Tea Time

Still raining here, still grey, cold and drizzly, and unable to head out for a photo shoot for my knitting, I sat at my desk to work.  At about three, as is my custom, I put on the kettle. 

Tea time.  Most of my friends do it I think… I know that as I put on the kettle at my house, That RachelH and Denny were both setting theirs on the stove at the about the same time, getting ready for that most restorative cuppa, the thing that sorts the afternoon, hits the reset button and fortifies you for the rest of your day.  Especially if the weather is foul, a cuppa tea at about three or three-thirty is a comforting and nearly necessary thing.. isn’t it?

I remember being a little girl, coming home from school in the snow, ice or rain, and the pot being poured as I came in.  I got a cup of hot tea (mostly milk) and toast.  (If my mum was feeling generous, this toast would have cinnamon and sugar melting into the butter.) When my girls were little, I did the same, and even now they all drink oceans of tea, especially in the face of disaster.

A cup of tea is still the only thing I can figure out to do if things are bad, if something upsetting has happened or if there’s been a shock of some kind.  I can’t imagine pouring someone already rickety or sad a cup of coffee – unless of course they were sad that they had no coffee, which has been the case many a morning of mine. If someone turned up at my door upset and excited, I can’t imagine saying "Hold on while I make the coffee. What you need is to turn this energy up to ELEVEN." Tea is what you drink if you’ve been dumped, if someone’s died or if the plumber says that the dripping noise you’ve been hearing all week is going to be really, really expensive.

Coffee is gas for the engine, a sort of hi-octane jittery energy that scrapes you up and jump starts a day, and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely don’t want to live in a world without it, but a plain good cup of tea, poured at just about three in the afternoon is nothing short of liquid optimism, and I feel always after I have it that things are a little better, and I can’t imagine that a cup of tea has ever made anything worse. 

Travelling recently, I noticed that aside from Tina (who may or may not have had the habit before I ran into her) almost nobody set about finding a cup of tea in the afternoon.  I wondered if it was an American/Canadian difference, or if it’s simply a matter of difference in who I usually hang out with – perhaps tea-drinkers self-select in peer groups?  (I think there’s got to be an element of culture to it.  I have never, ever, been anywhere in Canada where a request for tea brought anything other than a pot or cup of strong, black, hot, good tea and a little jug of milk, and it’s available day or night everywhere you go,   but all over the US the request for the same seems to be a variable.  Ask for "tea" and you might get a cup of hot tea, you might get iced tea, it might be sweet, it might not…in one memorable stop in the south, the best efforts of a charming server couldn’t even produce a tea bag at all.)  

I explained to Stephen (the fine young hire we’ve got on now for Knot Hysteria) that Ilove my afternoon tea, and that working from home has a terrible lack of structure, and since I have no boss, no timeclock and almost nobody to be responsible to but myself, I’ve come to cling to little structures and traditions that straighten out my day, remind me when it’s time to work and time to play – and that the afternoon tea is an important part of that.  At three I get up and stretch, put the kettle on, knit for a few minutes as the water comes to boil and then I have a my tea.  (Sometimes I have cookies too, but I try to keep it meagre.  I harbour a suspicion that having cookies every day would make them less special, and I really love cookies. Wouldn’t want to spoil it.)

After my tea, I know it’s time to go back to work…time to reapply myself to the desk.  It’s almost as though without that cup of tea I fear I wouldn’t go back to work- or that if I didn’t  stop to have it, I wouldn’t know when to quit. 

Stephen seemed a little charmed by this.  I thought perhaps it was because he’s newly working from home and trying to firm up how that works, and maybe that’s the reason why I’ve just found out that suddenly, and out of the blue, Stephen has a tea time.  He puts on the kettle, warms the pot, and makes himself a little cup of fortification.

It makes perfect sense to me, and I bet it serves him as it does me.  For today, my cup of tea is finished, and it’s back to work.

Tea time.  Do you have it?

701 thoughts on “Tea Time

  1. I have it, and today I think we were having it at the same time. British parents, hence the tea tradition. Americans in general don’t do afternoon tea, which is a real shame. It really does make everything better.

  2. I don’t like tea, but the rest of my family drinks alot of it – my mother has tea time every day.
    In the U.S. the type of tea you get depends upon the part of the country you are in. In the south you get sweet tea, which is cold, sweetened tea. In the north and west you get hot tea. In Utah, where I live, it’s against the rules of the dominant religion so it’s not quite as popular, although I only know a few places that don’t serve it.

  3. I’m British, so tea is a way of life more than anything else. For as long as i can remember it’s been a cup of tea in the morning before getting out of bed and getting on with the day. I’m with you on afternoon tea as well. Come 3pm I’m gasping! 🙂 A day without tea is like Morecambe and no Wise, bread with no butter, it just doesn’t work!

  4. I always have tea around 3….As soon as I get home with the kids I put the kettle on and we do homework.

  5. Yay! I’m English – so tea time is all the time!!! I swear I must have worn a path in the office carpet between my desk and the kettle!

  6. England runs on tea – we make it for the plumber, the decorator, the heating service engineer, our in-laws, the vicar; offering tea is basic hospitality and this Brit wouldn’t be without it!

  7. This, as I wrap my freezing hands around my tea mug – more for the daily ritual than the tea itself. A lovely post.

  8. I have it, and around the same time, On the days I work at home, It’s a whole pot, and I enjoy it over the afternoon. When in the office, I often find myself making tea in the afternoon. I remember as a kid, Sunday dinner was a noon meal, and dinner was usually tea and toasted sandwiches while we watched the Wonderful World of Disney.

  9. I don’t do a tea time, but I do have my “milk and cookies” routine when I come in from work. Today it is chocolate pretzels and milk – tomorrow it might be oatmeal cookies and milk or coffee. It always involves a sugary treat of some kind!
    Linda in VA

  10. I used to almost never drink tea. Then I spent 3 glorious months living in London in 1998, and it was far cheaper (and tastier!) to buy a cuppa tea than a soda. I’ve been an avid tea drinker since, and now that you mention it, I do tend to drink a cuppa around 3:30-ish. In fact, it’s time for tea now! 🙂

  11. I don’t do it now, but as a fellow work-from-homer, I think I need to start a new tradition.

  12. How lovely! My husband was just asking about tea yesterday — we both like it, in varying forms, but don’t drink it often. Perhaps with winter’s chill coming on, it’s time for tea here as well.

  13. I live under the delightful delusion that nothing bad can happen to me while drinking a cup of tea. Luckily, my delusion is still proved true!
    I love the ceremony of fixing a pot of tea and drinking from a nice china cup.

  14. I have tea time at 10am AND 3pm (or there abouts). It started when I was working from home and needed that structured breaktime but now that I’m back in an office I still do the 10 and 3 tea (and sometimes a cookie at 3 or if I’m feeling really naughty, at 10)

  15. I have an old house and in my kitchen is what used to be an ironing board cabinet. The ironing board is long gone, but the cabinet remains and has been filled in with shelves. They are only about 3 inches deep and 8 inches wide. This just happens to be the perfect size for boxes of tea and jars of honey. At last count we had about thirty kinds of tea and about a dozen kinds of honey.
    Anyone stopping by is likely to be offered a cup and then asked to narrow down their choices (white, green, or black…caffeine or no…herbal or real proper tea…milk or cream…sugar or honey).
    I like a cup in the morning after breakfast and another around 4 in the afternoon. It helps to break the day up into manageable pieces.

  16. I think it depends upon where you grew up and how close to the Canadian border it was. I grew up in Maine and my Polish grandma and Irish grandpa would always go and have tea for her, coffee for him in the afternoon. When friends came over they also went and put the kettle on.
    I still put the kettle on when it’s time for my boys to come home from school…. and i take a cup with me to knit night (something just seems odd to be knitting and drinking soda…).. and I moved to the middle of nowhere NY 13 1/2 years ago….

  17. I discovered spicy cinnamon tea that I make with whole milk. If you use 1% or even fat free milk it is just not the same. Then add a little of vanilla syrup to sweeten and I am in heaven. It’s later than 3 pm, but now I want some tea.
    Thanks for reminding me!

  18. American I am, but an afternoon cuppa makes me feel human again. Agree with you that it’s hard to get a good cup of tea in this country. Bah!

  19. I’m drinking a pot of tea at the airport right now. It’s hard to get good tea when you travel, hence I carry a kettle, tea bags and a large mug with me at all times and have lately taken to brewing up mid afternoon during workshops. It invigorates the late afternoon. Have you tried Cream Earl Grey? (It’s remarkably good).

  20. I’m another Brit here so tea is a standard part of day to day life drunk throughout the day. I drink more tea than any other beverage.

  21. Oh yes. Every day, at 3:00pm. You know, I work from home part of the time, and I still have my tea time. I may be working all day in my jammies, but if I stop for tea I still have structure in my day.
    Very few of my friends have tea time, but I’m American, so I guess that’s par for the course. My mum’s Canadian, so I probably picked it up from her. My few friends who do have tea time are mostly Anglophiles, and picked up the habit watching too much BBC America.

  22. My great grandmother made tea from black raspberries that she had dried during the summer. It was the best tea Ive ever had. My husband and I drink tea in the evenings during the cooler months. It’s just too hot here in VA during the summer to have it in the afternoon.

  23. Twinnings Earl Grey, with honey, every morning. And very possibly in the afternoon as well. Some kind of non-caffeinated tea in the evening (Bengal Spice is my favorite, very cinnamony)

  24. Just had my cuppa ……. and it worked wonders….. I’ve now converted my hubbie into having a cuppa as well………
    another tradition we can share……..!

  25. My family ancestry comes from the Netherlands and they have always done something like this. When I was growing up and visited my grandparents on the farm, we always sat down around 3 pm, but not for a proper tea – for coffee. We’d frequently drink tea at “coffee” but there was always coffee. We’d pull out the breads or the cookies or the bars or whatever confection grandma had on hand, my grandpa and uncles would come in from the barn, and we’d all have a snack. It’s one of my favorite memories!

  26. This American does have tea every day around 3 PM. It mellows me out and picks me up at the same time. I can’t think of anything else that does this in the same way (well..maybe chocolate?). Most days I have my tea at work, but I love more the days when I am at home and can have a cup of tea and sit and knit for a bit… 🙂

  27. Yes. Today’s is Twinings Lemon Twist…
    And I totally agree about tea being something to do when things are bad. It’s a little thing, but a mighty, little thing.

  28. Alas for us, your neighbors to the south don’t normally have teatime if we are over school age. I loved coming home to hot chocolate and a snack after school when I was younger!

  29. I love my tea time! I can’t imagine an afternoon without my cuppa, and, like you, I like to have a cookie or two to go along with it. It is definitely a cultural thing. I hold both Canadian and US citizenship, and I can tell you that Americans just don’t “get” tea.
    On a side note I have been told that in Britain the nursing staff bring tea to people, both patients and visitors. I don’t know if it is true, but it sounds very healing and civilized.

  30. I’m from the American south (east coast). Growing up, “tea” meant sweetened iced tea with lemon. And it was mostly consumed during the long, hot summer months which usually stretched into October. My husband however grew up in a culture (in the American north actually) where “tea” meant a cup of hot, black tea. Now we’re both avid hot tea drinkers though I do tend to prefer rooibos tea over the black teas.
    We don’t have a tea time but it might be a sweet tradition to start.

  31. Morning is Black Current, mid-afternoon is Jasmine Green and evening is Licorice Spice.
    I love the ritual of tea.

  32. Absolutely. It’s been over 300 years since a member of my family was born in the British Isles, but I still never leave home with out a tea bag or 4.

  33. Funnily enough, I’d just made my tea when this popped up. 😉 You’re probably right about the cookies (or the scones, or the blueberry cake, or…). The best cure, if it can be managed, is a later lunch so the reaction to baked goods is “No, I couldn’t possibly.”
    Blast. Now I have to make cookies.

  34. Tea time is usually anytime for me and my husband, and definitely as soon as we wake up (coffee doesn’t cut it….tea freshens the day like coffee can’t). We’re trying to set times for the other cups, but we do a LOT of sweet, very strong tea (Indian style).

  35. I’ve never been able to develop a taste for tea. I WANT to like it – I’m dazzled by all the flavors and packages – but I just don’t care for it.
    This post, however, makes me want to give it another go.

  36. Too funny… as I’m reading your post, Oprah is giving away her favorite things which includes TEA! Makes me want to get outta the chair and make some.

  37. It may be because I live in Seattle, but I have coffee time almost every afternoon, year round. I tend to save tea for medicinal purposes. That’s just me.
    And, I can guarantee that a person can blubber over a cup of coffee, as I did exactly that on Saturday afternoon (sigh).
    (not to mention that, when required, coffee can stand up to a nip of booze….)

  38. I have tea-time all of the time. This tradition started with my mother, who always has a cup of tea when she gets home from her job as a steelworker. This is always at 3:30. My job (English professor) allows me the freedom to have hot tea all day (thanks to the HotShot in my office, I am fueled by a steady stream of green tea), but in the mid- or late-afternoon, I am wont to sit down with a real cup of black tea, with milk and sugar. I can think of nothing better in my day.
    I am, by the by, American, but an Anglophile, and grew up heavily influenced by my best friend’s Old World German-Italian family, where hot tea with milk was a constant comfort. Both of my parents drink hot tea (mint), but neither of them drink black tea often, and they find my addition of milk to be an abomination.

  39. I love my daily cuppa! And yes, it is a cultural thing. I hold both Canadian and US citizenship and Americans just don’t seem to “get” tea. Two years ago I finished knitting a tea cozy while visiting my parents in Washington state. They had never heard of a tea cozy and laughed at the thought of knitting something to put over a teapot. Imagine never having heard of a tea cozy!

  40. There is a regular boiling of the kettle in our house around 4ish. Both the hubby and I work from home as well, and find we need the afternoon pick me up. But I always drink a cup of coffee first as I need the energy to get through the dinner making process. I find it so charming to have kids that enjoy drinking tea – they love themselves a big mug of black tea with loads of sugar. It’s way better than a cookie. 😉

  41. I absolutely have tea time. In fact I rarely drink coffee any more. I start my day with a good strong pot, then have more around 10 and again around 3. My husband does the same–I bought him a good electric kettle for his office desk and now he can have a proper cup when teatime rolls around. No, we’re neither British nor Canadian, but we both have Scottish heritage and we know a good thing when we see it! And tea just goes with knitting, doesn’t it? They’re practically inseperable. Give me a fire in the wood stove and that completes the trifecta–I’ll never leave the house. Yay for tea!

  42. Living in Toronto myself, I hardly think the tea thing is Canadian vs. American. I see it in the culture of my British-ancestry friends. Coming from Asian parents, I’m just horrified that anyone would turn tea into a dairy product.

  43. I’ve taken a daily teatime for about as long as I can remember. Must be a closet Brit:) I live at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Washington and today it’s 28 degrees and dropping, blustery snow flurries, stove fired up. Oh, yeah. Tea…and alpaca.

  44. I like tea but I’m much more likely to get a cup of coffee and take a walk in the mid-afternoon than tea but only if I’ve not exceeded my limits for caffeine for the day.
    Coffee is a very normal custom in the upper midwest. In my family everyone has a 30+ cup coffee maker for when the family comes over or just for Sundays. On the farm we always had a pot on the burner ready for any time of day or night. Our UPS guy would come in, drop off packages and refill his/her mug. Egg whites in the grounds kept it from getting bitter while on all day.
    I think after learning how to wash dishes, making coffee was the next thing I learned to do for the family. I think its the german/norweigan up-bringing.
    Many of our local yarn/knitting shops all have coffee available for drinking, though I haven’t seen much tea. Seems coffee is the American calming influence.

  45. Absolutely!!! I live in Scotland and there is nothing, I repeat nothing better than that 10:00am tea time with a biscuit. Or that 3:00 cuppa as well. Very nice.

  46. Yup. Tea time is a must. I am a Canadian of British descent, so I think that is part of it. In my home (both the one I grew up in and the one I’ve made for myself) when someone has a problem or comes over or whatever, we always put the kettle on. It’s early yet today, but you’ve put me in the mood for a good cuppa right now.

  47. I started drinking tea in high school when my friend turned me on to it. Now I drink hot tea through out the day, starting when I get up with vanilla tea, then progressing to all different kinds of black teas. I even have a Japanese hot water dispenser in my office. I agree with Lucy Neatby – Creamy Earl Grey is wonderful.

  48. I think it’s an American thing to lack tea. I rarely see anyone drinking tea, and most of my relatives and acquaintances don’t even own kettles. Ordering tea at a restaurant, unless they’re particularly well-prepared, usually results in a bag of Lipton and some lukewarm water.
    When I lived on-campus for an in-state university, I brought my electric kettle, tea pot, tea strainer, and several tea cups. The first day that I brewed some tea around 3pm, someone walking past my dorm spotted the tea pot, skidded to a halt, and exclaimed, “OH MY GOD, are you British?????” I told her no, that I grew up around here, and her face twisted up in confusion. “But YOU’RE DRINKING TEA.”
    I wish it was a more common custom around here. I love tea; I think that tea time is a great way to relax and get some peacefulness into your day. (Although I also believe in tea for any time of day.)

  49. And another tea drinker here – raised in England on good old “workman’s” tea. I am now more refined and have a tea stash almost as large as my yarn stash! I like that I can always get a cup of tea anywhere in Canada.
    Afternoon tea is especially good – an uplifter, just as you describe.

  50. I am Canadian, and LOVE tea! I make tea multiple times a day, also wearing a path in the carpet to the kettle. Three cheers for tea time! Thanks for this post it reminds me how all the little things like a cuppa are so important in our day-to-day lives.

  51. I´m from Costa Rica and have my tea time every day at 3:30pm, sometimes I drink an infusion like rooibos, but generally it is a tea. Is the most lovely moment of the day, be with my daughter after the school

  52. What a lovely idea. I suffer a midafternoon slump nearly every day. I think I’ll see what a cup of tea does for that. Good thing I have teabags in my purse. Thanks.

  53. If I do tea, it’s usually in the evening. I have a bunch of herbal concoctions with specific purposes, like “Chill Out Tea” or “Tummy Help” tea. My jolt in the morning is always coffee, unless I’m out of it, in which case it’s Earl Grey.
    Then again, hot, sweet mint tea is pretty welcome anytime, day or night.

  54. I don’t have a set time for it, but I think anytime is tea time. I also like hosting tea parties.

  55. I don’t have one at three.. but I would if my system would let me. I have a big cuppa in the wee early hours, then a bigger one at 8:00am, then don’t have my last one until around 7:00pm. and I really need/like/want the one at 7:00pm so miss out at “tea time”.. cheers!

  56. Love tea. I blame it on my Scottish roots and English roots. I have to have a cup or 2 in the morning. And when I get home from work. Usally its cold tea, but there are times when a nice hot cup of tea is so nice and it does pick you up. I like mine in the eveings. Usally while doing class work or enjoying some blogs on the computer. Winter is also a great hot tea time. So yes tea is part of my life, let it be hot, cold, sweet and every once in a great while flavored.

  57. Even though it’s a bit early (2pm PST), after reading this, I’ve put a kettle on and the pot is warming. Some Mondays need an extra tea. And structure. But mostly tea.

  58. I never have tea in the afternoon. But, it sounds delightful especially in the fall/winter. Maybe this Californian will start a new afternoon tradition:)

  59. I generally have mine right before the kids come home from school. They do not care for tea (yet) and they know Mom needs her morning cuppa too.
    The day isn’t right without tea time!

