"builder's tea"

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Senior Member

calling all british forum members: what's the proper definition of a "builder's tea"?

(i thought it was strong "normal tea" (e.g. something like what we call "english breakfast" in sweden :) with milk, but without sugar. but now i'm not sure.....so what sort of tea, how strong, milk? (and if so what kind), sugar?)

  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I would say that "builder's tea" would be strong but milky tea, it's quite likely to have sugar. A popular blend is also implied, typically "P.G. Tips". It describes the sort of "working men's" tea that builders drink in their breaks at the building site. It can also be had in the traditional cafe that sells fried breakfasts (usually all day!). It's made in a large metal teapot which is topped up with boiling water from a spigot (in a cafe, that is). The bags are often left to "stew" - too long for more refined tastes! If left a cup of builder's tea will accumulate a scum of tannin.

    True builder's tea is a British delicacy, and highly prized ;)


    Senior Member
    English UK
    I found this via google, but I don't think I can improve on it, except to say I wouldn't dream of giving a builder a chipped mug:eek:

    Builder's tea comes in a mug - preferably chipped - and is usually accompanied by two biscuits (cookies, for you non-Brits). Theoretically it should be capable of stripping and staining tooth enamel and is best taken with heaped teaspoons of white, granulated sugar and a large dollop of full-fat milk.



    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Builders' tea would, once upon a time, have been brewed in a billy-can over an open fire, in summer, or over a coke brazier in winter.
    It was prepared as a communal drink and was certainly strong and sweet - typically having been boiled for a considerable time.
    It included milk - condensed milk, from a tin.
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