That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything. You're a bit cold? Tea. Your boyfriend has just left you? Tea. You've just been told you've got cancer? Tea. Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt? TEADAMMIT!
Tea. Today, it is one of the most, if not the most, popular drink in the UK *
though funnily enough they're only 14th in the world in tea consumption per capita, and second in Europe,behind the Irish, who also stereotype themselves as tea drinkers to near the same extent as the British!
, and this has obviously not been lost on TV writers. To an American, it may seem like massive quantities of tea are consumed in the average British Series. In fact, the number of cups of tea drunk is often quite normal in Britain, though even the Brits can exaggerate.
Whenever a British character appears in an American series, they will invariably a) drink tea, and b) describe at great length how wonderful it is compared to coffee - that is, if the character has heard of coffee before coming to the United States. In fact, the mere act of drinking tea automatically marks one as British.
However, these characters typically drink tea from an ornate china set, whereas in Real Life, such things are reserved for special occasions. In fact, there's a dying tradition of keeping a set of "best china" that's never to be used unless the Queen should suddenly turn up for a visit.
The great British author George Orwell (1984, Homage to Catalonia) was an avid tea drinker, even going so far as to write an article on how to make "A Nice Cup Of Tea"; Douglas Adamsalso wrote one. In general, the typical British attitude to tea is nicely summed up here.
Compare with Must Have Caffeine. See Tea And Tea Culture for info about tea and the world's Real Life tea drinking habits, including proof that the British love for tea is Freakier Than Fiction.
Johnny Vegas and his woolly monkey (previously the mascots for the failed ITV Digital service) show how most British people drink tea – i.e. without pomp and ceremony – in commercials for PG Tips teabags.
The same company's older adverts used a family of chimpanzees (using actual trained chimps dressed in clothes) from 1956 onwards, in the longest-running advertising campaign in history, lasting until the late '90s.
Fate later has a tea party. In the middle of a high-stakes battle. He warps reality so that Jack Rakan joins him. One minute Rakan is topless and punching, the next, he's holding a hot cuppa and wearing white formalwear.
Evangeline is (probably) British*
judging by her name and age, she's almost certainly Scottish and from the era before Scotland came under English dominion, and Scotland is technically in Britain
, and one of two members of the Tea Ceremony Society (the other being Chachamaru.)
By her clan name Evangeline would be a Scot from the area now known as Dumfries, interestingly she would also have been born well before the popularising of tea. I suppose it still got her in the end.
Lindy Harlaown of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha loves her tea, and has the quirk of drinking her Japanese green tea British style (adding two lumps of sugar and milk to it).
But then played straight by Britannian Lynette Bishop, who offers tea almost every other episode, usually before they're about to go on a sortie.
While she is not a Brit, Mint Aizawa of Tokyo Mew Mew is also fond of her tea. In fact she is so fond of it that she drinks it at the same time every day. Also fitting in with her massive wealth and personality, even after she joins the team and shows up to work early every day (or so she says) the only thing she's ever seen doing is DRINKING TEA!!! IN THE WORKPLACE!! WHERE SHE SHOULD BE WORKING!!
In Tenchi Muyo! it's stated that Tenchi prefers tea over coffee. In Tenchi in Tokyo he's often seen drinking tea when his classmates order coffee.
In Kurogane Pukapuka Tai, the first thing we see of the HMS Cutlass is a cup of tea; on the next page, the characters of Captain Ann and Commander Mary are established through their tea-drinking. Captain Ann grasps her teacup firmly in her fist, showing her earthy, aggressive nature, while prissy, ladylike Commander Mary grasps her cup daintily in her fingertips, pinky finger raised high. And then tea spills, nakedness ensues, and sex follows — it's That Kind Of Series.
Black Butler is set in England, so you expect it. Unfortunately, Ciel's love of sweet demands that his butler stave off a diabetic coma in some cases, with tea. EVERY MEAL has tea. Even when his host, his family, and Sebastian were drinking wine, guess what Ciel was drinking?
Pandora Hearts is...Europeanish. Sharon and Break are often seen having tea and sweets. Sharon, in particular, is often shown drinking tea. Break is eating the sweets. Everyone's sweets.
In Bleach, when Ichigo and his friends break into Hueco Mundo, Aizen says to the Espada:
"Good morning. We are under attack, but first... we will make some tea."
In Death Note, L's tea habit and frequently elaborate tea sets make a lot more sense when you realise that, regardless of his real nationality, the extent of his time at Wammy's House or the number of years he really lived in England, he's been kept by the definitely-English Watari since he was very small.
In Monster, Reichwein - conscious that Roberto is about to kill him - offers him tea and begins boiling water. The tea never ends up being made, but the boiling water on Roberto's face is a bonafide Crowning Moment of Awesome.
When the embodiment of the Gate to Heaven (looking like a early-teens girl) showed up in Ah! My Goddess!, she asked to try tea. Unfortunately, she'd heard about adding milk and sugar but not that it wasn't appropriate with Japanese green tea. Her facial expression on tasting it ranks among the funniest in the series.
In Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, both the Ushiromiya family and the witches really like their tea, and the things that happen in the 'tea party' segment of each Episode are often very important to the plot.
Averted in Hellsing. Despite the painstakingly detailed British setting there isn't a cup of tea to be seen - even in a scene taking place at a cafe the characters don't drink or eat a thing.