  60. USian here as well; despite my locale (desert Southwest) you’ve inspired me to start a tradition in my life from this day forward. The hour must be significant in human biological rhythms because people all over seem to mark this time of the day with different rituals. Though mine is sometimes a candy bar or some web browsing, I’m now going include a lovely cup of strong black tea.

  61. I’m American, and have my tea time. Well, when I remember it, that is. We Americans very obviously do not do tea time. Which is a shame.
    I really wish more of America had a standard tea time. There really is nothing like tea to clear your head during a hectic day.
    I recently discovered the joy of making wintergreen tea. It is delicious! I’ve stripped the woods nearby clean of the leaves. Now that winter is coming, I will have to wait until spring to make more. Pity.

  62. I do love tea but it isn’t a habit for me to drink it on a daily basis. When I’m cold or sick, tea is the only thing that will comfort me (besides knitting). However, my relationship with tea has been soured lately when I discovered that caffeine triggers my migraines. I do enjoy herbal tea but it makes it trickier when I’m drinking tea at someone else’s house, especially my MIL’s since she refuses to believe that fruit teas can have caffeine in them which has lead to many a migraine.
    *Sigh* When did tea become so complicated?

  63. Tea– something I have come to love. and you’re right, it’s darn hard to find a good cup of tea in the states. Order hot tea, and you get a small stainless steel pot of luke warm water, and a lipton tea bag of indeterminate age. In a country of coffee drinkers, good tea is hard to find.

  64. Applause.
    I picked up the tea rituals from my husband. (In high school I was strictly and herbal infusion girl, which is a different cup of tea all together.)
    I totally agree with everything you wrote…that happens quite a lot actually. Thank you.
    -Carolyn

  65. And I’m sorry that you had to find out that the U.S. is predominately bean people and leaf people are a minority. It is extremely difficult to find someplace that properly serves tea (more so in Florida where I live).
    And what’s up with neverending refills of coffee but not tea?! I guess the heating of water presents logistical issues! 🙂

  66. I don’t have tea time every day (work schedule doesn’t always allow for it), but today I am having a tea time of sorts with my wonderful 9 year old stepdaughter. Although, instead of tea, we are having apple cider.
    My hubby enjoys tea as does the aforementioned stepdaughter. She is quite adventurous in her tea choices, and likes a wide range of caffeine free herbal teas 🙂
    Enjoy!

  67. I am Swedish, and we drink coffee like you drink tea. My parents do morning coffee, eleven coffee, after lunch coffee, after dinner coffee and then once more at night. Yes, they do not prescribe to the “no caffeine after 6 pm” thing.
    It’s becoming more and more common with people preferring tea, though, so usually when people come over you are supposed to ask if they want tea or coffee.
    I’m a tea drinker, but I remember confessing to my Scottish friend that I, um, heat my water in the microwave. Her head nearly exploded!
    I later gained a kettle when I moved and I think of her every time I put it on. Which is anywhere from three times a day to three times a month. Depending on my mood.

  68. I am an avid tea drinker and had a perplexing experience at SOAR last month when I asked for tea (can’t remember whether it was at the resort or elsewhere) and the waiter or server or whoever it was asked me, innocently, “*hot* tea?” I was so shocked I simply did not know how to answer. I think I just sat there with my mouth open. What other kind of tea would I be wanting at the end of October in Wisconsin? It seemed so straightforward to me…

  69. Sorry–in my house, it’s coffee. Unless one is sick, and then a cup of tea with lemon is served to the invalid. Almost every day, my hubby, who gets home a bit before I do, gets the coffee ready. If I don’t smell that fresh-brewed aroma when I open the door, I’m disappointed! We discovered half-caf at our grocery store, and use it all the time as I can’t seem to handle a lot of caffeine anymore. We sometimes have cookies also, if I’ve baked recently.

  70. I love my tea too! What is your usual go to flavor? I am a huge Earl Grey lover. (Found one called Earl Grey Creme which is my absolute fav!) I like a little spice to the tea in winter. And milk. Always with milk. People around here always raise an eyebrow and say, “British, huh?” (I’m in Iowa.) Go figure.

  71. Sorry- I couldn’t read on, I actually had such an urge to make a cup of tea. Back in a jiffy, holding my mug and will read the rest.
    As always, you made me smile. Thank you!

  72. I’ve had a bit of a stressful afternoon with my workaholic coworker (and relative by marriage) and this post calmed me down in a way I truly needed. In Indiana the only original hot tea drinkers I know are my grandparents (specifically my grandmother) others have picked it up due to a fad since we’re near a popular university for international students. It’s not horribly popular, but I have started pausing for tea during the cooler months. I think I need to start it again to make a difinitive break in my day obvious to myself and coworkers.
    My deepest desire is to be a transplant in London and raise proper British children and that desire is refreshed with this one post so vividly.

  73. Tea? Absolutely! Well – at leat on the weekends – and always when I’m getting home from work.

  74. Yes. I get out of work (elementary school) at 3:30pm, walk the 1/4 mile home, and then put the kettle on. I don’t know how I’d get through the rest of the day without it. UNLESS I am going for a 4pm run (as is now that it’s too dark in the morning), then I have it when I get back.

  75. I generally have an herbal type of tea between 9 to 10 am. I’ve never been a Tetley tea type of person and will only drink it when my British-Canadian friend comes to visit.
    The afternoon calls for a nice cup of black coffee.

  76. Absolutely! I also work from home (on days Idon’t have customer appointments) and I need the structure. I also need the comfort. There is something so soothing and civilized about a cup of strong black tea (with milk and sugar) in the afternoon. I love that it makes you think if your friends who are also having tea. I think that would make it just that much more comforting.

  77. As I was reading this, the kettle was on. Only black tea for me, when I want tea I want a regular tea no milk, no sugar, no fruity fancy stuff. And when the day is really going wrong I will even accept the stuff that’s been brewing too long because it’s been left forgotton.
    Today’s tea time is late, but once I get that cup made the world will be right again.
    Enjoy!

  78. Tea time is a must. I started doing it when the boys were little. Whatever I was doing, I would make sure I was home by 3pm with a pot/cup of “real” tea and sometimes a cookie. This ritual made a world of difference in who greeted the boys after school.

  79. We don’t have a regular tea time, but my husband comes from India, which was more recently a British colony than the US, and so offers tea as basic hospitality. Now I’ve picked up the habit. But I’m working out that “tea” in our house can mean anything from actual Lipton’s British Blend, to masala chai, to jasmine tea, to coffee, to cocoa, to scotch, depending on the person and time of day.

  80. Yes, because I grew up in Canada and it is the one Canadian custom that I will not give up.

  81. I grew up in a typical American household where tea was had on occasion. And I hate to say it, but most often made with microwaved cups of water. Oh the horror!!
    Now that I’m a mum we often have proper tea at our house. My daughters love winter time, because they know that means more tea. I can barely pull the kettle out of the cupboard and they will holler from anywhere in the house, “I want tea!” I even bought an electric kettle so they could make tea themselves without having to use the stove, because they are still young and learning how to do things themselves.
    I am a coffee drinker as well, but I totally agree that there is comfort in a good cup of tea. Often when I’m feeling down or dealing with a hard time we make tea. Milk and sugar, please.

  82. I don’t have it every afternoon, but it definitely makes the day better when I do. My in-laws have teatime (with cookies) every day without fail. And everyone in the community knows it. It’s a wonder she doesn’t have a crowd every day!
    Elevenses is also a lovely tradition.

  83. I do tea. It wasn’t something I grew up with, but something that was special when I visited my grandparents in Scotland. Now they have passed, and having tea makes me feel a little closer to my family, even the ones who live far away. (I live in the US, so visiting the grandparents was a big event).

  84. I was raised by an Irish American mother so the tea gene is strong in me (as is the potato gene). A cup of tea is the answer to any occasion – happy or sad. I remember my cousins (all of whom are closer in age to my mother than to me) coming by for a visit with sweet rolls & my mother would make a fresh pot of tea (there was always a pot on hand – strong & hot water added whenever you wanted a cup but company called for a brand new, fresh pot). It is almost impossible to get a good cup of tea in a restaurant in the states except, perhaps, for places (mostly in hotels) that serve high tea. In the southern part of this country, if you order tea in a restaurant, you will get iced tea – sweetened unless you specify otherwise. I remember once ordering hot tea in a hotel restaurant (for breakfast) & the server had no idea what I was talking about. I explained that, if they brewed their own iced tea, they must have tea bags. She didn’t think so – had never seen any (but then she had never in her life heard of hot tea). Finally, she went to the manager who found a tea bag & pot for hot water. But, really, they acted like I was a lunatic for requesting hot tea! This is one reason why the south feels like another country to me. Also, even here in the Chicago area where (hot) tea is readily available in restaurants, if you want milk or cream, you have to specifically request it; lemon is the default accompaniment.

  85. I learned to drink tea in college during a trip to London, of course. There fore I always prefer milk and sugar. I almost always have it in the morning. I don’t drink or like coffee though. Occasionally I have it in the afternoon, but not too late as it can keep me awake. I really love having more formal tea, like going to a tea room or just using my nice tea cups and taking my time at home.
    My 10 y/o has learned to love tea from me as well. It started when she was about 2. I would sip a cup of tea while watching her slowly at her finger food lunch. She would ask for a taste, I would give her a spoonful. By 3 she would get a small cup of watered down tea with milk and sugar. Now she has adult tea, though I will cool it with about 1/2 and inch of water and giver her plenty of milk too. If she makes it herself she doesn’t water it down! She has been known to go through a pot a day if I’m not watching. She loves caffeine!

  86. I have my morning black tea with milk (soy) and my afternoon darjeeling or green and my evening cup of herbal. Now that I think of it my life is defined as in structured by tea time. :O)

  87. Oh yes. I am a tea drinker–at breakfast and then especially in the middle of the afternoon. It definitely does break up the workday at home. I grew up in the American South and am partial to a tall glass of iced tea when it is *very* hot (above 90F). However, now that I live in Winnipeg, I LOVE the fact that Canadians serve hot tea everywhere, that I can drink it all year, and thoroughly enjoy it because it hardly ever even gets to 90F!
    Occasionally, I crave a cup of (call it what you will) Greek/Turkish/Arabic/Armenian coffee–it helps me “get a grip” when I feel like my freelance worklife is out of control! Nothing like a straight shot of caffeine and sugar to bring calm to chaos…

  88. We definitely have tea time. And not just in the middle of the afternoon! My now 21-year-old U of T student used to come home from high school cross-country meets cold, muddy, and wet. He’d make a strong mug of tea (with milk of course), pour a bath, and then soak in the steaming water, sipping the hot tea. Very restorative.

  89. Yes. Although now that I live in that no-man’s land between North and South, I routinely have to ask my servers (when I have it out) for milk. You’d think I’d asked for whiskey the way they look askance at me…

  90. At the shop myself and one of my employees have corrupted our entire staff into tea drinkers, and are working on our customers now. We have a little tea area set up with an electric kettle and over a dozen types of tea bags. I’m not sure I have a particular time, but whenever I sit down to teach a class a cup of tea is made for myself and all my students.

  91. For me, comfort comes in the best cocoa mixed in a large mug thrown by potter friends of mine, to warm my hands and my day. (It’s always oceanfog-cold in the mornings here.) I told some random doctor in the hospital last year that I was looking forward to it as a way of reclaiming normal life post-Crohn’s-flare, after two endless months of basically not being able to eat, and he forbade me to even think of it for six weeks out.
    I told my gastro dr. that later, and asked if I really had to wait that long. He was quite upset that I had been deprived for what he thought the flimsiest if not downright ridiculous medical reason when emotionally it would have so much benefit, and he told me to go have some right now! I was moved at the depth of his compassion on an issue so small–but that wasn’t. And that he had instantly understood that.
    I went straight home and made myself a large mug. I thank him silently from time to time, still, as I sip.

  92. My personal motto “when all else fails, put the jug on”. Yes, a big tea drinker here – 10am for morning and 3pm for afternoon.
    I just try not to drink it with my main meal – apparently it prevents the absorption of iron, which I am low in – so be warned! 🙂

  93. Alas, I’m not a tea drinker so as nice as an afternoon tea sounds, I’m really not fond of the flavor. Although, I’m also not a coffee drinker so I guess I don’t fit in anywhere.

  94. I do have tea time. I enjoy my morning cup of coffee, but the afternoon is for tea. My personal favorite is a grocery store brand called Good Earth. Their original is a black tea with lots of cinnamon, so no sugar needed.

  95. I have my tea every afternoon — the same time as you do. I often even splurge and have one at eleven in the morning. It’s become a habit now that I’m retired — it didn’t seem the same when I was working. It’s wonderful to have tea and also do some knitting or spinning.

  96. My grandmother ‘put the kettle on’ every afternoon at about 3. My mom would frequently make a pot of tea in the afternoon. I used to do it once in awhile. I forgot. Thanks for reminding me.

  97. I have tea nearly every night with my youngest daughter. She loves Sleepy Time Tea, I love that she loves Sleepy Time Tea. I only wish Sleepy Time Tea made her sleepy. But give me a nice hot cup of tea at bedtime and I’m a happy girl.

  98. Yes. Tea time is 4:00 at home, 3:00 at work. I started like you when I was a wee child, more milk than tea. A cup of tea makes the insurmountable seem possible. It calms, soothes and comforts.

  99. Alas, I do not. But I am thinking I should start. I remember my grandmother doing a tea time. And she could get three cups from one teabag. And she would put saltine crackers in the toaster and spread butter on them. Lingering at the table with Grandma over tea while the grown ups remembered days gone by is a warm memory for me. One I shall remember to say thanks for on Thursday.

  100. Sometime in the distant past, a salesman for Lipton tea must have so aggressively promoted his product in the U.S., that in many, many places, you can’t find any other kind. No wonder a lot of people in the U.S. don’t like tea! Tea in the U.K. is an eye-opener; perhaps you Canadians have the good luck to preserve the British traditions and taste of teas.

  101. It’s 2PM here and I just made a cup of French Press coffee. Perhaps its a Pac NW thing or it’s just me. I did have hot tea with my lunch though.
    Can I get a pass to drink coffee whenever I want since I’m the parent of 3 little kids that don’t always sleep through the night?

  102. My mother would never allow a tea bag in her presence. This was a woman who on one occasion made twenty pots of tea on a particularly long dramatic day. Mum believed that the worlds wrongs could be solved with a pot of tea. She got the grandkids onto a cuppa with nana at 3pm when they were toddlers. The oldest grandchild is still a tea drinker who detests coffee. I travelled through the US in the 1970s with mum doing the conference circuit where she was known for her pot, tin of tea leaves and her immersion coil to boil the water. Cya off to boil a cuppa as I am gasping.

  103. Tea is a way of life for me too. Even on a hot day I love it. I’ve taken to drinking plain hot water in between cups of tea throughout the day so that I don’t ge too much caffeine. One time I asked for hot water and my grandfather turned on the hot tap and filled a glass with such a puzzled expression on his face!

  104. I drink at least one cup of tea in the afternoon, Early Grey, at about 2pm. I usually switch to something herbal after that if I still need something warm to drink. It’s not so much a break as a survival mechanism (my office is always freezing!!)

  105. I’m a senior in college. My freshman year, I made tea at four every day and offered it to everyone on my hall in the dorms. Sophomore year, I invited all my friends to tea time once a week, same with junior year. Now I just drink tea or coffee ALL THE TIME in an attempt to make more hours in the day. This works better when there are also cookies. and knitting.

  106. I drink a lot of tea (always hot, but I am fairly equal-opportunity between black, green, red and herbal teas), though I don’t have a specific teatime as such.
    I used to have a regular teatime, when there was some social support for it — a british labmate or my undergraduate department at NYU (they were especially great — teatime was at 3:30 on Friday afternoon and there were teas and cookies and so on laid out in the department lounge and it was a very lovely way to end one’s week. That might actually be what I miss most about college).
    Now my ritual is a bit different (I feel sort of guilty leaving my desk when no one else is leaving his) — my husband makes it for me in the morning and leaves it in my thermos (which looks like a penguin and is named Chester) with a note about which tea I have and generally something silly about how said tea goes with the weather, the season, what movie I’d been watching the night before, etc.

  107. Oh yes, since I was very small. We had daily tea parties in the afternoon sometime between 3 and 4. Early enough not to spoil dinner at 5 or so. Mom or grandma had tea and maybe a cookie, originally we got milk and a snack/cookie. Later if we wanted we had tea. And yes it was very white with milk. We didn’t even drink coffee in our family, only tea.
    When I worked in an office I learned to drink coffee, but when they started selling electric kettles in the US I invested in one. Now I can have a hot cuppa whenever. Nothing warms me up and soothes me like a hot cup of tea.
    Tea drinking in the US seems a bit more common than it used to, at least in the Northern states. And there are far more varieties than Lipton or Tetleys these days.

  108. My tea time is at the end of a hard day, in the bathtub with a biscotti. I like to read in the tub and drink caffeine-free chamomile tea. Sooooooo relaxing!

  109. My tea is steeping as I read your post.
    Tea is a longstanding tradition in my family. It’s soothing, comforting & bracing when needed.
    Earl Grey – hot is my preference, however I’ll be on the look out for this “Creme” version others have posted about

  110. Skimmed down to say: love tea time and I’m 100% American (via ancestors from Scandanavia and Great Britain w-a-a-a-y back).
    Every morning: PG Tips Special Dark (here in Montana I have to buy it around the holidays and hoard it for the rest of the year – it seems to disappear). At work: PG Tips “regular.” In the evening, Numi Honeybush Organic, caffeine-free, or rooibus (red bush tea), for which I developed a fondness while living in South Africa back in the 70’s — before #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency but it’s the same tea. Special occasions: Fortnum and Mason’s Royal Blend, the leaves, in my Brown Betty teapot, better if I actually bought it at the store in London. 🙂 I tease my husband that running out means we need to make another trip! (Yes, I know we can now get it on the internet.)
    My family loved their coffee but we had tea in the evenings. Thanks for getting me to think a little about where my tea traditions came from!

  111. when i was growing up, tea was generally an after dinner ritual. OR for those of us who remember neighbourhoods of stay-at-home moms, it was a moment of gathering anytime from noon onward when any neighbour lady appeared at the door.
    but ultimately i think you are “spot on” (to be British about it) in your designation of 3pm. isn’t that when all the fancy hotels generally serve high tea??

  112. Ohh I do have tea time, but a bit earlier. My Emily comes home from Pre-K at noon, and by then I have fed baby brother and put him down for a nap. I warm up a pot of water and put in some Japanese Cherry Blossom tea, as Emily eats her PB and J. We share tea, chat about the amazing arts and crafts and the fun games she played. It gets her in the mood to wind down, and just be home. When big sister comes home from the school bus (she has ADHD), we have tea again just for her, and she also winds down from a stressful day. I love it when they begin their pretend play at the table, and easily transition to their room or outside.

  113. re: tea time
    Not currently on my agenda. Also, I’m rather curious, as, to the best of my knowledge, tea has as much caffeine if not more than coffee. However, I totally agree on the ‘soothingness’ of tea.
    At one time, I was working in a horrendous situation. It was not who was crying at work but almost how many. Many of us got through the experience by gathering at the end of day to offer support, share laughter and coping ideas over a pot of tea.
    To this day, this group still gathers socially and are closely bonded. Tea and sympathy/empathy do go together.

  114. I grew up with tea. In the last few years, I’ve become very sensitive to caffeine and can’t have tea anymore. Even the decaffeinated tea has enough of a trace to make life difficult for me. I can have naturally decaffeinated (like Starbuck’s passion tea) but it’s not the same. I miss a good cup of tea. 🙁

  115. Unless it’s the Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, generally not.
    We do drink pots of tea, though it is generally throughout the day.
    Mostly for me, it consists of two cups of coffee precisely at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and tea after that.
    Whenever I think about it. Which seems to be right now. Mm… tea.

