, let it stand for two minutes so the grounds settle before decanting into another cup.” – A Nice Cup of Tea, George Orwell.
As for George Orwell, he was a renowned author and critic of the 20th century known for his works such as “1984” and “Animal Farm.”
He was also a strong proponent of tea and wrote an essay titled “A Nice Cup of Tea,” outlining his eleven rules for making tea. His rules, however, are quite different from the typical preparation of Builder’s Tea.
Orwell preferred the Indian or Ceylonese variety of tea, recommended a specific amount per cup, and suggested that one should drink out of a good breakfast cup, among other things.
Builders Tea vs English Breakfast
While both belong to the category of black teas, strong Builders tea and English breakfast tea have distinctive differences in composition, flavor, and traditional preparation methods. English breakfast tea is traditionally a blend of Assam and Ceylon teas, resulting in a lighter, more balanced flavor. It is commonly consumed with milk and sugar, making for a smooth and comforting cup of tea.
On the other hand, builders brew tea is often derived from Kenyan or other African black teas, resulting in a more robust, stronger flavor and a darker color. Contrary to the initial information, builders tea is typically brewed with milk and often with multiple teaspoons of sugar, resulting in a thick, sweet beverage.
Named after the British builders who consume it frequently during the workday, the tea is a refreshment and nourishment.
When it comes to choosing between the two, it hinges on personal preference. For those seeking a hearty, robust cup of tea that can act as a source of energy and sustenance, builders’ tea may be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if a lighter, smoother taste is preferred, English Breakfast tea would be a more suitable option.
Where can I buy Builder’s Tea?
You can purchase Builder’s Tea from online stores selling tea products. Some websites also offer tea subscription services, allowing you to receive your favorite tea regularly. Tea-and-coffee.com is one such website that offers a variety of teas, including Builder’s Tea, and ships to most countries around the world.
Thank you for reading our article.
I’m Shanna, creator of Spiritea Drinks. I’m all about teaching people to grow their own food, tea, cook what they harvest, and eat with the seasons.