Excel Saga: In the anime Pedro and Gomez sustain a round of quips while drinking tea, until Iz-chan admonishes them to begin actually fighting.
The St. Gloriana Girls Academy in Girls Und Panzer who run on British tanks (one Churchill and four Matilda II). The girls are all named after different tea brands, and they never lose their style, wearing immaculate red uniforms and drinking tea on fine porcelain crockery in the midst of the combat. They give tea sets as gifts for teams deemed as Worthy Opponent.
It is Word Of God in One Piece that is Brook was from the real world, he would be from England, and he drinks tea a lot of time.
The Affably Evil Devil in Shade, the Changing Man always drinking tea while smoking his pipe, and offered Shade some (with no other consequence.) After their deal went sour and Shade removed the source of his power, Shade punished him by banishing him to part of the Area of Madness where they only drank strong black coffee.
During the Cobra Civil War in the Marvel G.I. Joe comics, Destro's Iron Grenadiers arrived on Cobra Island, took over the airfield... and promptly broke for lunch and tea. They actually stayed out of the conflict until the end, as all Destro wanted was the Baroness.
One arc of Prince Valiant has a Feudal Overlord trying to cultivate tea on his lands, in Northern Europe, in the Middle Ages. Much to the detriment of his peasants whom Valiant and co. decide to help.
In Winter War, an obsession with tea is one of the few things that Aizen shares with La Résistance against him. The latter always serve it at their meetings, and Isane even takes the time before a battle to brew one last pot of tea. While in Karakura on the Resistance's business, Lt. Hinamori also makes a point of getting some Earl Grey tea for Lt. Sasakibe, since it's his favorite and he hasn't been able to get any for some time because of the war.
In Ah!Archfall!, Jago is not only British but likes tea enough to have a bivie (a giant kettle otherwise found in British tanks) fitted to his Unimog.
Despite the title, the anthology film Coffee and Cigarettes has Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina (fail to) bond over a pot of tea.
Major General Urquhart: Hancock. I've got lunatics laughing at me from the woods. My original plan has been scuppered now that the jeeps haven't arrived. My communications are completely broken down. Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?
Corporal Hancock: Couldn't hurt, sir.
[Urquhart accepts his mug of tea]
Similarly, an American officer is quite angry with a British unit that had stopped for tea rather than pressing on to rescue the paratroopers under attack in Arnhem. They actually had orders to hold up, so that the British column didn't get too spread out and vulnerable to counterattack.
In Dog Soldiers, after the soldiers have barricaded themselves into the farmhouse and fought off the pack of werewolves (for now), Coop orders one of the lads to put the kettle on. "We could all do with a brew."
In How I Won the War a British patrol crossing the North African desert stops for a brew-up. Their foppish lieutenant starts talking about how incredible it is that sand always ends up in one's cup — and the camera pans down the line of soldiers, each of whom dump another spoonful of sand into the lieutenant's cup before handing it to him.
In Time After Time, H.G. Wells time-travels to modern-day America. He eats at a McDonald's, parroting the incomprehensible order of the guy in front of him until, to his surprise and relief, he sees tea on the menu board.
Mary Poppins has the famous scene where Mary, Burt, Uncle Albert, and the children have a tea party on the ceiling. It came about because Mary was annoyed Uncle Albert's contagious laughing disease might make them miss tea time, and thus just made the tea set and table float. You can't stop these people from enjoying tea!
Similar to the Asterix example above, Carry On Cleo contains this line:
Mark Antony: You know I just don't get these Britons; everytime we get a good punch up going, someone behind the line yells "Tea's up!" and they all disappear!
In The Fellowship of the Ring, the hobbits (being essentially British everymen) drink tea when they can get away with it. E.g. Bilbo offers Gandalf tea at his home, and brews it while they're catching up on news.
Near the end of the film The Others, Ms Mills offers Grace a cup of tea after Grace has just realized that she murdered her own children and that the three of them are now ghosts. But tea will make her feel better!
In Cradle Of Fear, Melissa spends the day seeing demonic faces all over the streets. She visits her friend Nikki, and explains the story, who then offers her a cup of tea to calm down.
NSFW AT ALL, scene at 5:50 (seriously, clip starts with nudity)
The stokers and engineers on the Titanic in A Night to Remember are seen drinking one last cup of tea as they find out they need to remain below decks and help isn't coming.
In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs the world suffers a worldwide food storm, giant sandwiches fall in Paris, doughnuts and hotdog mustard falls in New York; and London gets a rain of hot tea. The Londoners start to run around with cups held to the air collecting it, even if they do sound and look as afraid as everyone else.
A Nice Cup Of Tea by George Orwell, as mentioned in the article. He also mentions some Serious Business debates popular in England; tea in bag, in a sieve, or freely floating in the tea? Milk in tea or tea in milk? Sugar or no sugar?
Douglas Adams also rather liked tea. A Running Gag through all incarnations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is Arthur's inability to get anything resembling tea anywhere in the galaxy, no matter how carefully he describes it to the ship's onboard computer, getting something "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea".
Adams wrote instructions to Americans on how to make a proper pot of tea (explaining that most of the reason Americans don't like it is that they've never had decent stuff), and these appear in The Salmon Of Doubt.