  116. My husband is South African and he loves his tea, although he doesn’t seem to find time to stop and have a cup in the afternoon since most Americans (we live in Idaho) don’t drink it. We noticed, when working in Johannesburg that tea time was the one time of day when our contentious colleagues would be civil to one another.
    Our teenager enjoys a cup in the morning before he heads to school. I tend to drink very milky coffee in the afternoon, a habit acquired in my breast-feeding days….

  117. British. Tea. All day. Every day. Tea time. Biscuits. Cake.
    BUT
    I live in Switzerland, so when my eldest daughter was born in the 80s in hospital I was offered tea: peppermint, limeflower or rosehip?! In thermos jugs. I was so baffled LOL it was supposed to help with the milk flow, not sure they do it any more (when my daughter had her baby 22 yrs on they said peppermint stopped the flow…) but it was never a good strong cup of black tea with milk as I would have had it!
    Have got used to the Swiss using tea as medicine – fennel for babies’ tummies, chamomile/peppermint for adults’, sage for coughs, limeflower for a temperature, another I can’t translate for sore throats… yet stick to my “real” tea for the most part, though I can manage an Earl Grey these days (without milk) or even a white tea. I even like fruit tea. Not too keen on green tea that is now so popular. And loathe flavoured black teas, what’s with that??!
    So it’s still English Breakfast. All day. Every day. With milk!

  118. One of my favorite things about the office that I work at is the hot water tap on the water cooler. It allows me to have hot tea anytime I need or want it. It is about 3:30 pm in the afternoon and a cup sounds wonderful. I think I will make myself some.

  119. I believe I am a misplaced Canadian (or Brit). I’ve grown up and spent the majority of my life in the NYC metro area. Not least as evidence are my spelling choices (which I refuse to admit are misspellings, colour and grey are proper darn it!) I do love and do my best to make time for a good afternoon tea.

  120. Yes. My day is incomplete if I don’t have my afternoon tea. Ideally with knitting or a knitting related magazine or book. I like to savor it so woe be to whomever needs a ride to/from someplace while the tea is hot and in the mug.

  121. I’m of Irish decent and drink tea. Coffee for breakfast and tea thereafter. My daughters are tea people. I tried to convert my hubby but never got it done. I currently drink a lot of green tea.

  122. When I’m home on a weekday, I always make a pot of tea in the afternoon. I don’t do it at work and I don’t do it at home on the weekends. But yes, it’s a perfect little afternoon pick me up, especially if it’s Earl Grey.

  123. Growing up on ireland, it is not unusual too see toddlers drinking their tea from bottles, every meal either has a cup of tea with it (breakfast and supper) or has tea afterwards (lunch & dinner). In the last few years I have grown to love my morning coffee, but when I visit my Ma for breakfast I get tea whether I ask for it or not. Even my daughters (6&4) have started to ask for a cup of tea in the afternoons.
    We should write a book, “Eat, Pray, Love and have a nice cuppa while you’re at it”!

  124. Now that I’m home during the day, a cup of tea mid-afternoon is a necessity. And a cookie or two….

  125. My tea time is when I take a break from work and check in on facebook and a few of my favorite blogs. How appropriate that as I sipped my hot tea at 2:30 this afternoon (the same time, give or take 15 minutes, that I have tea every afternoon), I was reading your post about the importance of taking a time out for tea!

  126. Growing up on ireland, it is not unusual to see toddlers drinking their tea from bottles, every meal either has a cup of tea with it (breakfast and supper) or has tea afterwards (lunch & dinner). In the last few years I have grown to love my morning coffee, but when I visit my Ma for breakfast I get tea whether I ask for it or not. Even my daughters (6&4) have started to ask for a cup of tea in the afternoons.

  127. I only recently was exposed to the “afternoon tea” by Judith at the March 2010 Weaving retreat. We get up from our looms and do a little stretch and then sit down to tea and wonderful little snacks brought by everyone.
    I look forward to it now every afternoon. Step away from the computer and walk to the break room. Wait for the tea to brew and then take it back to my little cube to enjoy and browse the .net for a few minutes.
    Like right now.

  128. I do tea in the afternoon but it is iced and sweet, year round. I do live in the south USA too. If I need something to warm me up, it’s hot chocolate. I’m allergic to coffee:(

  129. Being the impressionable creature that I am, I got up to fix myself a cuppa after reading the first couple of sentences and then settled down to read the rest with a steaming cup of jasmine-green tea. I don’t have a set time for daily tea, but I think that it is a brilliant idea. I think I need to schedule it into my afternoons!

  130. Growing up, coffee was for breakfast and tea was for the rest of the day. I no longer drink coffee at all (it stopped loving me..) but still drink tea by the bucketful. In the afternoon there is nothing better than a cup of Murchies Rideau Hall or CBC Radio blend. Their No.10 blend is my everyday tea (no I don’t work for them – I just like their teas.) I even pop little bags of tea in my suitcase when travelling.. just in case!

  131. Oh, dear–it all sounds so lovely! Sadly, I am allergic to tea…though I can drink herbal tea, so long as there is no “real” tea in it.
    Does it count if you don’t use “real” tea?

  132. I may be banned from reading the blog, but I have to admit that I never developed a taste for tea. Or coffee, for that matter. Since I’m Indian, I should have a genetic dispostion to it, but the only time I’ve ever had tea is when I’ve had a sore throat & the spousal unit forced it on me. There, I’ve said it.

  133. My hubby and I unwind from the day with tea at about 8:30 p.m. when the kiddo has gone off to bed. We’re generally unaffected by caffeine before bed, so the tea sooths our ills and gets us ready to tuck in.

  134. I have it. I don’t drink coffee but my 3 O’clock cup of tea is my last caffeine allowed for the day. I’m pretty rattled if I miss it. My parents have four o’clock coffee when they get home from school (both teachers) so I didn’t acquire this habit genetically or culturally. Just naturally.

  135. Yes I do. I fell in love with afternoon tea when I lived in the UK back in 1972. I think it’s one, if not the one civilized thing to do in the middle of an afternoon.

  136. I keep tea in the house but don’t drink it much – I don’t think I’ve learned the proper way. But I always have my one soda for the day around 3:00. I used to do this when I worked in an office, and find it a nice break now that I work at home.

  137. I am from Texas so tea means a tall glass of iced sweet tea and it is what you drink with a meal. I went to Buffalo once and ordered a glass of iced tea. The waitress acted like I was crazy and said they didn’t have it. I told her you make hot tea – right, you have ice water – right, bring me some hot tea and a tall glass of ice. Not rocket science. My husband’s family is Asian so they often drink hot oriental tea in the evening. Whenever I have a guest from the Commonwealth, I try to remember to make them tea in the afternoon because I know that yall do that. Frankly, being down South, a cup of something hot in the middle of the day sounds miserable 3/4 of the year. But hot tea can be fun sometimes. But I drink sweet iced tea ALL the time.
    p.s. I totally get it about making a routine for boundaries when you are self-employed. My husband and I struggle with that. And I feed my kids something when they come home from school, too.

  138. I don’t have a tea time per se, but after thirty years, I’ve started taking to coffee in my mornings. Read the paper, start a brew going and then drink coffee as I read my blogs. I’m a creature of habit, so once a habit gets entrenched, I’m practically unable to fix it. Reading the paper in the morning is how I’ve started my day since I was old enough to read it, and now I drink my coffee too.

  139. I am definitely a morning coffee drinker and afternoon tea drinker. When I lived in New Zealand for a year, the tea trolley came through the office twice a day – at about 10am and again about 3 pm. Everyone stopped working for their cup of tea and a biscuit, we talked about things other than work for those 10 minutes or so, and then after the trolley came through again to pick up our empty cups, we were back to work. Back in the U.S., I usually ended up at the candy machine around 3 o’clock, for a Snickers bar and a diet Coke. Not the same thing at all.

  140. I’m an American with an Irish grandmother. When she babysat me as a child, she would put a few drops of tea in my bottle to color the milk, and we would have our tea together. She still asks me if I want a cup the minute I walk in her door. When I got older, it was my job to start the tea when I got home from school so it would be ready when my mom got home.
    Here (in Pennsylvania), I see a fair number of women drinking tea, but rarely men. All the men in my family drink coffee, and none of the women (except me) will touch it, so growing up I thought that coffee was for men and tea was for women. I still enjoy tea, but I never order it when I’m out. It’s really hard to get a decent cup – I’m sure the water never really boils, and they bring it to you with the tea bag on the side so the water isn’t hot enough to brew a proper cup.

  141. Was it you that stole our weather? Because you tell me it’s rainy in Toronto and it should be rainy here and you were in Vancouver last week and I am suspicious.
    Here all of a sudden it is -7 and with a serious wind that is taking the windchill into the minus teens and we’re not built for that. Please give us back our rain!
    I can get through this, though. I have tea.

  142. Hm.. I’m American, with no latent Anglophiles in the bunch, and we all drink hot tea in a ritualized manner, though we can also easily slip into the coffee morning noon and night habit of my mother’s midwestern family 🙂 My lab has tea/coffee time in the afternoon, which is an excellent ritual (the boss is a tea junkie).

  143. As an American I have acquired the tea drinking habit from friends that are from different parts of the world. It is interesting the subtle little differences in making tea and the tastes from different cultures. I now carry tea with me so all the restaurant has to do is provide me with hot water. I’m still shaking my head over this; I went to a Chinese restaurant; I ask for hot tea and they brought out an Earl Grey. Gross!

  144. Oh yes, another Brit, so definitely tea! They bring you tea in hospital after you’ve had an operation here – can’t imagine it being coffee!
    When I was in the States, someone produced a teabag which you could brew in cold water. I was very shocked indeed!

  145. You betcha! The sound of the kettle whistling is my second favorite tune. But it’s not just to cheer or comfort, it’s also to celebrate and cap-off wonderful news; or to accent daily events. My best friend calls from 3,000 miles away and I put on the kettle and settle in for a long chat. I broke my arm as a child and my mother & grandmother (both Brits) said “have a nice cup of tea and a sit-down”. Any announcement of large proportions or small… tea is consumed.
    The whole reason I am a tea merchant is to support my own addiction.

  146. I am Irish and Scottish, I was brought up on tea time. I remember when I would have a horrid time at school or I would visit my grandma. I would always have tea.
    Tea and I have a very “special” relationship. i don’t know where i would be with out it. As I type I hear the kettle.. Got to go have my cup of tea!

  147. I love tea! I made my mom a tea wallet for Christmas last year so she would always have tea bags with her. She said it has been life-saving in situations like what you describe in the southern US.

  148. Lovely post! I am a Canadian living in the US now and I love tea – I’ve only ever drunk coffe when in desperate need of quick energy! I start my day w Earl Grey, or perhaps green tea. I ordered my Earl Grey at Starbucks recently and felt like a second class citizen!
    Still – my parents didn’t do tea time and I don’t remember my friends’ families either – only my British Grandmother. I still remember her convincing my Mom to give my colicky sister tea for her tummy and wouldn’t you know it – it worked! Tea love seems to be a British hold over and I don’t think of it as Canadian.
    Your post has inspired me to revisit the tradition – although the cookie temptation may be too much to bear!

  149. I have tea, but I’m really the only person I know who does. I don’t think its big in the US–or at least not the parts I lived in. I fell into by accident. When I was a senior in high school, my family moved to a cold (actual temperature), unfriendly town. I would make myself a hot cup and curl up with a good book as soon as I came home from school.
    A nice hot cup and a little snack has served me well ever since. Hubby says its in my genes along with my love of yarn and wool–that the only way someone as easily chilled as I am could have northern european ancestry is if the cold gene travelled along with hot tea and wool socks.

  150. I enjoy a good of cup of tea at least once a day in the cold weather and a bit less often in the warm. About 2:00 or 4:00 works for me and then after supper. It warms both the hands and the soul. But, if you’re ordering out in a restaurant, it’s hard to get a good cup of tea here. They just don’t heat the water enough. There’s one place in Northampton,Ma that serves lovely tea though and whenever I’m there, I always have tea.

  151. I love tea! But living in Western Canada, as I did after I left England, I have to say I very often did NOT get tea with a little jug of milk. It was almost always a little plastic thingy of cream or creamer, and a hottish little metal pot with the teabag on the side.
    I am sure that is one reason I am a coffee drinker now.
    (I still love my tea in the afternoon – but only if I make it myself!)

  152. Between the British half of my heritage and the Chinese half, I think I have a love of tea bred into me. It is, however, a great sadness that more of my fellow Americans don’t understand and appreciate this, or there would be a much nicer tea selection in my neighborhood.

  153. Needing a ritual? A cup of tea will do, but rarely for me. A great restorative, especially for my sister, the sound of tea being poured into a cup is very soothing.
    BIL tells of wondering why my sister had brown drippy stains down the back of her dressing gown – dressing gown on back to front for warmth, and slopping morning tea while she read in bed of course (she is a librarian). Though the visuals do rather beggar belief.
    My first job included making the tea and coffee at breaks (strictly 10 am and 3 pm) which I have always adhered to for others.
    10 to 5 in the afternoon meant time for my mother to put on the kettle for ‘a cup of tea’ which she maintained ‘would bring Daddy home’, and immediately he came home from work we would sit down and eat dinner (which was called tea).
    Tea rarely gets a show in this house, more for contractors or family members who are tea drinkers and definitely always offered in the afternoon.
    I am more of a Lapsang Souchong, roibos, Early Gray (can vouch for the Creme version)sort of person, but infrequently, more of a summer evening than any other time. And being in my 50’s could count the number of times I have had black tea on the fingers of one hand. My husband will have a cup in the afternoon and chat with a contractor but rarely otherwise, we are both more coffee drinkers, one of our more basic initial attractions to each other.
    A counsellor I knew recommended rather than resorting to alcohol, a cup of tea, and time for talk in the evening was a great relationship builder. It doesn’t happen in this household.

  154. I drink tea throughout the day, but definately put the kettle on first thing after I come home from work.

  155. Oh man did this resonate. I grew up in the UK and while my parents were American, by the time they moved back to the states, they’d adopted an afternoon cuppa as an entrenched tradition.
    My life is, by and large, fueled by strong cups of black tea with lashings of milk and honey. Can’t start the morning without and the afternoon cuppa gives me a little oasis of tranquility amidst a busy day.
    (And now I’ve indoctrinated my husband into the tea-drinking tribe. Come the weekend when we’re both at home he always asks, “Tea?”)

  156. No afternoon tea here…well, not hot tea. My mom is an iced tea drinker as was my grandfather(her father) which was passed down to her and she’s passed on to me. Iced tea…sets everything right. Hot tea in the morning, iced tea in the afternoon. I drink my hot tea without milk, mom drinks her’s with milk. Iced tea is always served a smidge on the sweet side with a nice hunk of lemon. Tea is always the go to sick beverage. I drink more hot tea in the winters than in the summers. I ALWAYS have tea in my house…it just doesn’t feel like a home without tea. 🙂

  157. There is a little bastion f tea time here in Kentucky. If you ever need a cuppa I will be happy to start the Russell Hobbs. The milk is already in the little cream pitcher.
    I just got home from work and I have my cup right here beside me. I wouldn’t have it otherwise.

  158. I’ve always favored both, depending on time and situation. If I have to get up early (and because I work at a newspaper and am semi-nocturnal, “early” equates to “before noon”), it needs to be coffee. And coffee is usually the beverage of roadtrips, etc.
    But my work day usually starts when I arrive a little before 3 p.m., to give myself time to make a cup of tea and toast a bagel or an English muffin (I rarely eat right when I get up) before I get down to it. My check-the-e-mail-and-deal-with-daily-nonsense fortification is invariably tea.
    If I am having a moderately homicidal day, or an otherwise particularly bad one, only Earl Grey will do. But I have several boxes in my desk. My boss has several boxes ON his desk. We have dueling tea shops, and occasionally trade.
    And I have a really cute pattern for a tea wallet. I just want to get my hands on some of those Mary Engelbreit tea-patterned calicoes.
    It’s lovely to think there are others making tea at the same time I do, every day!

  159. Thank you for sharing such a lovely post about this everyday and yet most special rituals. I drink tea often throughout the day but I don’t have a set “tea time.” Perhaps I should as I’ve still not mastered working at home even though I’ve been doing it for a while. Perhaps setting my own time for afternoon tea will add some structure to my day. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Come to think of it, you’ve got me wanting a cuppa right about now.

  160. yep, I usually brew a pot of it and use one of my nice tea cups and milk/sugar sets to just relax. As daily as possible. Barring that, I have a cup of tea at least 3 times a day out of a regular mug. But I love drinking tea from my tea sets. The nice china is meant to be USED after all.

  161. It’s bizarre, I don’t usually but I just had the inkling for one today and am drinking it as I read your blog. It’s a little creepy actually. lol
    Thanks for a great post.

  162. I do, only its coffee – the pick me up to get me through the rest of my day.
    If I am sick however, it’s tea all the way.

  163. I used to drink all the time (tea that is, I just realized how that read) when I lived at home with my anglophile mother. But I joined the military and got on the coffee train. But, I collect tea. But don’t take the time to drink it. I was just in Australia and easily slipped back into tea mode at the hostel. i’ve been thinking I’d try to drink tea instead of collecting it. It rivals my yarn stash.

  164. I. Can. Not. Live. Without. Tea. Even when my natural health consultant told me I should stop drinking it, I said I’d rather die young than give up my cup of tea. So I switched to decaf. If I am unable to have tea in the afternoon, it makes me feel very out of sorts. But you’re right–here in the USA ordering tea is a hit or miss proposition (I’m American but grew up overseas). First of all, you ALWAYS have to specify “hot” tea because they will never assume that that’s what you mean. I always carry emergency teabags in my handbag so that even if they give me that slackjawed look when I ask for hot tea, I can ask for boiling water in a mug and make my own tea. Yes. It is that important!

  165. Iced tea here. I’m not a hot drink person. Coffee makes me gag to taste it, but I love the smell…doesn’t make sense. But I can’t start my day without my cuppa Iced Tea!

  166. Earl Grey starts my day, not coffee. When I’m out on the road, hot chai is a special treat. I’m one American who loves her tea. I have two drawers and one 3-shelf cabinet in the kitchen all devoted to tea. Tea lovers and knitters are always welcome at my door.

  167. My partner is a British expat who goes wonky if he doesn’t have his tea. Not always at tea time, but sharing that lovely cup (two parts black tea – he prefers loose leaf Co-op tea – to one part Earl Grey) is one of my favourite parts of the day. Even when it doesn’t come till quarter after seven…
    I look forward to reading this lovely tribute to him over our cup today.

  168. No tea time for me, but growing up in the Great Plains of the US, we had “coffee” about the same time of day but it could also could occur mid morning. I grew up in a farm family so it was downtime after morning chores and before evening chores. Black coffee, baked sweets, But about 3 o’clock in the afternoon I need something hot to drink even in the summer.

  169. Loved your post about tea. I’m a Southerner – from Virginia – my mom is from North Carolina. We were raised on tea. But, sweet ice tea. I drink it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and inbetween, but never hot. Tried hot tea several times – not for me….

  170. I’m a little strange. I drink green ginger tea first thing in the morning (giant mug), and in the afternoons I crave iced coffee around 2 or 3 (trying to break that habit). In the evenings I drink chocolate truffle or chocolate mint tea while I sew (or knit). No calories! (well, not many).
    Maybe I should just do all tea, all the time.

