Builder's tea

Builder's tea, also known as a builder's brew or gaffer's tea, is a British English colloquial term for a strong cup of tea.[1][2] 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 the tea contained in a teabag (as opposed to loose leaves in a teapot), with a small amount of milk usually added after either stirring the tea or leaving it to stand and infuse. It is often taken with one or more teaspoons of white sugar, but this is optional.

Builder's tea refers to a strong cup of tea.


Builder's tea is typically robust and has a rich, dark beige colour.[3]

The name was chosen because workers in the British building trade typically drink many cups of tea during their working day.[4][5] The term has widespread use throughout both Great Britain and Ireland.[6][7][8] Research from the Social Issues Research Centre found that people performing construction work found tea "both soothing and stimulating".[9]

A 2013 article in the Daily Express noted that building workers are drinking less tea than they used to, preferring alternatives such as coffee, cappuccinos and lattes, as well as soft drinks.[10]

See also


  1. 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.
  2. Souter, K. (2013). The Tea Cyclopedia: A Celebration of the World's Favorite Drink. EBL-Schweitzer. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-62873-548-2. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  3. Edwards, Adam (23 June 2001). "Liquid assets: builder's tea". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  4. Miller, Norman (17 March 2017). "Are you posh or a pleb? Cuppas, class and other British obsessions". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  5. "Minor British Institutions: Builders' tea". The Independent. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  6. John Ayto (18 October 2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. Oxford University Press. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-0-19-964024-9.
  7. 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.
  8. "Will Self: Why I hate builder's tea". New Statesman. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  9. "Two Great British Obsessions - Tea and DIY - First-Timers". (Social Issues Research Centre). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  10. Sheldrick, Giles (10 July 2013). "Builder's tea no longer preferred drink for construction workers". Retrieved 5 June 2018.

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