The Infinite Improbability Drive was also created with a cup of tea.
Arthur did get a pot of "the best tea he'd ever tasted" in a silver teapot with a cup of fine bone china after he took quite some time telling the computer about what exactly he wanted. Unfortunately, the request put the computer offline for some time, just as a Vogon ship came passing by. The rest of the crew of the Heart of Gold were not amused and Ford sarcastically joked about whether Arthur was "dying" for a cup of tea.
Arthur's detailed request merely crashed the computer. It was Zaphod Beeblebrox IV who actually produced the tea.
Naturally, comes up a bit in the Harry Potter series. Most notably, the trio usually have tea when they visit Hagrid. Dumbledore's drink of choice, however, seems to be hot chocolate. The trio even drink tea more and more as they get older (when they're kids they drink pumpkin juice), and Professor Umbridge even attempts to feed Harry truth serum using tea. Harry winces at how much sugar Umbridge puts in her tea. Dudley at one point leaves a cup of tea for Harry as a peace offering. Harry and Cho go to a tea house on their first (only) date. Ron mentions that his mother offers to make tea when someone's upset. (She is shown later serving tea to an unhappy Tonks.) When it looks like Mrs. Weasley is about to become very angry, Harry suggests to his friends that maybe they should go out for tea.
Though Harry and Cho go to the tea house to drink coffee on their date.
Very frequently used in the Aunt Dimity series. Despite being born and raised in Chicago, Lori is a firm believer in the restorative effects of tea. Thanks to this and the general setting, tea consumption is quite high in the series.
In Neverwhere, "The first part of the Ordeal of the Key is the nice cup of tea." It's said that if you knew what the Ordeals consisted of, you'd want a good cup of tea inside you before facing them. When Richard emerges, he asks for the tea.
Like Adams and Orwell, Neil Gaiman also wrote an entry about making good cups of tea.
The most high-profile subversion of "the British drink tea" is James Bond, who (in the books) repeatedly states that he dislikes tea and prefers Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee (a high-quality coffee that he drinks when martinis are not available).
He has mentioned that he favors Yin Hao (the highest traditional grade of Jasmine Tea which fits his character of prefering the finer things in life).
As a habit picked up from the Valhallans, Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) has developed a strong taste for tanna tea (chifir, Russian prison tea), and is often seen drinking it during meetings and when in his quarters. It is no surprise that the people recognize this habit of his and therefore bring tanna tea to meetings just because of this.
Valhallans themselves surely count as well, being space Russians. In Death or Glory, the first Imperial Guard unit that managed to join with the Liberator was Valhallans. Cain's guess that they should have some flasks with tanna was proven correct. And the latest book casually mentions that "samovar in the corner is a common modification for Valhallan vehicles".
It isn't Camellia sinensis, but in C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series the alien atevi drink a lot of different herbal infusions. Unfortunately, most varieties contain toxins which are fatal to humans.
In the Liaden Universe, Liadens usually drink tea, while Terrans prefer coffee.
There's also a great exchange in Carpe Jugulum where Granny Weatherwax, having just been bitten by vampires, is tied to a bed and severely feverish. Hodgesaargh the falconer's optimistic response: "Best to face her with a cup of tea inside you, then." (He then uses Granny's fever to boil the tea.)
A cup of tea is also instrumental in defeating the book's vampires.
In Unseen Academicals, Juliet is apparently not very good at making tea (or at most housework in general, except standing around and looking pretty). "The tea was a brown color characteristic of tea, and usually the only tea-like characteristic of tea made by Juliet."
The Ankh-Morpork City Watch apparently favor a brew akin to British "builder's tea" (strong, cheap and in large quantities), and Sam is horrified when his wife, Lady Sybil, ignorantly but well-meaningly cleans out years of built-up residue from the Watch-house tea urn - apparently an act of sacrilege.
The subtleties of that are probably not apparent to a non-British readership. According to stereotype - with a fair bit of Truth in Television - the upper class version of tea is a fairly insipid, pale brew made in a silver teapot which is kept scrupulously clean, whereas lower-class tea is a powerful, strongly-flavoured, strongly-coloured drink with hair on its chest, made in a pot which is never, ever cleaned out (used tea leaves are rinsed out, but that is all) and contains years' worth of encrusted tannin deposits, which are left in there on purpose because it makes the tea taste better than a shiny clean pot. The debate over whether one should maintain the pot in a pristine or an encrusted state is another British tea-drinking controversy.
In Good Omens, Mr. Young, a quintessential mild-mannered middle-class Brit, is offered coffee by a nurse who has mistaken him for the American cultural attache. When he insists on tea instead, the nurse is impressed by the extent to which Mr. Young has "gone native."
Space Captain Smith and his crew are often found drinking tea. The second novel, God Emperor of Didcot elevates tea to Spice of Life status, being what gives the British Space Empire an edge over it's enemies by improving moral fibre.
Although he's Irish instead of British (close enough), Artemis Fowl likes his Earl Grey tea. And he's twelve when the series starts.
Tea is common in Derek Robinson's novels, only fitting since they're about British fighter pilots. What else would they drink? Besides gallons of Guiness, I mean. Tea is drunk before and after patrols and air battles, and the commandoes crossing the Sahara also stop for tea whenever they have to.