  171. My mom was a true blue Anglophile, I don’t even drink coffee. 3 pm tea-time is a tradition in our house. And it’s practically impossible to find good tea in a US restaurant, unless it’s a place specializing in afternoon tea. Even then you get Earl Grey or something, not good black tea.

  172. I don’t have a “tea time” because I drink a lot of tea almost everyday. I usually cold brew my tea.
    In California, you have to be specific. Most restaurants in California give you cold, sweet tea. Asian restaurants will usually give hot, unsweetened tea.

  173. I love the time differences. Here is is 3pm Pacific and I am making tea. I suppose this stems from childhood, given my parents arrived from England barely before I was born, but it is something I’ve done continously since my kids were in school. It signalled a recharge point, a shift of gears from work done while alone and work done while the house is full. Even though my kids are all adults I still do different things before and after tea and now I am off to make stew for tonight’s supper and for tomorrow where 3pm tea starts my shift at work.

  174. Also, I want to clarify that sweet iced tea is generally made from red tea and should be hot and fresh and just poured over the ice. Many restaurants do not bother to do it right. As with anything else, there is a wide variety of quality.

  175. Spectacular timing. I almost never drink tea, but today, at around 3, I just had to make myself a cup. Herbal, lots of honey. Can’t tolerate the real stuff.

  176. I love my tea, but I am in a sea of coffee drinkers, so sometimes getting “hot tea” outside of home is a bit challenging. Often times, I carry around 1-2 tea bags and simply ask for hot water.
    However, nowadays, there are a plethora of tea shops opening in opposition to the Starbucks cafes.
    It’s a nice change. 🙂

  177. Not only do we enjoy tea, but since my hubby is Chinese, tea is like a sacred tradition in the house. In other words all kinks of various tea and it’s always a delightful surprise to try a new variety and compare…

  178. I do not have it. I have afternoon can of Diet Coke. I think the tea time is British/Canadian although my father regularly took a break for coffee or went to coffee with his friends at about 3.

  179. Black tea and green tea for me but those flaoured teas ro me are absolutely horribe and I keep getting them for gifts even after voicing my dilike for them. Now I just tell eveyone I drink plain black coffee. NO flavours!!!

  180. I have tea time around 9 pm. That’s about the time where I’m a little sleep and a little snacky, not quite ready to go to bed but ready to settle down and start getting ready for bed. I have my tea and some toast and then I settle down for another hour or so of what I was doing before I decided it was tea time. I don’t have a kettle, but I wish I did. I just use the coffee pot to heat my water.

  181. I do a tea time, at work. My co-workers all know that it is about 3:00, when I leave my desk and stroll to the back for a cuppa. It gives me that little boost I need to finish my day. Oh yeah, I am American and I live in the South. But I got the urge honestly, my Scottish grandparents!

  182. Oh my, yes. Tea plays a very important role in my life – afternoon and otherwise. To the point where I often travel with my own kettle (and my own tea, and sugar, and little boxes of ultra-pasteurized milk) just in case. Because nothing makes the heart sink quite like being presented with a lukewarm cup of dishwater-colored tea from an exceedingly weak bag of stale leaves. *shudder*

  183. I started drinking tea in college, under two different influences. 1: two of my housemates were 1st generation Americans and drank tea as part of their culture. 2: I went to a “crunchy” school (full of hippies) and lots of folks drank various herbal teas. I am glad to be a convert. Now I mostly drink tea with…you guessed it…other knitters. “Sip n stitch” on Sundays at the LYS, or with co-workers on 1st and 3rd Fridays after work.

  184. I’m in Michigan, and am definitely a hot tea person. Although both my parents also are big on tea (mom – iced, non-sweetened tea; dad – iced and hot tea), it really became a habit when I lived in Ireland for a while. Tea time was an absolute must in the afternoon, for just the reason you mention. It was a time to reset the brain, to catch up with roommates and friends, and just to relax a bit before the rest of the day. Now that I’m back in Michigan, it’s a tradition I’ve kept, and a great reason to take a quick break in the afternoon at work.

  185. Dear Ms Stephanie,
    I think tea time makes life bearable during the awful times too. I think it must be our shared heritage (Canadians and Aussies still hang out with the Commonwealth Crowd). For my birthday recently a friend gave me a china tea pot and matching cup/saucer so I could have a lovely tea at 3pm when my new office renovation is complete.
    bliss indeed.
    ps, when my daughter goes to Canada (London) for her post-doc she too will go with tea, will you keep an eye out for her?

  186. Tea is a natural part of life in my family – English extraction of course. My day starts with a cup in bed, another at breakfast, one at morning tea time (around 10.30, 11-ish) maybe one after lunch, definitely one about 4 and the lovely last one for the day after dinner. Coffee? Love the smell, hate the taste – although a good strong Greek or Turkish after dinner when I’m out is OK. My husband loves variety and we both like Ceylon estate teas so we have a different one for every pot. Teabags are a no no – leaf tea, properly brewed. Our children and grandchildren also respond to the best pick-me-up I know. Great thread Stephanie.

  187. I’m almost entirely fuelled by tea.
    I’m partial to a coffee if we go out, I enjoy a mochachino and a bun with friends. But it is tea that stops me running away from home on a daily basis. You can keep your Earl Greys and your fruity infusions, I like it hot and strong (like my men) and what my Mum calls ‘builders tea’ – brewed with enough leaves to stand a spoon in and poured into the biggest mug you can find.
    I never even put my teapot away because just the sight of it is a comfort. I gave up cigarettes but you’ll pry my cuppa from my cold dead hands.

  188. I’m from MN and I grew up with coffee. However I never liked it. Around here that’s scandalous. When I had my first cup of real tea I adopted it forever. My knitting friends all drink it too. Perhaps its because knitters have such good taste. Of course a couple of hours later we have “fivsies” here. And that does not involve tea or coffee………..

  189. Absolutely! I’m a grad student who also lacks a fair amount of structure to most days. I also appreciate a cup of tea when I first get to the office (made while my computer is turning on), and then around 10:30 for a stretch/break. And then a cup of decaf while I make dinner (so I don’t make a meal out of tasting), and another cup or two for dessert/warm up before going to bed. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know how I’d survive without tea.

  190. I absolutely have tea at 3; a lovely ritual wherein I warm the pot while the kettle is on, then decide which sort of tea will be best that day. Loose tea, of course, and not only do I have tea but when my neighbors’ children were little they often came over to have tea with Miss Pat. We also would read and had a ball. I miss those days but still enjoy the tea.

  191. I don’t have tea time (grew up American), but I want to. I want my kids to have that ritual when they come home from school for snack, which is as close to ‘tea’ as we have down here, there’s tea too. I like the idea of having people over “for tea.” I like the stuff a LOT, so it makes sense. It just hasn’t made its way into my daily routine. Yet.

  192. Well I occasionally drink tea, but I certainly don’t do tea time. Now I want to!! Maybe I need an electric kettle to take to work…

  193. If I have not had tea by 4, the world feels a little off kilter.
    Seldom do I order tea when out. It is likely to be a bad, generic, Lipton knock-off. I prefer to hurry up and get home so I put on the kettle.

  194. I am American married to a fellow from England. I always drank coffee but got started on tea when we started seeing each other. Has to be a cup of English tea though-American tea is too weak. My Mother-In-Law always said a cup of tea fixes everything and she was right.

  195. Yes, it’s definitely an American-Canadian difference. Most Americans you’ll find having afternoon tea hail from (or spent time in) GB or a Commonwealth country.
    I wish I liked it, but I can’t stand the flavor of it w/o loads of sugar and milk, which is not conducive to the weight loss plan…

  196. I’m not so ritualistic about it, but I do love a milky chai in the afternoon sometimes, and something herbal just about every night while I knit in front of the TV with my husband (he doesn’t knit…it’s just the TV watching we do together!)

  197. I grew up drinking tea at home, but picked up the afternoon tea habit during a term spent abroad in a cold April London during my freshmen year. I’d never experienced that damp English cold & with no central heating where we were staying quickly learned to always have a cup of hot tea in the afternoon.

  198. I agree with everything good you write about tea! Definitely totally true and I am very addicted! I just want to ad ice cream to the mix, not in to the tea but to things that is always good and can never make anything worse.

  199. I do think it’s somewhat cultural. I didn’t grow up drinking tea here in the U.S., but when I lived in Denmark I got in the habit. Just today I was wondering if I needed a new, fancy, red electric kettle to replace my stovetop kettle. But then I decided that the stovetop kettle still works fine and why do I need extra appliances? and I put it back on the store shelf.
    I think it’s just about time for a cup now.

  200. I’m from Pennsylvania and love my tea! Have tea every afternoon also and now that will be more special because I’ll think that I’m having a cup with you, and a whole host of other knitters! Grew up in a home of coffee drinkers. Think my love of tea came from my grandmother!

  201. I will not do a cup of hot tea in the afternoon, but generally in the evening, with or after dinner. Depending on the season, I may drink iced tea the rest of the time. I drink hot tea in my little Jane Austen cup from Chawton House in England, and keep several loose teas on hand to satisfy any craving I might have at the moment.
    Being American, I suppose that is more what you will see here. I love your little ritual, though. It’s one that would be lovely to implement, so I think I will. Thank you!

  202. Yes, I drink hot tea at home and at work. But I know that it isn’t standard in Mississippi. When I travel, I take along an electric kettle and a small pint of milk for the hotel room.

  203. I drink a fair amount of tea but have not as yet begun having a regular teatime in the afternoon. Because of my intolerance to caffine I drink herbal or white tea. Very soothing and refreshing. Have a wonderful evening and thank you for the blog.

  204. I do not come from tea drinkers, but am new to the afternoon tea business. It’s perfect–just as you describe it. It’s a respite and a recharge for the rest of the day’s chores.

  205. I love tea, and didn’t realize how many others stop for tea around three, as I do too. 🙂 Nice to know I’m not alone!

  206. What a great way to spend a few minutes in the afternoon! I want to make this my new tradition.

  207. Count me in as another American who has to have an afternoon cup of tea. One in the morning, one in the afternoon, loose black Assam tea, no milk. I get very, very cranky without it.

  208. I won’t drink tea when I’m away from home b/c it’s always so bad. (This is in the US.) At home, it’s my preferred beverage, although caffeine in the afternoon is a problem for me. Last year I flew Air Canada for the first time and was thrilled to discover that they served tea which hot water had not been run through the coffee thing! After airline coffee, airline coffee-flavored tea is the worst thing ever.

  209. You’re funny! Tea is for the days when you’re sick, or when you run out of coffee. Coffee makes the whole house smell fortified (if you make a pot), and solves nearly all the problems facing man (or woman) except world hunger. Coffee makes you think clearer, and keeps you going all afternoon.
    When I was little, every afternoon my mom would put out a cup of coffee at 4, and drink it in her own little fatigue-induced haze, and then come back to us to finish the day. I always wondered what she needed it for. Now I have kids of my own, and I know!
    Of course, I come from German lines, where kaffe und kuchen replace tea time. Fattening, but very humane.

  210. I am a South Australian of Scottish descent, so ‘tea-time’ has two different meanings for me. It is anytime you have a ‘cuppa’ which is always tea of some description (mine is always weak with milk courtesy of my grandmother who used to put tea in my milk when I was a child). My grandmother and father drank tea all the time – even when the temperature was over 40 degrees Celsius. I used to give my dad Twinings tea as a gift for birthdays etc (he was a pensioner and it was a bit too expensive) and he loved it. It was a gift he always wanted and appreciated and could use.
    ‘Tea-time’ also means the evening meal. Dinner is a hot meal had at midday or when you go ‘out to dinner’ which is then in the evening. If you have friends ‘over for dinner’ then that is a planned evening meal, but if you ask them to ‘stay for tea’ then it is on the spur-of-the-moment and is whatever is going.
    My grandmother had a selection of tea pots in different sizes and it depended on how many people where there as to which teapot she would use – and yes, there was a knitted cosy for each pot.

  211. sometimes, but not nearly on enough of a regular basis! I completely agree that it’s necessary and I don’t know what stops me… thanks for the reminder. : )

  212. My husband is a tea drinker – all day, and I am a coffee drinker. Now that the weather is getting colder I am finding that having a cuppa with hubby is a nice afternoon break, when he’s working from home. …and you’re right, afternoon tea is soothing.

  213. Growing up we didn’t have tea time, we did have afternoon coffee though. My Dad worked from home and every afternoon and after dinner every night he would have his cup of espresso.
    I still remember the Christmas I got a “tea set”, I spent most of the morning bringing my parents coffee. Now coffee (latte’s really) is still the most comforting thing I can drink when I’m sick or cold or just because.

  214. Yes! And about the same time of day, too. Mine is at 2:30, as I have to leave the house at three to get my little ones from school. I developed the habit a few years ago. It’s a great way to anchor your afternoon!

  215. Just made myself a cup! I’m sad to say it isn’t a habit, as I am American. But after reading this darling little snippet, I might make it regular.
    Thanks for another adorable piece Stephanie.

  216. I’m American, and my family’s from the south, so tea was always present, but usually in its chilled and sweetened form. I started having tea time back in high school years ago; it’s how I start the day. I don’t need the caffeine, but it’s always a nice way to wake up. Sometimes I’ll have some in the afternoon, or, as you do, in times of crisis.
    Seems like I drink a lot of it, actually. A nice, warm cup is just so comforting. Wonder why that is.

  217. yes I do. Not every day, but when I do drink hot tea it is usually around 3 in the afternoon. also my low point of energy in a day!

  218. I love Earl Grey, but Have never heard of Cream Earl Gray. Sounds wonderful. Please Lucy Neatby, tell us where this can be found.

  219. judging from my email addy I bet you can guess I’d answer a resounding ‘yes!’ I do drink tea…and once a week this homeschooling mom has a formal tea with her daughter while we read some poetry. China, table linens, flowers, cookies…just a nice way to slip that in, learning without trying too too hard! Tea, as opposed to coffee, provides a gradual caffeine rise and fall instead of a drastic and crashing one, and if consumed at the right time of day will stave off the late afternoon sleepies! I’m always on the lookout for some quality looseleaf tea… what do YOU recommend? My latest fancy is Green Walnut, it’s delish! Tea and knitting…need to find a way to produce an income with those two treats!

  220. We don’t do tea but a farming-related afternoon lunch. Way back when farmers did huge amounts of physical work every day they would stop at about 3:30 for a sandwich, maybe a sweet and something to drink….more than likely coffee. Of course such a tradition CAN’T be changed and we still do afternoon lunch, even though we don’t do the same physical work that was done then…

  221. When I was a teenager, we had two British scouts stay with us for a week (my brothers were also in scouts). They taught us the proper way to make tea (warm the pot, serve with milk), and were impressed that my mother had a teapot. Now that I’m a bit older (cough, 40 years older, cough) it’s become a ritual with me to have a cup in the afternoon. In the summer it is ice tea (I live where it is very hot), but at this time of year, it’s hot tea. I like to think that I haven’t moved too far from my British ancestors (though some of them came over on the very early boats and probably took part in the Boston Tea Party a few years later).

  222. Tea at mid-morning and midafternoon and I’m a resolutely American American and you have to go back a minimum of 5 generations to the first immigrant from the British Isles. So. There.

  223. I have tea everyday at 0300, even when I’m at work and I’m Hispanic.
    My mom who comes from Mexico is a big believer of teas for any or whatever reason. My 8 year old is trained to believe that tea is medicine. He always feels better after a cup!

  224. I’m from New York (the state, not the city) and we’re coffee drinkers in this home, unless you’re sick and then you have tea…

  225. “Tea’s a good drink…it’ll keep you going” sayeth Judi Dench/Agnis Hamm in the movie, The Shipping News. I start and end my day with tea…in addition to the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and supper-time cuppas. There is nothing like a cup of Yorkshire Gold to soothe whatever ails.

  226. I don’t have tea time per se, but that’s just because tea is kind of a continuous thing. (Helps to be at home most of the day :P) I get up and have my coffee, sure, but after that’s done and I go to work or paint, I make sure I have some tea in a travel mug (work days) or on my desk (painting days). That cup will get refreshed through the day and into the afternoon. I put it in the sink to be washed when I go to start dinner, where I usually drink water. Then I wash the dishes and make one more cup to keep me company as I knit the evening away.
    My caffeine preference is to have it in alarming quantities during the day, then cut it back after about three. My daytime tea at the moment is a decent Earl Grey, and my evening tea is a lovely red vanilla.

  227. So I cranked up the computer at about a quarter to four my time to see if you had posted today…
    while I was waiting for the kettle to boil.
    Yup. Tea. Regularly, as required, clock times a bit variable.

  228. Fine Green Jasmine Fancy , a lovely tea pot and hot filtered watered from the kitchen. All of these are at work and depending on work load or meetings are combined between 2 and 4.
    It’s absolutely restorative and has kept me fortified (and not weeping outloud in the bathroom stall while co-workers wonder who’s in there boo hooing).
    I’ve got a cup steeping now.

  229. “a plain good cup of tea, poured at just about three in the afternoon is nothing short of liquid optimism, and I feel always after I have it that things are a little better, and I can’t imagine that a cup of tea has ever made anything worse. ”
    Pure poetry! Yep, I have a cuppa, but not usually at a set time due to my current schedule. However, that’s (joyfully) about to change!

  230. Absolutely. In Chicago, every morning and afternoon. (Hell, in fact a teapot arrived in the mail today.) I picked it up in college studying abroad in Ireland. I got great pleasure in visiting Ireland this fall for the first time since and enjoying tea where I learned to drink it. It definitely has never seemed like much of an American habit, I wish it would catch on more. It’s just so soothing and wonderful.

  231. Tea is a definite around here. Except I have a morning pot, and keep refilling it throughout the day. SpecialTeas Masala Chai is my current favorite, with their Ginger Chai being the caffeine-free alternative when I have a very tea-filled day and the original tablespoon of leaves has lost all semblance of teaness due to repeated steepings.

  232. I do not have a set tea time, but I’m so suggestible that I’m sure I will now :>) I drink tea from time to time, sometimes a cup of SleepyTime before bed. I always have to have coffee in the morning. But a cuppa might be just what I need to ramp up afternoon production.

  233. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been working on a stressful project, money has been very tight, and then last week I had a sewer problem that had to be fixed. Last week started having tea in the afternoon because I am trying to break the nasty American Diet Coke habit. I think the tea made me feel better and, after having tea, I noticed that I worked much better. I just went and made a cup of tea and put some frosting on a graham cracker. I’m feeling better already. And I am going to used the leftover tea to dye some fabric (a quilter thing). It’s something else to get me through my day.

  234. I’ve never commented on your posts before, but when I saw this I just couldn’t help myself! I’m American, born and raised, but I have an incurable tea addiction! Not that mamby pamby stuff, but real strong black tea with milk and sugar. mmmmm.
    Granted, I drink coffee too, but that’s usually for times like now when i’ll be working until 10 pm (i’m also a full time college student) and need a little extra jolt.
    p.s. I love following your blog, it’s delightful 🙂

  235. We always offer tea to guests and workmen, and because we’re thoroughly american, most of our visitors are confused and perhaps a bit charmed.
    I used to live in the mountains, and tea was essential in winter afternoons and evenings. Now I live in the sub-tropics, and tea is just the thing on a breezy, chilly (68 degree) day!

  236. Oh yes – coffee to wake up with, then tea. Orange Pekoe and South African Kwazulu – those are my favourites.
    My mother was Russian, samovars and slices of lemon – my father was British, good and strong in the brown pot – I grew up with it!
    Coffee drinking is an unfortunate habit I picked up at university in the 60’s – have cut it right down now, in my old age!

  237. Tea Time seems so civilized. As an American, and a tea drinker, I travel with a water boiler — as a proper cup of tea involves cold, fresh water put to to a boil, not water that is kept “hot” (and that includes you, Starbucks) or made in a machine that also brews coffee (coffee water, almost anywhere else).
    Soon I will be hoping that my husband will travel to England and bring me back some reasonably priced British tea …. strong dark tea. No lemon, sugar, or milk — just “black”! My addiction.

  238. Had a Canadian mother so grew up with tea and milk. Have graduated to the harder stuff (half and half.) We had tea and a snack after school but this is long abandoned as I have been working 40-hour weeks for a few decades. I live in Ohio and nearly everyone else is a coffee drinker. A good pot of tea is impossible to get in a restaurant, but at least now you get a tea bag and a pot of water to make your own in your cup. It used to be that the hot water came to the table with the tea bad dropped into it. As if.

  239. I am American, of Mexican and Native American descent- I grew up drinking herbal infusions, mainly because I had a “bad” stomach and was so severely lactose intolerant that I could not drink milk from about the time I was six. I also could not drink juice and did not drink soda as a kid, so herbal tea and water it was. So my meals were always accompanied by chamomile tea (manzanilla as we say in Spanish.) Because of my rotten gut I have never been able to drink coffee and because I grew up with a lot of Asian friends, I took a liking for green and oolang tea.
    I’m now a college professor and I have my seminars in the afternoon- so I usually get a cup between 2:30-3:30, depending on when my classes are. It helps keep me going for seminars…
    So green tea for breakfast, black tea for teatime, and an herbal tisane for after dinner(these days it tends to be rooibus or vervaine). Lotsa tea here. 🙂

  240. As an American I was not raised with tea, and my family does not drink it. In college I roomed with a Polish girl who introduced me to it, and I now live with a large Irish family where there is always a hot pot of tea around. My tea time is when I get home. I need that afternoon cup to relax, regroup, and make something useful (or at least stress free) out of my evening. I think more Americans would drink tea if there were more exposure to it.

  241. Absolutely….some days, teatime is all day. I don’t understand people who don’t appreciate tea….it is a signal to take a breath and focus…I understand the need for coffee, but it does juice you up more than tea. My father’s side is Russian and I used to have tea with my Babci, so maybe that’s where it started for me.
    I live in NJ and I am endlessly charmed when a restaurant actually knows how to brew tea…it’s not very often. More often than not, you wait way longer for your tea as they run around pouring second cups of coffee for everyone else. And then, you often end up with tepid water that tastes like the carafe had hot coffee in it the day before.
    I remember a quote I saw on a blog once (I don’t remember which one)….it said “I’m glad I wasn’t born before tea.” Can you imagine a world without tea? I shudder!

  242. Yes! We live in Maine we have it and often at around three but also at various other times in the day. We also have a really nice tea room not far from here where we went last Sunday for a full tea.

  243. Speaking historically, the Americans had this thing ( actually two one in Boston , one in Baltimore ) called the Tea Party ( not to be confused with the modern travesty). Protests over tea tax. Americans got out of the habit of taking tea.
    However, I used to come home from school in England and have a cuppa ( always a kettle on the Aga). Frequently tea took the place of an evening meal. Loads of sandwiches, milky tea and sometimes beans on toast.
    Now I stop around four and take a cup of, not tea, soda; because no one has ever made me tea like Mrs. Gibbs.

  244. I’m a Mormon, so I don’t drink tea or coffee, but I do enjoy hot chocolate–the thicker and more chocolatey the better! And when I’m sick, I really like to boil up slices of lemon and stir in some honey. Soothes my throat and warms me up. Yum!

  245. I do, but not consistently. Right around 3 or 4pm, I usually put on either a pot of tea or coffee. When I drink coffee it is usually decaf, so I don’t really get the jittery issue. But today is definitely a tea day. It has gotten colder & not been a very good day. I find that I go through periods of drinking one then the other. It has been that way for quite a long time.

  246. Growing up in East Texas, tea was alway ice cold and served with a meal. However, since I reached legal age, broadened my horizons & friendships, and traveled overseas, I now enjoy a cup of hot tea in the afternoon & hot green tea at night. At the last family reunion, it was harder to tell which surprised some of my family more – the fact that I drank HOT tea or that I voted Democrat.

  247. I love this topic.
    I too work from home and the only constant in my day is tea time – which is 4:00 pm for me.
    However, I must admit that I DO have cookies with my tea – between 3-5 cookies, not the whole jar like really I want to have.
    Even though I don’t listen to the radio or TV while I work, somehow I always look up at the clock right around 4:00 pm instictively!

  248. Love tea traditions — but in southwest Georgia it is too hot to drink hot tea in the summer so teatime is in the cooler months (and “sweettea” is another matter entirely). Somehow, 4 o’clock is tea time for me; my English friend was horrified that her Dutch in-laws wanted tea at 3 as “everyone” knows the “proper” time is 5 p.m. 🙂

  249. Oh, tea, wonderful tea! Despite being raised by and around coffee-obsessed Norwegians, I prefer to start my day with it, though I usually have a cup of coffee at work to wake me up. I generally forget to take a tea break in the afternoon; I shall have to set my calendar to remind me! I also like a cup just before bedtime, generally decaffeinated or herbal, though I’m not particularly fond of most herbal teas. They aren’t real tea to me.
    I started drinking tea young as I was an early Anglophile. In college, my dorm mates were fascinated that I had an actual tea set with a tray. However, being stuck among coffee-drinking folk, I always felt I really needed to learn how to brew tea properly. So in 1978 when I went to the British Isles, I was looking forward to the home stay, because I hoped my home stay “mom” would teach me to make perfect tea. Alas, my family had just moved back to England from Bermuda, and were almost more Americanized than I was. However, I did learn a few tips. During that trip, one day I sat drinking tea in a cafe, and two large women came in, one obviously upset. And the other was saying to her, comfortingly, “You come and have a cuppa, luv. There’s nothing a cuppa can’t cure, or at least make better.” She definitely wasn’t talking about coffee.
    American restaurants don’t understand tea. In fact most Americans don’t understand tea. Microwaved water? Ugh! Water not boiling hot? Ugh! I have a co-worker who drinks tea out of a mug that apparently never gets really cleaned (the inside is dark brown), but he just likes it hot and strong. My housemate drinks tea, but her morning tea is positively dreadful; she deliberately stews it! And she drinks ICED TEA in the morning in the summertime! I use tea bags for convenience when I don’t have time for the whole ritual, but my morning tea is always hot and never Lipton!

  250. I used to do “Tea Time” when I worked for a law firm. I had a lovely little china tea set. A darling little pot with a matching tea cup and saucer and a lovely little wooden tray to carry it back to my desk. The break room had a stove with a tea kettle and when I took my afternoon break, I’d put the kettle on, make a little pot of tea for myself and carry it back to my desk to enjoy for the afternoon. Most times I favored herbal blends simply because I enjoyed them “straight.” But whatever kind of tea I drank, I always felt quite civilized by observing my afternoon tea time.
    Sadly, my last day at the law firm, I dropped my little tea pot and it shattered in the way good china always does – Into a gazillion pieces. When I moved into a new position at a nursing home, my days were so insanely busy that I hardly had time to realize what time of day it was, let alone figure out that it was tea time. Life there has gotten much easier and I have established break times in the afternoon again. Reading your post today has made me want to resurect my old tea time and begin to enjoy it again. In fact, I think I will stop tomorrow at my favorite tea store and pick up a can of my favorite herbal blend and a new pot.

  251. Coffee is a necessity. Tea is civilization. I’m not even talking about the whole ritual of rinsing the tea pot, then placing the leaves (or bags) in the pot, then waiting…. by simply vitrue of the fact that tea is much hotter than coffee, you have to slow down to drink it.
    Being married to an Atlantic Canadian, you must be familiar with King Cole tea, truly the taste of the East Coast. When I lived in Alberta, my mum used to send me care packages of King Cole (and barley toys, if it was the right time of year.)
    I began allowing my son tea when he was four. The (used from my tea cup) tea bag was briefly swished in an inch of water, and then the cup was filled with milk. Not enough caffeine to harm him in the least but enough to get him used to the taste, and to the fact that we drink tea together as a way to pause. I remember being in restaurants when he was six or seven, and asking him in front of the server if he wanted a cup of tea. My son was nonplussed, but the look on their faces were priceless!

  252. I have tea almost every afternoon, for the same reasons that you do! My latest favorite is Stash Pumpkin Spice.

  253. Yup! Mine is at work around 2 when things start to fade and I need a pick me up – a nice cup of chocolate chai!

  254. I agree with Claire, I keep the other ‘stuff’ for visitors, but it’s “builders tea” for me!
    I was at the Silk Retreat last week with my Ziploc of Tetleys, Heck I even take it to the UK just in case.My family have accepted the builders tea bit but still shudder at no pot – bag in the mug.

  255. I have tea every day — loose tea for a pot in the morning (in the winter), and iced tea (unsweetened) all day in the summer. Mugs or glasses through the afternoon, as needed.
    I live in the south of the US, but I picked up the habit from my parents, who traveled to England when I was in my teens.
    If you ever travel to Alexandria, Virginia, the place to get tea is Old Town Coffee & Tea, with a wall full of jars of tea leaves and coffee beans in various varieties, flavors, and blends.

  256. Oh yes please to the tea! My best friend and I have a code: “I need tea” is our way of saying we need to get together and talk about everything.

  257. I think you’re right, it is a bit of a cultural thing. My daughter drinks tea ever since she spent a semester in Australia. I used to get some afternoon tea when I worked for someplace else and I think I’ll just make it a part of my routine again. 3-ish really does need a bit of a pick-me-up.

  258. American here, and I could practically set my watch, if I had one, by my tea time. 4pm the kettle goes on in response to a few stomach growls. 4:15pm I sit down with a cuppa and a nibble, scone, a few pieces of Aplets & Cotlets, a cookie if I have them near. Today I will have full, delicious cream in my tea, because it’s in the house and is a total treat. All my US family is huge on the tea drinking, and I live with Kiwis and a born Brit, so there is lots of tea being poured in my cup through the day.

  259. I remember as a child that our neighbor was from Ireland. So when we visited, tea was offered. I never could understand why she added milk until years later, I travelled to Wales where we were offered tea with clotted cream. I was hooked! Now, I love a “spot” of tea especially on a cold snowy day.

  260. I love tea and find it to be amazingly comforting. But I am one of those crazy Americans who doesn’t drink solely black tea. For instance, I’m about to go make myself a cup of peppermint tea.
    But I love tea. It is probably the most peaceful beverage on earth.

  261. We had tea time in my family growing up. Not regularly but more on days that kind of needed it. I’m a tea drinker now. I don’t like coffee (I’m hoping Oregon won’t kick me out for saying that) and tend to drink it through out the day. I think it is wonderful and try to foist it on people all the time but most folks think they don’t like tea (I’m convinced they just haven’t had GOOD tea prepared correctly). The US really doesn’t have that tradition. You can probably chalk it up to a certain party we had some years ago.
    I do have fun taunting my British relatives with iced tea. They are so horrified but iced tea can be good too!

  262. When I was little, a cuppa tea was for your icky tummy. As I grew-up I realized that I loved tea regardless of how my tummy was feeling. I never had an exact tea time though until I lived in Seattle, WA. I think this has something to do with proximity to Canada. I got hooked, every day at 4:00pm is tea time. I’ll admit that if I’m out and about it’s tea time at the Starbucks drive-thru, but I take what I can get. And as it is a very rainy/windy/tornado filled day here in the Midwest, it has been the perfect day for tea. I love Louisanne (a tea from the south – I have a friend send it to me) and I also love a good cuppa Earl or Lady Grey. I find fruit teas to be well, hot fruit juice, not really my thing, but to each their own.

  263. Just another reminder that Canada was once part of Britain, and, unlike the US, retains more Britishisms than we Americans do. I grew up in Buffalo, on the border, so learned to appreciate these things. My grandmother, who was born in Ontario and moved to the US as a child, introduced me to vinegar on french fries — another fabulous Canadian custom that we Americans don’t really understand. I agree — tea time is a great way to get ready for the rest of the afternoon.

  264. I think it’s a British thing. I am from the UK, now living in Colorado and I wouldn’t be without my Tetley British Blend for anything. In the mornings I have the usual rush of getting the boys to school, then I do some grocery shopping, get home and around 10.00am make myself a nice cuppa, milk and sweetener and it’s the best thing of the day, especially in this cold weather. I generally have one or two cups in the afternoon too. I don’t drink coffee, only water, so my tea is my favorite drink of the day.
    And restaurants here just don’t get it, except in my town here (Monument) where the Wisdom Tea House does a great pot of British tea, served with scones, jame and cream! Yummy!
    Wendy

  265. Living in Portland, Oregon coffee is generally the number 1 beverage. However, I have found recently that tea is making a good fight for top ranking, which as a tea drinker I’m extremely grateful.

  266. I am completely with you! Coffee in the morning, and tea from lunchtime on, especially mid-afternoon. I’m an American who had a British stepfather and I will say that I have nearly given up getting a cup of black tea made with boiling water and served with milk when I have a lunch date. It wasn’t this way years ago and I lament the change. I recently had some of my step-cousins visit from Australia and they, too, drank coffee in the a.m. and relished their tea in the afternoon. Bliss!

  267. I am probably the only Mississippian who feels the need for a hot cuppa in the afternoon…. year ’round! And yes, I generally have mine at 3:00. I think that comes from working in stock brokerage for over 20 years though. The Stock Exchange closes at 3:00 Central Time, so I always felt that it was a good time to take a break and just breathe. I no longer work in a market-driven environment, but deep inside I still have an alarm that goes off at 3:00 PM and causes me to reach for the tea tin.

  268. Yep, I have a cuppa every afternoon and love brewing a nice pot of tea. Everything about the whole process is comforting. It’s so frustrating how hard it is to find a decent cup of tea here in the US!

  269. Only during school holidays–otherwise, I’m too busy with the kiddos. Of course, if I have a cold, I make tea in my room (kids or no) with great impunity.

  270. I can’t speak for all Americans, but in my family, coffee is our am/pm go to and comfort/hospitality beverage of choice. Sad to say, perhaps, but tea is what I turn to only when I’m feeling ill. Mostly it is because no matter how stuffed up I am, how sore my throat is, or how awful a taste is in my mouth, tea is delicious and soothing, whereas coffee tastes terrible.

  271. Thank-you for the tip. I recently started working from home,and I’m struggling with the lack of structure. I think I’ll try it.

  272. Always late to the party for these comment-thingys, it seems, and answering before I read the plethora of comments above me…
    I love my coffee in the morning to jump-start my day, and a tea in the afternoon (and sometimes the evening, depending upon how cold it is) to relax and rejuvenate in a calmer fashion…

  273. I finally (after 50 years) found a tea I like–Rooibos, or red tea. It doesn’t seem to want sweetening, it has no caffeine and I think it has some of the good stuff that tea can have. I drink too much coffee (or so everyone tells me) and everyone’s been trying for years to find a tea that didn’t spell “I think I’m coming down with something” to me…this one just may make me an afternoon tea drinker.

  274. There was a wonderful program on PBS about the coffee tradition. Seems in Britain it was associated with all kinds of vices (women upstairs, etc.), so that, tea really took hold (& coffee never did.) Canada, being longer connected w/ England than the U.S., keeps the tea tradition.
    I go w/ decaf in the morning & interspersed through the day (I bring a big jar of it to work). With cream, so it has some nutrition & filling aspect. And I drink tea, in between the coffee. Tea is light, bright & soothing.
    Thanks for your essay!

  275. I only drink tea when I’m sick because I need liquids without caffeine. I love coffee like you love tea. FYI – in the Deep South, if you order tea and are not specific, it will arrive over ice and tooth-ach sweet.

  276. I know a little house in a little street in Australia that runs on tea. I know what teas I have in the cupboard, and use them on a daily basis, but all I can tell you about the coffee is that I have a jar. Not sure what type, though.
    Even when a neighbour’s house caught alight, I couldn’t help, but I could, and did, make tea. Many pots of tea. There is something about having a hot cup of tea (or coffee, for those inclined) that makes them inhale the aroma, sigh, and calm down. Certainly helped the residents of the house, although luckily none of them were home at the time.

  277. This is making me so sad that at 3:30 I am standing outside a school building waiting for my students to go home and am looking forward to another hour of work. Afternoon tea sounds wonderful. I do have morning tea though without fail. As strong as I can make it then add milk and sugar. Don’t know what I’m going to do next year though when my planning period is changed to a later time. I guess I will just have to move my tea time since a day without tea is totally unacceptable.

  278. American here. I drink tea every morning (two cups, green), sometimes in the afternoon (Earl Grey), and every night before bed (Chamomile, calms the anxieties). No milk, no sugar, no lemon—and the bag steeps right until the last drop. Never had much interest in coffee (neither the smell nor the flavor), but tea is essential.
    And, speaking from experience, cookies every day doesn’t spoil anything. 🙂

  279. I’m an American and I look forward to 3:00 when I can put my feet up and enjoy my cup of Earl Grey. It makes the rest of the day much better. Amazing stuff.

  280. Absolutely. Strong and black. Kettle goes on at about 4 when I get home from work and more often on days that are particularly trying.

  281. I was following you ’til you said the tea is strong and black. Is black tea really that much lower in caffeine than coffee? I’m surprised. Otherwise, I follow perfectly, and have decided the reason my afternoons are frequently a disaster is, that I’ve been drinking my tea at the wrong end of the day – with breakfast. I can’t give up my morning pot of freshly brewed tea, but I can certainly add another in at three or so. Hopefully it will help keep my life more civilized, as well.

  282. Mine is at night after dinner. Settles me for the night. My parents are the same.
    Of course if someone walks through the door, the kettle gets turned on without anyone even having to ask and I’m almost always caught off guard if someone asks for coffee after four in the afternoon.

  283. I drink tea almost all day long.
    Hot, dark tea with milk and sugar.
    Always around 3 because that’s when the “slump” is.
    Perhaps it’s having been raised in Canada.

  284. amen.
    i bought a loose leaf single cup tea basket filter thing for work, so that if i have a break sometime between 3pm and 4pm, i can make a nice cuppa. it’s absolutely restorative and relaxing and utterly necessary – and the cinnamon/sugar toast is something my mum brought me up with too!

  285. Stephanie,
    I have lived in the US and Canada, and it is definitely a Canadian/British outpost thing. I grew up with my mum having decaf orange flavored tea. She boiled water in a pan. About twice in my life she had a kettle, but she then burned it out at some point and didn’t replace it. Tea was a nice thing, but not “real” (read caffienated, on time or healing).
    Fast forward to boarding with a British couple when I attended McGill. The woman of the house was orgasmic about her teas. Could set the watch by them. She hummed and practically giggled as the electric kettle purred. Other friends set timers and stared at the cosied pot as steeped. Utterly foreign.
    I have now aligned myself with other minority Americans who know how to make Tea, enjoy it with whole milk, and feel fortified afterwards.
    I miss Canada.

  286. Of course, although I guess I run a little faster than you – tea time is a 2 o’clock in this house. At work, a co-worker and I ask each other, “Time for tea?” and look at the clock at the same time. (We don’t always have time to actually drink it until 3 – it’s different at home)
    In fact, I tell everyone I married my husband because he drinks tea with me. It’s important!

  287. I LOVE tea!
    In fact, I drink it all day long. It’s always the right thing to do, as far as I’m concerned. I tried drinking cocktails while knitting in the summer, but it just didn’t feel the same, you know?
    And while I do enjoy herbal teas here and there, to me, having a cuppa is all about a strong, black tea with milk. Herbs be damned.