In one memorable scene, a Jerk Ass pilot gets a spot of tea thrown in his face. "Can't he take a joke?"
Although in another memorable scene, a man leaves a bomb shelter in the middle of an air raid for his regular cup of mid-morning coffee.
Judge Dee downs gallons of tea in the course of his cases. In fact he hits the teapot the way Sam Spade hits the bottle. This being Imperial China everybody else is equally addicted (except for his faithful Lieutenants Ma Joon and Chiao Tai who prefer 'the amber liquid' ie: wine). A cuppa is even offered to witnesses and criminals in court, to revive them after a round of beating or being overpowered by emotion.
Bertie Wooster can get pretty cranky if deprived of his tea, which he refers to as "the life-saving" or "the vital oolong".
The stereotype gets lampshaded in the story "The Aunt and the Sluggard" when Bertie, who's staying in New York, serves tea to his friend's visiting aunt. She's disgusted by it and can't comprehend his enthusiasm: "I don't understand a word you say. You're English, aren't you?"
Bravo Two Zero: Stuck behind enemy lines with no working radio with what looks like half the Iraqi army after you, in a freak snowstorm so cold Diesel starts to freeze, and you can’t possibly risk giving away your positions with a fire? Sod it: stick a brew on before you freeze to death.
"It isn't time yet. It can't be tea-time even, leastways not in decent places where there is tea-time." Sam in The Return of the King.
Since Sam is a lower-class hobbit, it is probable that he is referring to high tea rather than the traditionally upper-class afternoon tea.
In The Hobbit, Bilbo offers his unexpected dwarf guests tea, only to find that they'd rather drink up all his wine instead.
Also important to the good creatures of Redwall, particularly the Big Eater hares. Technically it's peppermint tea, since they're in Medieval Stasis, but it's close enough. Basil Stag Hare actually disappears shortly before an important skirmish to set the tea brewing for when the captives are rescued, much to Matthias' annoyance.
It could be real tea anyway; the Redwallers have been seen to use potatoes, sugar, nutmeg, and a few other things that aren't native to medieval Europe.
Subverted in the Aubrey Maturin series. Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin are both inveterate coffee drinkers, and Maturin goes so far as to describe tea as "that insipid wash."
Given that the only tea they would have had at sea would have been already soggy, salty, Royal Navy issue leaves, then they were probably right. Coffee beans last longer, and the Royal Navy could also make a substitute by burning bread and then pouring hot water on the ash.
Amelia Peabody, being a British archeologist in turn-of-the-century Egypt, quite frequently discusses the plot with other characters while passing out "the genial beverage," as she often call tea (though sometimes, after tense moments, "the genial beverage" is whiskey and soda).
Subverted by James Bond, of all people. He much prefers coffee, attributing tea as being the sole cause of everything wrong with the British Empire. No wonder he gets sent out of the country so often.
The very colonial Eugene in Purple Hibiscus drinks tea from a china tea set every day.
In Robert Westall's Sci-fi novel Futuretrack Five, making a perfect cup of tea from a bone china set without spilling a single tea leaf is part of the testing process for a senior position in the Technican career path.
In Katherine Mansfield's short story "A Cup of Tea," well-to-do housewife Rosemary, out to prove that she is not selfish or superficial, brings home a young woman in distressed circumstances, vowing to do more than just give her the requested title beverage, but transform her life. When Rosemary's husband returns home and notes that the girl is 'rather pretty', said young lady is quickly dispatched with a little money, and equilibrium seems to be restored.
Mma Ramotswe of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency loves redbush tea (rooibos). Her assistant Mma Makutse prefers regular tea, which causes a lot of unnecessary angst until people are frank about their preferences, after which we always have two different teapots going.
A one-off joke in Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell has the narrator mention an officer in Wellington's army teaching some recently recruited Native Americans*
to drink tea, and remarks that he was apparently under the impression that once one learned to take tea properly, all other customs of Britishness would come naturally.
Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Elves like their tea. The older generation likes it bland to the point it's hard to find any kind of flavoring in their capital. Briza's generation likes it sweeter. In any case, a guest must accept the tea as it is brewed or give great offense.
In Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels, the detectives are nearly always offered a cup of tea when they go to someone's house to interview them.
In the Phryne Fisher novels, Mr Butler regards a cup of tea as the panacea for every female problem.
Live Action TV
Coronation Street naturally has this in spades arguably one of the the most common phrases uttered on the show (other than "a pint of bitter please" natch) is "I'll make tea then" Eileen Grimshaw practically uses this as her catchphrase.
Eastenders too. It's often offered when someone visits, when a character enters the kitchen in the morning, when someone's upset, when someone dies, when they're depressed...well all the time.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Captain Jean-Luc Picard likes his "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot". A strange choice considering he's French. But he is played by the most British actor in the world: Patrick Stewart. (Funnily enough, in the finale he gets called out on his ordering style by Data's British maid. "Well of course it's hot! What do you want in it?" Of course, Star Trek is an American franchise, and in the US, tea is often served ice cold.)
English Doctor Julian Bashir also seems to be rather fond of the stuff, which he likes to have with scones and jam for breakfast. He also frequently orders Tarkalean tea from the Replimat. Unlike TNG, however, most characters drink a Klingon coffee drink called a raktajino.