  288. I love me a good cup of joe BUT I couldn’t agree with you more. A good cup of tea at about 3 (often when I have mine as well) makes the world seem like a brighter place! (And gives me the get up and go I need to get through the rest of the afternoon!)

  289. I’m afraid I just don’t like the flavor of tea or coffee, either one. I’ll drink peppermint tea or a strawberry herbal tea if it has enough sugar to qualify as a syrup, but my drink of choice is minted lemonade.

  290. Coffee is for mornings. Tea is for afternoons. Period. No discussions or variations are acceptable at our home.
    Can you post more shawl pictures please?
    Cheers!

  291. I just made a cup of hot delicious peach tea before I sat down to read this. Not too many people I know in the US go for tea, they usually reach for coffee, but I agree that tea is soothing and calming. I love it in the afternoon or in the evening to make myself relax, take a few deep breaths and think straight.

  292. I actually carry my tea bags with me. I live in PA. and every restaurant, deli, etc. I go to, only has Lipton tea which is very weak!! I get odd looks when I say I’ll pay for the hot water, just make sure it’s HOT!! I LOVE my tea:-)

  293. “Tea time” for us is that time when the kids get home from school and we have a glass of milk with a snack or hot chocolate with a snack.
    My own personal tea time is a cup of herbal tea before I go to bed.

  294. I think it’s more about the state of mind than the actual tea (although I do love a good cup of tea). When I was in my early twenties, I went to Holland and pretty much the whole country shuts down at 4 o’clock for a little piece of ham on a nice roll and a small cup of a coffee. Shameless flattery aside, more days than not, my cuppa is checking out to see if the YarnHarlot posted. I’m always happy when you’ve been to the blog, and if you haven’t, I assume that sometime soon, I’ll hear about what you were doing instead of blogging. It gives me that same kind of nice, peaceful break. Thanks for that–and not just because US Thanksgiving is this week.

  295. Growing up in Ecuador, of all places, tea time was fairly common among the “upper crust”. I’ve always been a big fan of tea and when we moved to the US, was a bit disappointed there was no tea time in the United States (at least not in the midwest.) I’m diligently working to ensure my girls grow up with an appreciation of tea – and of “tea time”.
    On my first, and recent trip to England, the biggest thrill for me was TEA. Tea with my breakfast, afternoon tea, tea whenever I wanted it – and a proper tea too!

  296. we’re huge tea drinkers here. I’m 3/4 English, my husband the same. Black tea is our favorite, but love.tea.period. When my twenty nine year old son comes over he usually wants a cup of tea, same with my daughter. It’s so cozy and comforting!

  297. I think it’s largely cultural. However, I recently “discovered” that in the afternoon, when my youngest is waking up from his nap, a cup of tea is the perfect thing to slingshot me through those later afternoon hours into the evening. I try to remember to have it more often, but if often gets forgotten since it isn’t a part of my routine. It should be. My youngest is two years old and it really, really should be.

  298. tea time? all day. first thing in the morning to just before bed, i think i have about 8 cups or so a day.
    never been anywhere in the US that could manage a decent cup of hot tea aside from a tea house.

  299. I just had some bad news tonight and all I could do was make some tea. Tea is the answer to such occasions and at any time of day. Though drinking coffe in the afternoon doesn’t seem or taste right at all. Tea soothes and comforts and helps clarify things a bit. Being from England it has to be Tetleys if British tea isn’t availalbe. And with milk – not black or half and half (shudder)

  300. I’ve been drinking tea since I was 5. I never have gotten into coffee. Don’t even like the smell of it. But tea? Very comforting. I don’t have a special time set aside for it though.
    I have to drink decaf these days or I can’t sleep at all. I’ve found that Tetley decaf tea is a good strong tea, unlike other decaf tea which is just insipid. I like STRONG tea. I just can’t have the caffeine.
    The other night we ate at a Chinese restaurant and had tea. I always forget that tea in restaurants has caffeine. So I was up at 3am, wide awake, and did about 2 hours of work on the computer before I was sleepy enough to go back to bed.

  301. I’m American and when I was growing up, Mom would give us tea if we were sick. Otherwise, it was coffee. My sister and I would drink from our parent’s cups. I always liked Dad’s best because he put cream and sugar in his. Now I have coffee. Now I have coffee in the morning and I love iced tea.

  302. Your afternoon tea time is my afternoon coffee break. As you are sipping your tea, I’m holding that warm cup in hand and smelling that coffee deliciousness which mean energy for a few more hours. While I don’t have tea time, I crave tea on those cold winter evenings when the wind is raw, the evenings are dark at 5:30pm, and I’m chilled to the bone. A cuppa warms me right up to face the evening meal.

  303. This is perfect. I’m actually sitting here drinking a cup of tea while reading (and just to get things straight – I made the tea before I even checked to see if you had a new post up). I work in an office where it is impossible to make a really good cup of tea so proper tea time (usually around 3:30 or 4 for me) is reserved for days when I’m at home but tea in general is a staple in our house. I usually have tea with my breakfast (coffee is a weekend thing at home) and it is what I reach for when we have company or the house is chilly or anyone has any sort of emotional difficulty. It is also what we are offered whenever we visit friends of family (mine or my husbands).
    Just for the record – in case anyone wants to do a study or something – I’m living in northern Canada, my ancestors came from England and Scotland (but I’m at least three generations Canadian) and I spend my days proof reading an old trading post ledger (where everyone bought tea – even if they didn’t buy anything else!).
    ps. Have you noticed how tea is refreshing even when it is hot out?

  304. Yep, the British influence. Americans are missing out. I treasure the memories of many cups of tea in England, and often in late afternoon, I do it here, too. Like right now, when it’s raining an unprecedented amount all over Alaska, on top of our beautiful snow, and we are all in our houses due to the roads being skating rinks. My tea is going down very well; I only wish I had some lovely chocolate digestives to keep it company. In spite of rain on snow, the dogs and I had a nice walk in the woods behind us, me in raincoat, rain pants, and bunny boots. In November?!? Bring on the tea!

  305. I drink tea much of the day in my office because it is always cold in my office. I do drink tea at home as well either herbal tea to relax at night or to minimize the coffee intake or again due to cold. No British or Canadian blood in me, though.

  306. I’ve carried on a decades-long love affair with Earl. Every afternoon about 3, I wrap my fingers around a mug of steaming hot Earl Grey tea – I cannot imagine a day without Earl. He soothes, rescues, calms, energizes – shhhh – don’t tell my husband. And Lucy Neatby, what are you doing to me, sending me down the road to yet another luscious-sounding Earl – Cream Earl Grey? Oh my – how much Earl can a girl handle? I think I’m about to find out.

  307. I read this post hearing your voice but with an English accent. 😉 I do not have a teatime tradition, per se, but I do find that around 330 or 4 in the afternoon, I often find myself looking for a little noshy and a beverage. Sometimes I choose tea (usually herbal), and a little toast. Sometimes it’s a piece of chocolate or something. Sometimes I pop some popcorn and have a soda! (Decadent, I know!)

  308. Tea all the way sugar and cream. Never did like coffee. My sister likes her coffee though.

  309. First, in the the south (at least Nashville, TN) a request for tea will surely be met with “sweet or unsweet?” Secondly, although I am life-long southerner, my grandmother was from Boston and her mother was English. Therefore, I know all about tea (and cookies). In fact, to my southern friends, I am quite the tea snob, errr I mean connossieur. I love my hot tea and like many varieties, though there is nothing like Earl Grey. I prefer it with nothing or bit of lemon. I was quite surprised to meet a young Canadian at college who knew about all of the teas I liked.
    For the record, I’m probably the only southern who likes Guiness beer too.

  310. I sure do have a tea time! Coffee, as you said, is my engine starter of a morning, but I’ll only have one or two a day…tea, black and unsweetened, from the pot (always tastes better) is a marvellous cure all, for whatever may be ailing you 😉

  311. I don’t have a set tea time every day, but I do drink copious amounts of tea daily. Getting up to set the kettle on for a new pot is what breaks up my paper writing parties. =)

  312. I always have a cup of tea in the afternoon. Lately I use the chai mix that I found via Hello Yarn and Angry Chicken ( http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2010/01/potions-and-concoctions-part-iv.html ) fyi, everyone should give it a try because it takes teatime to a whole new realm. I keep a jar in the fridge at work.
    A friend recently mentioned ‘the afternoon fa-fa’s’ (that time of day when you are just ready for a break, or a nap, and need a little help to finish your day). I never put a name to it, but it is the reason I need my tea in the afternoon.

  313. I think I need to get back into the habit.. a very dear friend of mine died this weekend, and he always had tea in the evening. I just made tea for my brother.. but I didn’t pour a cup for myself. I think it’s good for whatever ails you.. as you and so many of the posters have written. Irish breakfast with milk and sugar in the morning, chai tea in the afternoon and some yummy herbal go to bed with honey tea at night… thanks very much Steph for helping me find solace in the simple things….

  314. I go back and forth between wanting an afternoon latte or an afternoon tea. It depends on my mood and caffeine need. My husband is definitely in the afternoon tea camp, however. My little ones love steamed milk with maple syrup and cinnamon…they are in the sweet camp.

  315. We have tea time just about any time around my house. My husband lived in Europe and I suppose that he has heavily influenced me. It is pouring rain right now and we are working with a cup of tea.

  316. I live in the states, and of course I have my afternoon cuppa. Strong, black & with milk. Ahhhhh

  317. Oh yes – a lovely cup of Lady Grey, preferably in a cup and saucer, with breakfast, and then a good mug of Assam for afternoon tea around 3pm. Both black, much to the horror of my English compatriots. But always with cake!

  318. Late morning cup – right around 11, right about the time I teach 8 year olds math.
    Then, around 9:30 pm – and herbal concoction right before bed.
    Good stuff.

  319. I lived in England for two years and drank 4 cups of good tea a day–even began to prefer it to coffee. Since coming back to the US in August and buying the essential electric kettle, I have had less than ten cups in ten weeks. It is a bit of a mystery but it almost seems to be “in the water.” I suspect it has something to do with the pace at which Americans move–life is so ridiculously hurried and you are always driving somewhere, racing in fact. But in England you actually walked, breathed deeply, sat down in the afternoon for a cuppa. I don’t think the ritual suits our way of life, shame that it is. Now if I could just find some good Rooibos tea on this side of the pond to enjoy at night when things do finally slow down for the day…

  320. Part of my Mom’s family was English and Irish, and growing up I drank tea – with milk and a little sugar. In my late teens & early 20’s I slowly switched over to coffee, but still enjoy tea in the afternoon. Just this morning after being ill all night, morning tea was the only thing that sounded like it might cure/restore/fix me. Thank you – so happy to read your tea thoughts this evening!

  321. As an American my family drinks tea in all forms… hot, cold, sweet, bitter. We drink ALOT of tea espically when life happens.
    Funny story from the other day….
    I have this wonderful friend who is also a wonderful knitter, but she does not drink tea. I consider this her one and only flaw. I still love her, but some days it can be harder than others. Like when I need tea.
    I told her this and laughed- see sill a good egg.
    Great post!

  322. Not in the afternoon. But I’ve discovered STASH herbal tea, no caffeine, with lemongrass and ginger that hits the spot before bedtime. Helps me unwind. I need to get more……..

  323. Yes, my Welsh aunt taught my sister and I to drink tea. It was horrible when I could no longer put milk in my tea (won’t go into dreadful gastric symptoms that forced me to forego dairy). As a rule, unless I am in a real tea shop, which there are a few in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, I won’t order tea anywhere in the U.S. as no one knows how to make a decent cup of tea. They do in Canada and the British Isles but not here. So I drink coffee when I’m out. Tea is my comfort food. Love a good Assam.

  324. When I was a girl, on rainy school days my mom would make me cinnamon toast and hot chocolate after school. I carried on that tradition with my own son (who still enjoys it at age 23, though now he makes his own!) I do make it for myself and my huz. I love coffee, but recently have found many good teas that I enjoy, so about half the time I am doing tea (with milk, actually!) Tea is much more popular in the US than it used to be, though coffee is still Numero Uno.

  325. I am a tea lover! I’ve switched to greens and whites and herbals, I was strictly black with milk and honey. This has been going on since 1974. Safe to say its a part of my life. Tea sooths the savage beast.

  326. I don’t drink coffee – it’s up there with chewing aspirin or tree bark. Tea is my morning fortification. 🙂 I tend to drink more tea when it’s cold, or in the evening to relax, but I don’t otherwise have a regular “tea time”.

  327. Absolutely. I have my morning tea, and put on the electric tea kettle in the library at about 3 in the afternoon–by 4 there are several of us walking around with our tea. I will say that I’m American and carry with a bag of assorted tea in my purse, it’s impossible to find a good cup of tea out and about in the US, but hot water is easy to come by.

  328. What a lovely ritual! I agree, coffee is for the mornings. If I could, I would get a port inserted so I could fore go actually drinking it and get it into my system more quickly. I drink herbal tea when I’m scratchy-throated or cold or feeling like I need a little extra TLC. Like now, it’s 11°(F), I’m snuffly, and I’ve got a lot on my mind. I drink iced tea in the summer with two slices of lemon, please.

  329. I’m with you! My soul craves a cup of tea, not a mug of tea, but a nice, generous cup of tea. When my husband and I went to England on our honeymoon (16 years ago), I fell in love with the tea houses and with Yorkshire tea. For years I ordered it from England, but now our Wegman’s carries it. Tea soothes me from the inside out.

  330. Usually coffee first thing in the morning but sometimes tea then tea all day long. Love to have a variety of flavors, herbal and otherwise, never milk, nor sugar in my hot tea, sometimes lemon depending on the flavor. I also drink iced tea and do enjoy an occasional sweetened iced tea, both with lemon. Love my cuppa!

  331. Tea Time….every morning my wife brings me a lovely cup of hot tea to gently start my day..then a hot shower and by the time I get into the kitchen the morning coffee is ready. I rarely have time in the afternoon for tea time, but in the evening, after dinner, while I am watching the television, she brings me my lovely cuppa..which, because it draws the cats around (they love the warmth of the cup and the fact I prop up against the bed pillows to drink it, so I am available for a quick snuggle) Peg and I refer to as “Cat Tea”…then a fresh hot cup by the bed to take the nightime meds (allergy pills and aspirin) and I am off to dreamland…a happy soul, all calm and restored without stress! Oh, and the caffeine never bothers me because the tea has sugar (frequently Peg’s also has milk in it)! It is one of the greatest joys of my day!!
    Tea time? Who could survive without it?????

  332. This will sound really funny, but I CAN’T make tea! Well, hot tea, that is… I’m from Florida so I guess that qualifies as the South (and I can make Sweet Tea with noooooooooo problem). I use Earl Grey for sweet tea and boy is it good. The problem is that I live in NC now and when it’s cold, I’d really prefer it hot. I had a friend from Thailand and she makes THE BEST hot tea. I love it…from her, from Starbucks, the Chinese restaurant, you name it. I just CANNOT make it myself…it always tastes yuck! *sigh* You wouldn’t know it to look in my cabinets though, they are overflowing with boxes of tea as I keep trying. You have inspired me to go try again…I see some Irish Breakfast that is begging for a go. =]

  333. I’ve learned to travel with tea bags. That way if I get tossed something insipid I can produce a flavorful Earl Grey.

  334. My beautiful mother usually had tea time for us when we got home from school. At some point, one of the nuns talked to my mother about letting her children drink tea because of the caffeine. She asked if the nun was also speaking to the parents who let their children guzzle Cokes. My sister and I had the prettiest children’s tea set when we were small. Real bone china with roses. We’d have proper wee teas.
    I was so missing my mother today. We had snow in Seattle and I’ve been sipping tea all day. I have to drink the decaf or herbal version later in they day or I won’t sleep. But how I love my cuppa.

  335. I love tea. We drink it lots around here (hot, even though we’re in the South!), and my eldest son asks for it every nigh before he goes to bed. I especially love making nutrient-rich herbal infusions for my pregnant clients- the teas taste so good and are so beneficial! And I happen to have my evening cup of chamomile, and my basket of fiber, right here next to me as I’m reading your post:)

  336. I grew up in South Africa; moved to Canada; lived in Chicago; moved back – and my teapot has been everywhere with me. Rooibos, medium strength with lemon and honey is my cup and tea certainly makes everything right and well.
    I made a British friend in Chicago. We had a mutual friend

  337. A couple years living in Australia converted me to a tea (and beer) drinker. I love my afternoon cuppa (and evening pints).

  338. Sound like something I need to learn how to do! Got a site or info on buying and preparing the perfect cup of tea?

  339. I love my tea time, but mine is a wee bit different. I have a pot of Harney & Sons Decaf Ceylon of an evening. (After a certain age, caffeine began to bother me, so decaf is a necessity. And I’m not fond of that sweet, fruity stuff.) Anyway, I love a cookie or five. Or few slices of fruitcake. Or a toasted crumpet with my granny’s marmalade. (My grandmother taught me to knit. So even though she’s been dead lo these many years, I make the marmalade so I can still spend a quiet evening with her.)
    I am not so much a tea SNOB as I am a person with high standards. I do not like tea bags. I like loose tea. It tastes totally different.
    It is my experience that if the cookies are good, your appreciation for them will not wane with familiarity. As my grandmother used to say, “They have a more-y taste. They make me want more.”

  340. Oh yes! I’m Anglo-Irish Canadian, my maternal grandfather came to Canada from England in 1929, tea is a must in our family! I remember being introduced to a proper English Tea Time at his house. Heck, my cousin and I have our own ritual, always a cup of tea from Timmie’s when we head out to work at the dance studio (driving from Toronto to Oshawa), and we leave the city at 3 pm each day! I have three different tea pots, one for black tea, one for Earl Grey and one for herbal, and the Gods help those who DARE to scrub out my teapots! My personal preference is a good, STRONG black tea, with cream (NEVER MILK!) and sugar. Another of my cousins moved to England with his wife a few years ago and they ship me tea often. I do enjoy my cuppa, especially with shortbread.

  341. I like my afternoon tea, even in the dead, wilting heat of a Texas summer. If you make it back to Austin and want a good tea, there’s a lovely tea shop up in the north-westish bit of town.

  342. Are you kidding ? I was just cleaning out my pantry today and found about 30 boxes of tea bags, various flavors and degrees of emptiness.
    I recently babysat for a friend one night and it was raining and I wanted a cup of tea. I could not find one tea bag in that house. haha I started to shake. I totally get what you’re saying.
    I have tea all day long every day. I loved hearing about your tea time. Lovely, really lovely.

  343. Nope. No tea. I only drink it when I’m sick, or after a HUGE meal when my stomach hurts. And it’s always herbal. No one in my family has ever had tea in the afternoon, though some do drink it in the morning. I think it’s a British Commonwealth thing, only in evidence in the US among strong Anglophiles. It sounds nice for you, though. Enjoy!

  344. Stephanie –
    I, too, was introduced to tea as a child and have enjoyed it all my life.
    Many of us were enjoying our tea (at all times of the day) at Knot Hysteria. I do believe I remember seeing you at the “tea station” on more than one occasion.
    You are welcome to come to my home for tea time. You can select the tea pot to use from my fairly large collection. I have a pretty good collection of teas, too. Let me know when you are available. 🙂
    Have you see the Tea Magazine — is interesting.
    Myrna in Boise (and sometimes in Minnesota)

  345. I learned of this wonderful and very civilized habit reading the books of Rosamund Pilcher. When I married a Brit and met my in-laws I was thrilled to know it still goes on these days and so it became a habit of mine. Sadly, it is not as popular here in the States as you found out.

  346. My father was a drinker (not of tea) and one day he asked me: “when something really good happens and you want to celebrate, what do people like you do….make a cup of tea” to which I nodded. I think he didn’t understand!

  347. i’m a barista at a college coffee shop. i have to spend my early mornings supplying coffee and espresso to withdrawn professors and students. i prattle on and on about the caffeine content in various coffees and make sugary frapps…. but the moment the morning rush has gone and the mess has been cleaned, i make myself my cup of english breakfast tea with cream and for the first time all morning relax. no coffee for me please. whenever a student is sick or worrying about a test, i give them tea on the house. i consider it a public service!

  348. I have tea almost every Saturday and Sunday morning while I read comics. Lasts about an hour. So nice and relaxing. I would like a 3:00 tea time, but I am away at work and don’t have the necessary paraphenalia. It is on my krismas wishlist.

  349. I have tea almost every afternoon. I am originally from Nova Scotia and having my tea with milk and a little sugar reminds me of my Grandmother’s kitchen there where she had an old fashioned wood burning cooking stove where she would put on the kettle……lovely memories….thank you for taking me back 🙂

  350. Yes, we do it. I’m a Newfoundlander though. We aren’t too far removed from Britain. I tried explaining this to my daughter. When both of my parents were born, Newfoundland was still a British colony.

  351. I started my tea time ritual in college. Mine was usually a cup of decaf tea late night to help me transition from “study time” to “me time.” I still find it very calming to have a cup late evening when I turn off the TV for the night and get out a book.

  352. Anybody else out there find that tea upsets their stomach? I’m all over the strongest Peet’s coffee with just a touch of milk, but most tea doesn’t agree with me.

  353. We are all tea drinkers in our household with one exception, and we are spoiled tea drinkers. No Lipton’s or Red Rose for us, we like Twining’s or
    Yorkshire Tea from Taylor’s of Harrogate. Our favorites are English Breakfast and Lady Grey, at breakfast. We really have no excuse for drinking bad tea as we have a gourmet British food shop in town. I like the idea of greeting the kids after school with tea and toast. I think I will try that. My kids are partial to sleepy time tea at bedtime.

  354. We have a nice cuppa every afternoon. “We” being my 16 year old homeschooled daughter, and myself. It’s not a big organized thing but yes, around a certain time each day we drift into the kitchen and the kettle is on and soon there is tea.
    It’s one of those “all is right with the world, and even if it isn’t, it’s making this moment a little more right anyway.” kind of things.

  355. I’m a tea drinker and am a citizen of the USA. My granny had 4:00 tea every day. She lived to just short of 90. She would walk her mile or so in the Berkeley hills around her house, then have tea. Her friends and neighbors knew they could call and drop by for the 30 minutes of tea time (maybe with a cookie). It was a wonderful break in the day prior to beginning dinner preparations. (she was an avid knitter too and very social).
    I think tea drinking is more a matter of other similarities in lifestyle, not necessarily due to being American or Canadian. We’ve had our dinner tonight and I am about to settle down to my cup of herbal mint tea and 2 Dove (sugar-free) chocolates and my knitting.
    Tea is a lovely ritual in all its’ forms. I won’t go into the story of my in-laws having a Japanese Tea House built in their back yard. House number 34 for their 34th anniversary.
    That said. When we drove up the AlCan a few summers ago and we stopped at a cafe for lunch. Their menu above the counter stated that they had a green salad, so, I ordered one. The man looked at me and said we don’t do salads. I pointed it out and he looked flustered and I’m thinking uh-oh…. He gets his wife who is doing the food preparation in back and she says happily that she’ll make the salad for me and gives her husband one of those ‘I love you looks, but…’ I think this confusion over salad was not a Canadian thing but a man thing, someone who doesn’t like salad. Only time I’ve encountered this.

  356. When I grew up in Central California, I got to have tea with milk and sugar (referred to as cambric tea at our house) on special occasions.
    Nowadays, I usually start my day with coffee or espresso (a triple shot latte is my preferred drink). After that, extra caffeine is not needed, so I change over to English breakfast (sometimes with orange ala Constant Comment) and move to “decaf” tea (meaning no theophylline) by the afternoon.
    In the summer, I switch to iced tea after the morning coffee(s).
    A break with a relaxing drink mid-afternoon is very nice, but not normal for me. Maybe it should be a new tradition.
    Viva Canada!

  357. Nope. There aren’t really any tea drinkers in my family so I guess you could say its just not part of our culture. I do like having a mid afternoon break to help re-focus though. So when the weather is nice I take a quick loop around this little garden park that’s right next to my office. Unfortunately I haven’t found a good winter time substitute…

  358. In spite of my nearly 100% British Isles background. On my mother’s side, they became coffee drinkers. Yuck! But on my Dad’s side, they drank only tea. I took after them.
    So I drink ice tea (unsweetened) all day long. But when I drink hot, it’s Earl Greyer Green from the Republic of Tea. It’s so soothing. Does it stop time for a bit?
    I’ve noticed that there is a perfect temperature, but I’m not sure what it is.

  359. I will drink my tea anytime of the day, whenever the NEED strikes. I wish the coffee shop had better tea.

  360. Americans have this long history of being coffee and hot chocolate drinkers because of the whole business of the Revolution and the tea taxes and all that. Which is a shame, because tea is great. I don’t have a regular tea time, but the Scotiaphile (don’t get me wrong, I love the English, but the Scots are dearer to me) in me feels like I ought to. And so have you, good Yarn Harlot. Maybe I’ll try it tomorrow.

  361. It isn’t (as yet) an every day custom, but I plan to
    make it one. I had a friend from India who used to have tea every day around 3:00. I didn’t know it, but she said it is a custom in India owing to the British influence. Of course, the tea she makes is Chai. I have her recipe and intend to make it a 3:00 tradition myself.

  362. I grew up in the U.S. midwest and on snowy, icy mornings I would have a cup of hot tea before I walked to school. Some mornings it was hot cocoa and once in a while it was coffee. Since I’ve grown up and live in the hot South, I love my coffee in the morning and sometimes afternoon, and love my tea iced. But when I’m not feeling well, or just need a little pick-me-up….it’s hot tea! Just regular black tea or maybe a nice Darjeeling. Very soothing, and comforting.

  363. At the costume shop I work at in Atlanta, we have “tea time” for our afternoon break every day at 4. A lot of us have hot tea, but the non tea-drinkers take whatever they like. Regardless, it’s a nice tradition (and I suspect that our co-workers envy us our tea time).

  364. I am an American and I am the ONLY person I know who drinks hot tea. Not only am I an American – I’m born and raised in the South. Here tea means sweet (sometimes so sweet it makes your teeth hurt) iced tea. I generally travel with my own supply of tea bags because ordering hot tea at a restaurant usually means a coffee stained cup filled with hot water accompanied by a dusty tea bag.
    My tea time is right after I get to work each day around 7:00 AM. I have a very large mug of green tea with jasmin. Very calming and a great way to start the day. Sometimes I enjoy it so much that I repeat the entire process at 2:00 in the afternoon.

  365. I was born in the states (“over the river” if you’re from Niagara Falls) to Canadian parents. We lived quite close to my grandparents who lived in St. Catherines. Afternoon tea was introduced to me by my lovely, feisty, French Canadian Nana, and my very Scottish Grandma. Like you, I could expect a mine to be mostly milk and deliciously sweet. From my Nana it came served in a Royal Doulton tea cup and from my Grandma it came in a plain mug. Both delicious. All great memories.
    Each afternoon I raise my mug to them after I’ve made a proper pot of orange pekoe.
    Toast is added if I’m really feeling low. ;0)

  366. I don’t so much have a tea time as I do a mug with a tea bag that gets refilled every couple of hours. But a tea time would be cool!

  367. Ah, tea. It makes the world go round, it gets you through the afternoon, it helps you bond with your friends, it makes everything better. Really, everything. I’m also British, and for Brits, tea in the afternoon is fundamental to civility–which is to say, it make it possible to build bridges and establish courteous relationships with people whom you might otherwise cross the street to avoid.
    BTW, Alice at 4.30? I think we may have had the same upbringing! Morecambe without Wise indeed….

  368. i dont think i or anyone i know has tea time, per se. even if we drink tea. most of us are at work at 3.
    when i was living in ireland, it seemed like every time was tea time.
    this might be another us/canadian cultural difference.

  369. I’m American, and I just keep a cup of black tea around all day. I make more when I run out, but I drink it slowly, just a sip whenever I get thirsty; and yes, it’s cold most of the time 🙂
    It’s not anchored to any specific time.

  370. Tea time: every morning, without fail. That’s TEA, as in looseleaf Kee mun or Darjeeling or Ooloong served in a porcelain cup, not a thick-walled mug. No milk, no sugar; none of that harsh overbrewed stuff. I drink a whole pot over the course of the morning, then after lunch it’s diet Snapple iced tea. That’s a lot of caffeine, so I don’t often make an afternoon pot of the real stuff, though I do sometimes brew a pot of decaf orange-spice tea after five.
    I’m a native Californian who knows better, however, than to order hot tea in a restaurant in the US. Unless it’s an Asian restaurant, of course.

  371. I love that the subject of tea generates (at this time) over 300 comments! I am from Viginia which is considered “the South” in the U.S. although we are really just the mid-Atlantic. I grew up drinking iced tea which we sweetened by using long-handled iced tea spoons. If it was a special occasion, we used lemon! I have fond memories of scooping out the lemony-sugar goop out of the bottom of the tea glass with the tea spoons. To a young girl it was the best part of drinking iced tea. The beginning of many family dinners was accompanied by the ting-ting-ting of ice tea spoons against the glasses as we all stirred our sugar into the tea. Nowadays I probably drink more hot tea than cold, but I have sweet memories of iced tea. For a nation of supposed non-tea drinkers, the U.S. certainly seems to stock a lot of tea in its stores. While it may be next to impossible to get a decent cup of tea at many eateries, you may have a chance of getting a good cuppa at a private home. After all, someone has got to buying all that tea. Thanks for sharing your love of tea with us.

  372. Neither DH nor I drink coffee; we have tea first thing in the morning, and again around 3:30.
    And both of our families have been American since Revolutionary War days.
    Agree that it’s hard to get good tea, though, so we always take our own when we’re eating out or traveling.

  373. My most memorable cuppa was one I offered to a couple who had just had a nasty car accident. My home was where they came to right after the incident and I wanted nothing more than to serve them a calming cup. Unfortunately, I kept my salt and sugar in much the same type of container and in my haste to bring them comfort and my amazingly complete absorption of their trauma, I graciously/sadly served them salt tea. ~sigh~ I really did have the best intentions….

  374. I love my tea… I live in New England and grew up drinking tea with my mom almost everyday.. I love that I can be having a really stressful day and all I need to do is have a cup of tea to make it better. My girls (twins) are 2.5 and the older one is slowly getting into the habit of drinking tea with me (which I usually make really milky for her) and splitting a blueberry muffin with me.

  375. Oh, forgot to say: I learned not to order tea in the British Isles either– because they brew it till it’s as black and harsh and then put milk and sugar in it. If I wanted milk and sugar I’d eat a bowl of cereal.

  376. I’m a coffee drinker, and have stone coffee mugs in my cupboards. Your post reminded me of when I was a child, and had bone china floral cups of fragrant tea at 3.30 in the afternoon, with maria biscuits.
    I had such an overwhelming wave of nostalgia, (also, living overseas away from my family doesn’t help), that I’ve just added ‘a nice teacup and saucer’ to my mental christmas list. Thank you for the post!

  377. To paraphrase Bram Stoker: “The tea is life.” My next teatime generally starts around the time my current cuppa runs empty. I am positively tea powered.
    Gretchen, your comment makes me think it must be something in my Scottish/English genes, your description, “they brew it till it’s as black and harsh and then put milk and sugar in it.” kinda had me drooling a bit towards the end.

  378. In the morning, because I have to have a hot drink in the morning (asthma) and I don’t drink coffee. Then again in the afternoon. Sweet and milky and strong enough to stir itself. And I’m from Arizona.

  379. I’m from South Carolina so plain ol’ tea is drunk ice cold and and pucker inducing sweet. But I love to drink flavored teas hot.
    I don’t drink coffee, mostly because I can’t have caffeine, partly because I hate the taste but sometimes I’d really like to have one of those caramel things from Starbucks!

  380. My Irish grandmother and my Swedish grandmother were always offering you a little something. One a cuppa tea with a ‘windmill almond’ cookie, the other a nice cup of coffee with rusk. I learned to drink both at a young age. One of my first memories is coffe with a little milk (I think it was mostly milk) and sugar. Tea was always something for the afternoons. I used to love having tea in my granddaughter’s Fiesta cups with a little ‘something’, she used to call it ‘dip it’. Now that she’s in school daily, I miss our ‘dip it’ sessions.

  381. Maybe it’s the cold damp western Oregon winters. My mom often made delicious “tea party tea” when we were little: Black tea with copious amounts of milk and sugar. All my friends are also tea drinkers. Black tea is still a daily afternoon pick-me-up to get through that last push of wrapping up work and getting orders out the door. And what is bedtime without a comforting cup of jasmine or Ban-Cha?

  382. Absolutely – Only, as my friends and i discussed whilst reading this, our tea time is at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, and probably 9pm and 11pm as well. We really love tea 🙂
    After only a week in the US i had headaches from not having Tea!! Although I found that San Franciscans made excellent tea and the Iced Tea in the states is really good 🙂
    But gee it was refreshing when i got to Canada where a cuppa is a cuppa!

  383. Oh and I must say i found it terribly amusing when a little spanish girl i’d gotten to know on a train in Europe stared at me aghast when i ordered my tea with milk. “Con Leche?!!” she asked incredulously! I find the differences around the world in terms of tea drinking so fascinating! I have mine very strong (an assam, or pekoe preferably) with creamy milk 🙂

  384. My Scottish/Irish Nana says I was born with a tea bag in my mouth.I drink a lot of the stuff, and right around 3-3:30 is my favorite time.
    Had the Swedish coffee habit from my dad and only lately switched over to tea after I kicked the coffee habit(people get pretty jacked up on the stuff have you noticed? and then they do crazy things like,oh,I don’t know,get behind the wheel of a car!) I love black and green teas, yerba mate gets me going in the morning, and when I’m in the mood for sweet and soothing it’s earl grey with milk and a splash of maple syrup…..mmm. I totally agree that the right combination of wood heat, yarn stash and tea could possibly mean staying in the house forever.

  385. I was drinking my 3pm stopped-work-picked-the-kids-up-from-school cuppa before rushing back out the door to music lessons, when I read your post. 🙂
    It’s all tea, all the time here. And it’s *proper* tea – tea bags are not, in my opinion, *proper* tea, they taste like cardboard.
    I like long-leaf black tea… We alternate between Russian Caravan and Prince of Wales here. I drink a litre in the morning while getting the kids ready for school, at least one or two cups during the day, and probably another pot after dinner. Milk and sugar, and it has to be *proper* milk too, none of this ghastly UHT stuff. If there’s only UHT on offer, I’ll drink it black, thankyouverymuch.
    When my old school buddies and I get together, the kettle goes pretty well constantly. Canular, anyone? 🙂

  386. Tea time at our house is a ritual that goes one of two ways: for a special tea I’ll stop at A Rise Above and pick-up a box of lemon bars, honey scones, a brownie and a few cookies for my daughter and myself. Then tea is black with milk, and dinner is moved back to become supper. Usually though, tea is just a little break – to warm up, or refresh, or soothe a scratchy throat, and will be black with milk or a ginger-lemon. I grew up with tea and am glad to pass the tradition on to my daughter. My husband rarely drinks the stuff.

  387. My eleven year old daughter was a challenge as a toddler. I don’t say that lightly. When I think back to those times, I get twitchy and show signs of PTSD. She is, of course, completely lovely now. At 2:30pm-every single day- I started to fade and think that I would never make it until 6:00pm when her Daddy would get home to rescue us. I was born and raised in California, so I’m not sure were I came up with the idea to start tea time, but it is absolutely what saved us. I love coffee, but you described it perfectly…Tea keeps us civilized around here!

  388. I have a cup of tea each night when I get to work…it gets me ready and settled for a hectic night of serving others. On my days off, I drink several cups a day of different kinds, just for fun!

  389. I don’t know for the rest of Belgium but for me tea time is a must. For good times and bad times, to cheer up, to take a break, first in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening…I take my favorite brand on holiday. Who could live without tea? …My brother in law, he hates it.

  390. I don’t know what I’d do without tea. I have a cup in the morning to ease myself into the day (Yorkshire, Stash double spiced chai, rooibos…depends), and then a cup later as I can fit it in, depending on the work schedule. Then, a cup before bed just to mellow out again.
    A couple of years ago, for about eighteen months, I pretty much lived on tea and toast in an attempt to make myself feel better when things were crashing down around me. Even if it was just for a minute, holding that warm cup and sipping its contents helped. Sometimes tea is magic.

  391. Tea here in Australia. Pots and pots and pots of liquid gold. My day doesn’t start or end without out. I even converted my husband to tea and away from coffee!!! Pretty good achievement I reckon…vbg. No 2 daughter is as hooked on tea as I am. Ahhh love it. Off to put the kettle on – yet again….lol.

  392. During the winter in England, I have a cuppa at about 4pm (just as it’s going dark). Nowadays, as *THE* season is just about upon us, I make a cup of spice tea and instead of milk, I use brandy cream. Fortifying in spades. :)k

  393. I’m having it now, although it’s 11:30am, and your little essay is reminding me that “getting back to work” would be a wise idea. Thanks for the advice on structuring one’s day. I needed it.
    While doing volunteer work in India – semi-physical work, housekeeping chores around a dorm – we worked steadily from 9am, and then around 10-10:30, a tray of tea would appear. Hot, steaming half-cups of milky sweet chai were passed around, and all work stopped while we drank. If anyone had snacks handy, they were passed around too. This happened again at 4pm every day, and I found it highly civilized.
    The best part was, nobody took a sip and continued working (in the American way, drinking on the go.) The tea break was a Tea. Break. Drinking tea is not multi-tasked in India.
    (I presume that, like you, they inherited this from England.)

  394. We have tea time twice a day at work, it is an institution and almost mandatory. If you don’t have tea, it’s a little bit antisocial. Pretty good deal I think, although I should mention I work in the UK where tea is pretty much sacred, so I think it is a cultural thing.

  395. In Australia it’s pretty much always tea time. My mum and Nan drink upwards of 8 to 10 cups a day, infact I swear all those anti oxidants are the key to their good health and my nans longevity ( she is 85). I only have maybe a cup a day but that’s only because with three young children the tea goes cold before I get to drink it! I love the whole ritual of it though.

  396. I’m English. I found out about 200 yards from the turnstiles at Disneyland Paris that my mother had had a(nother) heart attack and was on critical life support. I ended up drinking really hot black tea (because milk in tea is not the default in France & I didn’t have the will to ask for some) in the american style diner (the nearest open outlet) being served by teenagers on roller skates while we worked out how to rush to her bedside. It took at least 2 cups for the restorative powers to take effect in those circs! Very bizarre.

  397. Ah – tea! couldn’t live without it! proper tea- not flavoured, not herbal infusions. with milk NOT cream. Preferably Assam. And a slice of toast, with vegemite. Bliss.

  398. Well, of course I do – I’m British. Tea is the cup that cheers (particularly about 4 in the afternoon, with a scone), and what you turn to in times of stress. I drank buckets of it when my dad died.
    I think this may be some late colonial influence in Canada (like proper spelling!:))

  399. There is tea and there is proper tea. Tea is a quick cuppa using a t-bag and making in the cup. Proper tea – is warming the pot, using proper black tea, no bags, leaving it to steep under a cozy and then drinking (to personal taste)from a bone china cup and saucer.
    I have proper tea every afternoon – between 3 and 4. It makes it special and I agree it does set you up for the rest of the day.