In one episode, the Cardassian resident Garak had the audacity to criticize Earl Grey tea, saying "I'd like to meet that fellow Earl Grey and tell him a thing or two about tea leaves." Cardassians seem to prefer red leaf tea and Cardassian characters are seen drinking it in different episodes.
Giles is fairly fond of tea, but has been known to violate people's expectations and drink coffee instead. Xander accuses him of destroying a perfectly good stereotype. "Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense." Highlighting Giles drinking coffee is an in-joke. Before Tony Head played Giles, he was widely recognised in Britain as "The guy from the Kenco coffee adverts."
Spike, also British, still manages to mock Giles about tea after a vicious fight with vampires: "Oh, poor Watcher, did your life flash before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea?"
Cordelia: "I thought you were gonna be a man and talk to him about this!" Wesley: "I was a man! I said... things." Cordelia: "Like what?" Wesley: "Like... did he prefer milk or sugar in his tea. (Pause) It's how men talk about things in England."
In an episode of M* A* S* H, Hawkeye gets upset that the British give their wounded tea...even when they have abdominal wounds, as this increases the chances of infection and death. Upon finding out, the British officer promises to stop the custom in his unit, though he adds that he would have had an easier time revoking anything other than the tea ration.
On Merlin, Merlin and Gaius drink tea, which many claimed was an anachronism; however, the word 'tea' can be applied to infusions which aren't made with tea leaves, so it's best to assume that what they're drinking is made with some other herb. Arguably acceptable as a Translation Convention, but for the record there is an English word (tisane) that more properly means "herbal infusion beverage of any source".
As mentioned above, in Doctor Who the Doctor is revived from his post-regeneration coma by the smell of spilled tea. (Or possibly, the tea was being evaporated against a piece of hot metal in the TARDIS, and was being breathed into his lungs.)
Earlier in the same episode, Jackie decides that hiding in the TARDIS from the current alien invasion is an excellent time and place for a "nice cup of tea", prompting Rose to mutter sarcastically about tea being "the solution to everything".
When the Doctor was U.N.I.T.'s scientific advisor, no one at was allowed in his personal laboratory unescorted except for the Brigadier's personal staff... and the tea lady.
Tea also gets an end-of-story thumbs-up from the 5th Doctor in The Awakening.
Turlough: I quite miss that brown liquid they drink here. Will: Ale? Turlough: No, tea. Will: What be tea? The Doctor: Oh, a noxious infusion of Oriental leaves containing a high percentage of toxic acid. Will: Sounds an evil brew, don't it? The Doctor: True. [Beat] Personally, I rather like it.
In one of the Doctor Who Expanded UniverseEighth Doctor Adventures novels, there's a part where the TARDIS has been lost and the Doctor's companion Fitz is reminiscing about how they used to drink tea together when they did have the TARDIS. He goes on at quite some length about their little rituals and favorite types of tea. It's really quite sweet, not to mention the Ho Yay.
In another of the Doctor Who Expanded Universenovels, a planetoid has just been invaded by the Fifth Axis. The aliens are being deported or put in concentration camps. Some of the good guys seemed to have turned traitor. The main character's half-alien son is in hiding, and the planetoid's omniscient chess master, Braxiatel, is unable to figure out how this happened. So this conversation happens between them:
"Bernice," he said. "This can't be happening."
"No," she shook her head. "It's not."
"In that case," he said, gesturing to two armchairs. "Let's have tea."
In the newest series the British Army has a force of Daleks in World War II, and what use do they find for them? Serve the tea, of course (Alright, and to use as an unstoppable superweapon, which is almost as useful).
In "The Lodger", the Doctor proceeds to cure Craig of an alien poison with, you guessed it...
There's tea in it, but nobody in their right mind would ever call it tea.
Tea is even mentioned in the final lines of the series' original run:
The Doctor: "There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace — we’ve got work to do!"
Rita jokes about it in The God Complex, stating that the British deal with trauma by drinking tea and tutting.
Father Ted is a rare television example of the Irish fondness for tea, Ireland being the country with the third highest per capita consumption (after the UK and Turkey). Mrs Doyle has the famous catchphrase 'will you have a cup of tea father' and almost has a breakdown when Ted buys her a tea making machine.
That's not so much the tea itself as the making of the tea. Including but not limited to "sheep tea" (That is, tea made for sheep, not made from or using sheep) for the burping sheep who was living in the parish after being scared by stories of the Beast. Yep, it's that kind of show.
Her desire to make tea is often quite alarming. Once, someone politely declined another cup of tea and moved his hand over the top of the cup, and she proceded to pour fresh hot tea into it anyway... oh, and she stays up all night every night at the bottom of the stairs in case anyone happens to wake up and want tea.
Adelle DeWitt on Dollhouse, although she tends to drink green tea.
Although, she's just as if not more partial to vodka.
The UK car show Top Gear often shows its presenters making or having cups of tea, usually in bizarre situations for the sake of comedy.
For example, when their amphibious car began to sink whilst they were in the middle of the English Channel, cut to a few minutes later, revealing James and Richard are now nonchalantly drinking tea whilst treading water.
James May, of Top Gear fame but co-presenting another show in which he joins Oz Clarke on a drinking holiday thinly disguised as a factual miniseries about wine in France, spends about 15 minutes of one episode looking for a British expat just to get his fix of a good cup of tea, and several minutes explaining exactly how to make it. Then in the followup series Drink To Britain, in which he and Oz search for the drink that stands for modern Britain, they conclude after a month of touring Britain and liberally sampling everything alcoholic it has to offer, that the drink is in fact... tea.
Magnus of Sanctuary refuses to drink coffee, it's how she solves one of their cases.
Magnus: I have standards, Will, and drinking coffee? Far below them.
The Prisoner demonstrates the proper way to make tea as an excuse to empty his drugged cup, and slip drugs to the person trying to drug him.
Dead Like Me has a scene where British expat Mason goes to great lengths to mooch off a dead old lady's tea while he's supposed to be reaping her soul.
On Heroes Noah Bennet is trying to get information out of an English guy named Edgar. When he tries the Good Cop routine, he asks Edgar if he'd like some tea, then immediately remarks that, Edgar being English, there was really no need to ask.
In Being Human, it is mentioned that Annie has an annoying habit of fixing tea purely out of habit - she can't drink it so cups of the stuff are just left sitting around, so George can never find any empty mugs when he needs them. She does make coffee and other drinks though.
You know Bilis Manger from Torchwood is bad news from the way he can make even the offer of a "nice cup of tea" sound ominous.
In Hogan's Heroes, one of the main characters, who is British, is drinking tea while the others are using a radio to contact a British submarine which is transferring the message to England. Both the captain of the submarine and the commander of the base in England were also drinking tea at the same time.
In the Frasier episode "Travels With Martin", the Cranes accidentally take the (British) Daphne into Canada, which since she hasn't got her Green Card yet means trouble. Martin asks if Daphne can pretend to be American at the border, which naturally she can't:
Daphne: Oh, I need a cup of tea! Frasier:TEA! Why don't you just wave a crumpet in the air and start singing, "God Save The Queen"!!
In Spaced, Tim and Daisy are drinking tea having just moved into the flat. Daisy offers another cup: Tim responds, "Nah, twelve's my limit."
Subverted in Keeping Up Appearances, where Hyacinth regularly invites her neighbours for a cup of coffee. Members of her sister's family prefer tea but they usually drink it from the old chipped mugs (much to Hyacinth's chagrin) and generally don't make much fuss about the way they prepare it.
QI comments on this when they're discussing using the boiling point of water to determine your altitude:
Sandi Toksvig: It's such a British notion, isn't it. I wonder how tall it is; let's make tea. ... We couldn't live in [the Mariana] Trench, you can't make tea!
Almost every episode of Are You Being Served? had some sort of reference to tea— Tea breaks, putting the kettle on, tea at meetings, and a tea trolley at one point.
Mentioned briefly by the Hitcher in The Mighty Boosh during his titular song, while listing off all things British/Cockney:
The Hitcher: Trapped in a box by a Cockney nutjob. Have a cup of tea, have a cup of tea! I'm the Hitcher!
Sharpe, in spite of being a ranker at heart, drinks more tea than liquor on-screen. Granted, this is the British army.
Dr. Wyatt in Bones is stereotyped as a tea-drinking Englishman.
Tea makes several prominent appearances in Sherlock, although Sherlock does drink coffee in his first appearance. Like most Brits, John has a favourite mug, with the Royal Army Medical Corps logo on it. In the second episode, a client makes Chinese tea with hundred-year-old tea pots, and it becomes an important plot point that the antique pots have to be used regularly. In "A Scandal in Belgravia", John and Sherlock drink tea at Buckingham Palace with Mycroft and a client he is introducing to them. Mycroft is "mother", and Sherlock makes a joke about Mycroft's Self-Promotion To Parent. In "The Reichenbach Fall", Moriarty and Sherlock drink tea while discussing crime and genius. Notably, this is the only time they're seen using "the best china" - getting it out of the cupboard is incredibly dramatic.
Averted in An Ungentlemanly Act. Two Royal Marines are watching Argentine troops advancing towards them through the streets of Port Stanley when an old lady comes out with a tea tray and asks if they'd like some. She's rudely informed that there's a bl—dy war on and to get under cover.
In the prank-show Beadle's About, after a housewife discovered an alien spaceship in her garden with it's otherworldly occupant emerging out of it, her first thought was to ask if it wanted a cup of tea? When asked later why she asked that of all things, she replied that he'd clearly had a long trip and it was good manners to offer him a drink!
Harold: Oh, ain't it pathetic? Your faith in the healing powers of a cup of tea! That's your answer to everything, ain't it? A nice cup of tea. The Englishman's panacea! "Mother just died? Oh, what a shame! Have a cup of tea" "Just been run over? Never mind, have a cup of tea". I have been offered tea for disasters, funerals, operations, floods, war, Dunkirk, the Blitz, coronations, piles, hysteria, hunger marches and insomnia. Nice mug of tea in one hand and thumbs up for the camera with the other. Britain can take it! Well, they can have it. I'm sick and tired of being a cheerful, chirpy Cockney sparrow. I am as entitled to be as miserable and as depressed as anybody else. So you can stick your cup of tea right back down the spout!
In NCIS Los Angeles, the team's boss Hetty Lange loves tea so much that when Callen and Sam wanted to do an op in Afghanistan, they convinced her to sign off on it by promising to bring back a bag of tea.
Ray Davies of The Kinks has written a few songs on the subject of tea and tea-drinking (but then, what else would you expect from the quintessentially British band?).
One of their songs praising the drink, "Have A Cuppa Tea", has been covered by Great Big Sea.
Paul McCartney has a song called "English Tea."
Mitch Benn, on The Now Show, singing about the crew of an RAF aircraft who used a teapot in an improvised repair:
No, we never fly without our teapot. It's the most important item in our kit. And if we ever find we've left the bally thing behind, Then we abort the job and fly right back for it.
Emilie Autumn, an American musician, employs a lot of Victorian aspects into her image, tea being probably the most important part after the asylum chic.
Mr Scruff. He doesn't sing about tea, but he loves it so much that, upset that there weren't any non-alcoholic options (bar soft drinks) at clubs and DJ sets for people who needed to drive or didn't want to drink, Mr Scruff started setting up a stall selling tea at his DJ sets. Now he has his own fair trade tea business, Make Us A Brew
Fellow chap-hopper Professor Elemental has Cup of Brown Joy, in which he raps about his insane love of tea. "I'd sell my own grandmother for a cup. Well, I'd sell your grandmother."
He also has "Everything Stops For Tea", featuring the lyrics "Oh the soldiers may be fighting, in the Trenches or a Battleship at sea, but there isn't any war when the clock strikes four, everything stops for tea."
In The Beatles song "It's All Too Much," George Harrison lightens up the psychedelic exploration theme with the line "Show me that I'm everywhere, / And get me home for tea."
Sting, "Englishman In New York":
"I don't drink coffee I take tea my dear"
The KLF's The Manual (which instructs the users on how to create a #1 charting single the easy way) includes dozens of references to tea. "Put a kettle on" is Rockman Rock and Kingboy D's default response to any situation where the reader has to wait for someone.
"Right, Said Fred," a comedy song from the the 1960s sung by Bernard Cribbins, featured no less than six tea breaks.
Ned Seagoon, in the Indian quarter of Bombay, is offered "all the sensuous drinks of the Orient". His response?
Peter Kay has a routine about the different dunking properties of biscuits, another about how "Wanna brew?" is invariably accompanied by a hand gesture, and a third about his dad attempting to smuggle tea along with other British products through Spanish customs.
In Johnny Johnson, Johnny uses tea to defuse a conflict between an English sergeant and an Irish-American soldier. The English soldiers then spontaneously burst out in a chorus praising "England and her tea."
Many of the endings for Touhou games feature its protagonist Reimu Hakurei having tea parties with other characters, especially those who were her enemies in the game.
The Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Remilia Scarlet is also quite fond of her tea, which may or may not contain blood. (Like in many other areas, the canon is inconsistent on this detail.)
In the ending of each level in 8 Eyes, your protagonist shares tea with his opponent after beating them in a Boss Battle/sword duel.
BlazBlue'sElegant GothicVampire Rachel practically obsesses over tea. Her most common entrance has her enjoying a cup before battle. She belittles Hakumen by ordering tea at the start of their Boss Battle. Her console story mode begins with a cup of tea, and ends with the same one in her Ragna Ending.
In Arc System Works' other mainstay Guilty Gear Ky Kiske is shown to greatly enjoy tea. However, he's not shown to be British and is in fact, French.
Armed And Dangerous has Q, a robot that achieved sentience though his love of tea, tea can also be used to restore health.
The European-raised Edgeworth in Ace Attorney enjoys tea so much he's even got a tea-drinking sprite in Investigations.
He also owns an expensive tea set and a large collection of tea leaves in his office. Curiously, in the original Japanese version of the games Edgeworth was actually raised in America. The world might never know where he picked up his tea drinking habits from.
Professor Layton enjoys his tea. In fact, one of the minigames in Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box involves brewing up different blends of tea using herbs found in certain puzzles and helping several people you come across by serving them their preferred tea. Finish this sidequest, and Layton receives the title of Tea Master. Said tea is given to people suffering from things like the chills, mild anxiety, forgetfulness, and in at least one case, thirst.
Referenced by Cammy in Street Fighter IV; in her win quote against Guile, she asks if what she heard about the American military is true, that they don't allow breaks for tea.
Dudley in Super Street Fighter IV begins his story and ends his story drinking tea. With boxing gloves.
Dirk Valentine treats tea as a Healing Potion. The love for it is described as one of the few things the hero has in common with the "ungodly rotters" he fights.
Major Zero in Metal Gear Solid 3 insists on having his tea and scones, even while in the middle of a mission and cruising at high altitude in soviet airspace.
Major Zero: The origins of afternoon tea go back to the Victorian Era. Anna Maria, the sevent Duchess of Bedford, was...
While it can hardly be called British in nature, it otherwise fits the trope: in the Subspace Emissary portion of Super Smash Bros Brawl,Princess Peach decides to stop a fight (that is just beginning) between Fox and Sheikby offering them each a cup of tea. On top of the enemy's airship. And it works. (Or rather she offers one to Fox who, along with the camera, looks over to Sheik, who somehow already has a cup and is drinking it though her mask)
Vice President Richard Hawk from Metal Wolf Chaos may be devious (and very American), but he still loves his tea.
In Arcanum, recruiting Gar as a follower requires you to start a debate with him regarding the merits of green tea over Earl Grey.
Lilly Satou from Katawa Shoujo is particularly fond of French Vanilla tea. This is maybe unsurprising given her Scottish heritage.
In Uncharted Waters - New Horizons, the English player character Otto Baynes marks himself as unmistakably English in his first line of dialogue by ordering a cup of tea in the cafe (and addressing the owner as "old chap") - even though tea didn't arrive in England until about 150 years after the game is set.
The trope picture is of Professor Raven of El Goonish Shive, who is certainly British-themed if not actually British (he's half- elf immortal, making him an elf).
Most of the cast of Jayden And Crusader drink tea as shown here, here and here Interestingly the most British, Sir Reginald 'Smic' Derby III, has never been shown drinking tea. Jayden, the American, drinks coffee. A point explicitly made.
Despite being (presumably) German or Austrian (going by the names), Gil built a construct when he was eight that makes tea (and is very concerned about Agatha stealing his job).
Ardsley Wooster, Gil's British manservant and the 'verse's version of James Bond knows how Gil takes his tea.
Baron Wulfenbach's second-in-command/administrative assistant/personal secretary Boris Dolokhov has proven himself to be fond of tea and doughnuts, and has learned how to make a decent cuppa. Then again, his name indicates he is Russian, and Russians love tea too.
The Jägergenerals, in their first appearance, share a large and elaborate afternoon tea with Agatha.
The Monster in the Darkness from The Order of the Stick enjoys having tea parties, though it doesn't seem to notice if its guests are unconscious or dead.
While Phix of Wapsi Square is not actually British (she predates modern Britain), she does fit the theme, using British slang, an speaking with a British accent according to the author, and she usually seems to have some tea on hand. She apparently prefers Earl Grey.
Occasionally referenced on Scary Go Round, in particular a T-shirt bearing the slogan Tea, tea, the musical drink, the more you sup the more you THINK.
Gunnerkrigg Court—English author, set in England—has a character named Tea, who acts as a somewhat Lemony Narrator between chapters. The actual trope is averted; tea-the-beverage has yet to make an appearance, if only because characters are almost never shown eating or drinking.
Exception: Quincy Archer, a Survival of the Fittest character who often tries to emphasize his Britishness, "fucking hate[s] tea."
In the obligatory Whateley Universe example, all the East Asian characters (even those who only look Asian as a result of their mutation or magical transformation) love their tea.
Team Kimba now has a weekly tea party every Sunday, where they relax, drink tea, and just chat about stuff. It seems to be proving quite therapeutic, which isn't terribly surprising considering the wringers they all regularly get put through.
In webseries The Autobiography Of Jane Eyre, a Setting Update of the Gothic novel, set in Vancouver in the new tens, Jane mentions in her very first video that she drinks tea a lot. She says she's probably made of Earl Grey, camomile and mint. Possibly nod back to the original novel.
Iroh of Avatar The Last Airbender, whose passion for drinking tea reaches an almost obssessive level, risks personal health and safety for the sake of a good cup of tea. Naturally, his greatest dream is to open his own tea shop. Though he's not very British, he is Chinese, and that's more than enough... or he's Japanese... or Korean... or he's from a fictional nation whose culture amalgamates features of several cultures across the Orient, all of whom love tea.
Iroh: Bah! This tea is nothing but hot leaf juice! Zuko: Uncle. That's what all tea is. Iroh: How could a member of my own family say something so horrible?
Zuko: We’ve ben working in a tea shop all day. I’m sick of tea!
Iroh: Sick of tea? That’s like being sick of breathing!
In Ivor The Engine, Jones the Steam routinely makes tea using the water from Ivor's boiler.
On Pinky And The Brain, one of Brain's schemes is to freeze Big Ben at teatime, thus forcing the entire United Kingdom into inaction as they enjoy a teatime without end.
In Rocky and Bullwinkle's "Peabody's Incredible Histories" segment about Lawrence of Arabia, he dresses up in standard Bedouin garb, but then manages to expose himself as a British spy just by saying:
Teatime, chaps! Anyone for crumpets?
Peabody's used this one a few times; when helping the Marquis of Queensberry get into an actual fight so he could understand it well enough to create his set of rules for modern boxing, Peabody, at tea time, orders a cup of tea for himself and Sherman and a cup of coffee for the Marquis, which sends the waiter into an uncontrollable fit of rage. Apparently calling it a matter of national pride is a considerable understatement.
In The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Rival", when part of Homer's sugar pile was stolen by a Brit.
Homer: All right pal, where did you get the sugar for that tea?
British Man: I nicked it when you let your guard down for that split second and I'd do it again. (sips tea) Goodbye.
In Disney's The Sword in the Stone, Merlin offers Wart (Arthur) a cup of tea, complete with magically animated sugar bowl. (It's just one of many anachronisms in the movie; not to worry.)
The Looney Tunes cartoon "Porky's Road Race" (1937, Tashlin) has four British figures in a car labeled "Cheerio Special". When they notice it's 4:00, they each down a cup of tea, then turn to us and say "Pip-pip cheerio!"
The Danger Mouse episode "Ee-Tea!" practically revolves around this.
The Hector Heathcote cartoon "The Famous Ride" has Hector squaring off with a British soldier who is never seen without his cuppa.