  400. I think I’m an equal opportunity drinker, that is I like both coffee and tea. I drink coffee in the morning. My morning just wouldn’t be the same without it. If I need a pick me up in the afternoon it’s always some type of tea, usually herbal because my stomach just can’t handle caffeine in the afternoon. If I have a cold or I’m sick, it’s tea that makes me feel like I’ll survive the latest germ. In the wintertime, tea in the afternoon will thaw me out and warm me up. My son is a tea drinker too. I guess we get it from my British and Irish grandfathers!

  401. Oh, yes, at about 2pm. After years of thinking green tea drinkers were fringey and odd, I have switched to a cup of green tea, not ordinary tea and absolutely love it. Alas, I have got more sensitive to coffee, my favourite drink and tea, with respect to their caffeine hit. The ritual of it all is so important.

  402. I’m Bristish and also working from home and yes I use tea to structure my day. The kettle goes on at 11am and about 3:30pm but also when I have a particularly thorny problem to work on, I seem to be able to concentrate better with a cup of tea!

  403. Being a Brit, tea most definitely structures my day. I even take copious supplies of my Earl Grey with me on every holiday just in case I can’t get it where I’m headed. It’s just a way of life here – my grandfather was very proud of his 17 cups of tea a day, never more never less, and he lived til the grand old age of 90, so it didnt do him any harm!

  404. I sat drinking a huge mug of tea as I read your post, rain, shine or snow the kettle is put on the minute someone knocks at the door, it does not matter who is coming in, friend, stranger, workman (or woman), whatever time of day they are offered tea (coffee is available but rarely requested).
    I have a six sense for tea, you can bet your life that if my mum has put the kettle on at hers that I just happen to wander around at just the right time.
    Sometimes it is just a simple cuppa, other times little goodies appear alongside it, biscuits, cake, hot buttered crumpets or teacakes. Best of all a huge fry up, (bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast) with an enormous mug of tea to wash it down.
    It is always tea time, morning noon or night, happy or sad or downright suicidal a cuppa always hits the right spot.

  405. Hi, not English for a change, but Dutch.
    Tea, yes, lots but not necessarily at fixed times. More at home than at work (we have a machine at the office, the tea is only just bearable, it does have a ‘hot water’ setting, but it’s not quite hot enough and kettles are not allowed). At home we’re very cross-cultural about our tea. Plain black (sometimes with milk), rooibos and orange, moroccan (gunpowder green tea and heaps of fresh mint, higly sweetened), earl grey, fresh ginger with lemon and honey (not technically tea, I know, but sooo lovely when it’s cold).
    All of this strictly PM.
    AM, only coffee (lots, of course).

  406. I have tea (I don’t drink coffee) all the time, but can’t be up without my morning cuppa, and can’t last the afternoon without my afternoon tea.
    One of the things I love about the UK is that we have “breakfast tea” (A good thick brew, usually heavier on the Lapsang I think) and “afternoon tea” (often a more floral taste) as well as so many varieties.

  407. I’m American.I have my coffee in the morning and and my tea in afternoon. My tea time is at 3pm too! Nothing like a nice black tea in the afternoon and if I want to relax and nice chamomile tea in the evening. Two things you should never leave home without your knitting and some tea bags. Great blog post.

  408. I’m an Australian living in the U.S. and a cuppa in the afternoon (not to mention at least one in the morning) is an absolute necessity.
    One of my strongest memories of my Nanna is her saying, in times of crisis, “I’ll just put the kettle on.” A cup of tea was definitely the first step in solving any problem or dealing with any disaster.
    Thanks for a lovely post.

  409. Another tea drinker here. I used to drink it in the evenings with my husband after dinner with a cookie. Now, with a toddler and a baby (who wakes up abysmally early), I normally make 1 or 2 cups in the morning (alternatively, I make a cup of coffee) and have another in the afternoon as well.
    There’s just something about that afternoon slump that begs a hot cup of tea.

  410. I drink it, and 3 is the right time. My personal theory on why tea (I am talking real tea, not the herbal drink) is not consumed a lot south of the medicine line:
    A. they threw it in the harbour, and still have the national memory of it as a symbol of the oppression of an absentee government.
    B. they get the box car sweepings of the tea world shipped to their warehouses.
    I’ve bought tea down there to make my own on more than one occasion, and honestly, it was horrible quality. No wonder they don’t drink it.

  411. I’ll be thinking of you as I put on my three o’clock kettle, getting through that afternoon slump. Hubby and I also have a cup after dinner. For my Mom, tea was the soother given to us when we were sick, which I carried on with my daughters and now my grandkids. FYI, as a response to your Tweets, have you noticed how often you get sick when you return home from a trip? That time zone travel is a killer.

  412. Not regularly, but I do love it. I work in an office. An American office. It’s a coffee place, but I do love tea whenever I can get it.
    My gramma used to do tea time. She has alzheimers now, which we are trying not to be sad about, because she’s not sad. But that was one of the highlights of going to Gramma’s house back in they day; tea time.3 o’clock, a pot of tea with a few cookies or maybe a cup of ice cream if you’re lucky.

  413. In our lab we love our tea-time. 10.30 is coffee-time (though it is acceptable to drink tea!), then 3.30 is tea-time in the afternoon. Our boss is adamant that people come for tea, and he even has a mug with tea-times printed on it on a backdrop of centrosomes at the spindle poles (what we work on). Apparently labs outside Britain don’t tend to bother with tea-time, and I don’t understand how they function! Tea-time rules 🙂

  414. 3:30 pm and the kettle goes on…my tea is green now though as the black tea that I found in France is awful. Ahhh, for the days of strong tea that your spoon could stand up in! 😉
    So…what happened about the yarn bombing?

  415. Afternoon tea time is easily one of Britans major contributions to civility and decorum. Oh, that Americans were so quick to reject anything British after the Revolution, we lost one or two good things too.
    I love the idea of restorative afternoon break, but hate the taste. (Don’t be insulted, I hate coffee too.)

  416. When I was a little girl in Winnipeg, sweet, milky tea was an after dinner tradition, served in a special tiny tea cup that said “One today is worth two tomorrows.” It took me years to figure out what that meant : ) My parents drink coffee after dinner nowadays, but I’m living in the States and still keep up the tradition. To me, it signifies that it’s time to slow down.

  417. I developed the habit while living in Scotland, though I started drinking tea somewhat seriously in college (my father said I never grew up because I never started drinking coffee — I now enjoy it occasionally). You are spot on about the difficulty with getting a good cuppa here in the states. I routinely travel with tea bags in my purse and find myself asking for “boiling” water in order to get appropriately hot tea.
    I write this as I enjoy my first cup of the day with my oatmeal!

  418. I adore my tea and drink it hot and plain all day long – even in the summer. Sometimes I like it with a slice of lemon – especially if I feel a cold coming on.

  419. I used to have tea in the afternoon as a little girl when I was staying at one of my grandma’s houses. When I was living far, far away from home in California, I had tea and a little snack every afternoon before I had a job. Where I usually threw tea (or coffee) into my system to keep me going in the afternoon.
    Now I’m a social worker and I’m very mobile. Because I’m in my car all day, and usually end my day out “in the field”, I don’t have tea breaks in the afternoon. It’s a sad, sad thing. Especially when I consider that I usually eat lunch in my car…and sometimes while I’m driving. I wish I had the money and time to stop for someone else to make me tea in the afternoons, but alas I do not.

  420. Clearly, from all everyone has said, tea is a very important part of us. For me, I don’t mind if it is tea or coffee (I used to mind very much that it was always coffee, but this is before I migrated to Britain and everyone else drinks tea) – it is a little something to help me on my way, to make the work more palatable, to warm my hands trying to knit in a cold house which doesn’t know when to turn the heat on!
    Tea has it’s many uses – the best of which I think is the opportunity to chat while making a cuppa! You can meet some fascinating people, and make them quite happy in the process by giving them lovely warm tea. 🙂

  421. I must have one cup of coffee first thing in the morning. After that it’s tea any time, all the time. Any type will do, although I am currently a green tea exclusive person with a little side trip down the white tea-green tea fusion road. Funny thing, I can’t stand tea the first thing in the morning. It makes me feel sick. But after that first cup of coffee it’s strictly tea. I’m weird. Or conflicted.

  422. A couple of tea in the afternoon when I get home from teaching gets me ready for the rest of the evening. My friends know to offer me tea, not coffee. I like mine with lemon!

  423. Oh, tea time!
    When I was pregnant, I switched to decaf coffee. I gave up chocolate. Because I would not give up my tea!
    I am a complete tea snob, and I blame my mother. I buy leaf tea, and I love my teapot. I drink tea from morning til night. My husband learnt very early on I function best if he brings me tea in bed. I don’t usually have sugar, but the best remedy for a terrible no good absolutely bad day is hot, sweet tea.

  424. Yes, always have tea as I don’t drink coffee. My time is about 4:30 in the afternoon when I get home from work. My favorite is black tea with a little “splosh” of milk accompanied by lots of yarn!

  425. As Canadians living in the States, finding a decent tea kettle has been a challenge, as has finding a tea pot. Although our last tea kettle purchased a month ago is great. Normally we purchase an extra brown betty when we are at Canadian Tire on visits home. We also have to order our tea of choice, Earl Grey loose leaf. And yes tea and biscuits every day around 3:30

  426. I’m a coffee drinker, and I always disliked tea. I would drink it only when sick, or pregnant (herbal only of course), or to humor my father when I visited–he always made a pot of tea in the afternoon. Another coffee drinker, he was also a tea connoisseur, so his afternoon pot would range from familiar to exotic. One afternoon a couple of months after he died, I found I wanted a cup of tea. Same thing the next day, and the next… later I read somewhere that it’s not unusual after a loved one has died to take on one of his or her traits. Well, I have become an every day, cranky if I don’t get it, afternoon tea drinker. I love my coffee in the morning, work on several cups as the day goes on. But it’s my cup of afternoon tea (English or Irish Breakfast, very strong, with milk and a splash of maple syrup–I live in Vermont) that saves my life, every day. And yes, I also work at home!

  427. My friend and I used to have it when we were in grad school together – in the afternoon when we couldn’t read any more journal articles or be in the lab any longer. Sometimes I have it at work now, it’s a really nice break to a long day!

  428. In the last few years, it seems the only place I drink tea is with my sister-in-law, at the cottage in the summer. That’s about the only place where a cup of tea seems to feel just right. I’ll take a cup after an al fresco supper and when we’re ignoring the dishes and the light is just so and the hummingbirds are zipping back and forth from the feeder and the mosquitos haven’t yet made an appearance… yes, that’s just the right time and (mental) place for a good cup of tea.
    Then again, at a baby shower the other day I had a lovely cup of Earl Grey and was transported back to a time and place when I did drink more tea… and I thought, “hmmmm, I should pick up some tea…”

  429. I have tea time everyday, but I don’t drink regular orange pekoe all that much anymore because it is hard to find gauze teabags (I swear paper does not taste the same). I am from the east coast (now living in TO area) and from as far back as I can remember my family always drank tea. I drink looseleaf tea mostly now, I don’t have any friends that drink tea at all. SAD. Nice to know there are still other Tea drinkers out there!

  430. Wow, I am a native Floridian, who drinks a cup of tea in the morning, but I never realized why I don’t get as much done in the late afternoon as I’d like! What a revelation!
    It has been really nice reading about everyone’s afternoon tea traditions. 🙂

  431. I’m English so tea is a big thing for me…..tea til 10ish in the morning then coffee til 3pm then definately back to tea. Going to the States is torture….they do not boil the water so tea comes very weak and not at all exciting! My strangest moment was when I was presented with a “lightbulb” filled with warm water and the worlds smallest teabag, give the server her due though, she was trying!!! Long live teatime!!

  432. I love my teatime. I also have a cuppa when I have had a stressful day and I need something to get me through. When I try to explain this to people the reaction is mixed. Some understand completely and some ask me why I don’t just have a cocktail. But my family is British on both sides so I guess it’s in my genetic code to handle all adversity with a hot, strong tea and a sit-down.

  433. Tea at three! isn’t that the rule??! I thought everyone did that. I know I sure do. Every day around 3, the water goes on, the earl grey comes out, and voila the rest of the afternoon at work seems, well, not that bad.

  434. “IF YOU ARE COLD, TEA WILL WARM YOU.IF YOU ARE TOO HEATED, IT WILL COOL YOU. IR YOU ARE DEPRESSED, IT WILL CHEER YOU. IF YOU ARE EXCITED, IT WILL CALM YOU.” Gladstone
    I read this on a larg pack of Twinnings Earl Grey tea bags. Even though I am German, I just LOVE tea time. And I do think it helps to restore sanity etc.

  435. Yes, I have tea every day around 2:30 to 3 p.m. Depending on my mood it is either green tea or black tea with milk and sugar. I love it.

  436. I love an afternoon cuppa. When I was in grad school at UCLA, the Math Department had afternoon tea. Any department staff or grad students could attend, and it was a wonderful mixer. As you say, it put a nice break in the afternoon, and afterwards getting back to proving that theorem seemed a little less daunting.

  437. I lived in London during my formative years (7th grade). The “Tea Time” ritual has stayed with me ever since! It is inexplicable and magical. A cup of tea and I feel completely recharged.

  438. I am a coffee-in-the-morning, tea every other time please, person. I lived in Canada until I met and married an American 9 years ago, and I was very sad to find that it’s difficult to find a good black/pekoe blend here. I had my dear mom, for years, send me Tetley all the way from Alberta to the mid-Atlantic. Nowadays though, I get by with Tetley British Blend, which is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Milk please, never cream, as my American friends request. Bleah!
    Another thing about tea that Americans just don’t quite get is the electric kettle. They’re silly expensive here and each summer when I go home to visit I buy another one from the Goodwill or Salvation Army or Mennonite thrift store. It’s good to have an extra on hand to give to an enthralled friend, or for when the current one dies (as happened last month. I nearly cried).

  439. I’ve been a tea drinker all my life and consume copious amounts of it all day long! In restaurants, I have a difficult time getting any kind of tea other than Lipton’s. I dislike Lipton’s because it tastes like acid to me. I think Lipton must have a contract with every restaurant in the USA! Lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of green tea. It sure is nice to know there are other tea drinkers out there. While knitting, I usually have my cup within easy reach–it is so soothing.

  440. I’m an American three generations removed from England, but tea has always been a restorative in our family. Often we shared a cup in the afternoon although we never had a formal “tea time”. When I’m worried or tired I find myself pulling down a cup and searching for just the right tea.

  441. I studied in Russia for 2 semesters many years ago. The first semester, I became friends with a group of British students and I learned to love tea time. We solved many problems together this way. When I made Russian friends, we always had tea in large, chunky glasses. I was thrilled when I saw the same glasses for sale at Ikea a few years ago and now own a half dozen.
    My first job back in the States was in a library and one of the librarians was from Taiwan. We had tea in the afternoons every day. She taught me the term, “small happiness” to describe the feeling of calm such a break means.
    To this day, I have Barry’s Golden Tea in the morning and sometimes in the evening after supper. I try to go with something herbal so I slide into the evening more easily.
    Love coffee, but it upsets my system with continued use, so I save it as a special treat.

  442. So I grew up in the Southern US and tea here means iced and sweet. In fact you have to specify to get something else. My kids have milk or hot chocolate when they come home from school. For funerals they bring out the large coffee urns that will serve 300 from someone’s church basement. A pot of hot tea to me is a time of quiet. I sometimes take a break at work for one but it is usually a weekend afternoon when the kids are not screaming and the laundry is has started and I can have some time to knit lace without an interruption.

  443. Growing up with Scottish grandparents, I grew up with “milk tea” as my Grannie called it. Thanks for bringing back that memory. I still miss her and she’s been gone nearly 40 years. I turned to tea last Sunday when it was crudy weather for some comfort, I just realized.
    What bothers me about restaurants in the US (and most hotels) is they run the hot water through the coffee machine and call it “hot”. Nope — tastes like coffee, NOT tea and it’s lukewarm, not boiling hot! Ugh.

  444. Like so many others here — a Canadian of British stock. Tea was a must — every afternoon when I got home from school — every meal — every time someone visited (for any reason at all) — on went the kettle and out came the pot. It cures what ails you, provides fortification, makes you feel warm and comforted — welcome. I am a confirmed coffee addict in the morning but after that? Tea, glorious tea.

  445. I quite often have a cup of tea in the afternoon on weekends, though it’s not invariable- I’ll also take the time to make good coffee then if I’m feeling tired and slow. I do often drink tea in the morning because coffee is too harsh to dump on a mostly-empty stomach. I switch to coffee at work because the only hot water comes out of the coffee machine and it’s not hot enough to make good tea.
    One of the things that always delights me about visiting England is you can get really good tea pretty much everywhere. I hadn’t realized that Canada was the same, but I’ll be sure and remember it for my next visit!
    Certainly I don’t think tea is as universal in the US, and its forms are sometimes different. I’m kind of ecumenical- I like most all of them. Iced in the summer, sweet in the south, Marsala tea with Indian food, spicy and milky–chai, Chinese tea in tiny cups at my favorite Oriental restaurant, lovely herbal concoctions that my neighbor makes and just plain regular tea. All good.

  446. Strangely, coffee has a relaxing and not a gittery affect on me. I often drink a cup and then head off to sleep. I have tried to love tea, but haven’t come to it in the same way as I have come to love coffee. So, at 3pm, I drink a cuppa coffee to you! ;o)

  447. I sure do! And I’m self-employed and work from home too. It’s even more important than my Friday evening time-to-stop-work-now beer, if that’s possible.

  448. I’m a tea drinker, never coffee. My first cup is delivered to me while still in bed by a loving partner. But yes, I have that afternoon tea as well to transition between a busy work from home day and the late afternoon chores/dinner time yet to come. My best tea time is when I settle in with my knitting AND I put on my headset and phone my mom for a chat. It’s almost as if we are having tea together.

  449. I’ll never forget a high school boyfriend of my sister’s who was Canadian . . . . He liked an afternoon cup of tea with milk! It was so exotic!

  450. I keep a stash of tea in my desk at work so I can make some when the day starts getting a little wonky. It’s not a regular thing for me, but yes… tea makes everything all better. 🙂

  451. I love the outpouring (pun not really intended) of love for tea, and other hot beverages! At work, my team probably couldn’t function without tea. We started off making it in mugs. Then we got a tea pot. The we got a bigger teapot. Now sometimes we need to use both pots!
    I’ve just been enjoying some rice and tea – yes, in the same bowl! Ochazuke is Japanese rice with stuff on top, and green tea poured over – it’s really lovely! (http://www.justhungry.com/2004/01/ochazuke_rice_w.html)
    I must confess, I’m not so fond of coffee. The only time I’ve drunk it (semi) regularly was when I was in Venice – a tiny, super-strong bitter cup of coffee with a tiny, super-sweet pastry, taken standing up in a place with a floor the size of a postage stamp that probably hadn’t changed much since 1948. Darn! You wrote about tea and now I want coffee. I am a contrary soul…
    (I am also about to fly halfway around the world, and I am taking Yorkshire tea – there is no tea like tea is at home!)

  452. I’m Canadian living in the USA and don’t know anyone here who has afternoon teatime (or even drinks tea at all, aside from herbal teas). I have tea time, but didn’t grow up with it so it’s not something I learned as a child. Hubby drinks tea with me, but doesn’t enjoy tea time (usually) with me. What is it about 3pm that’s so universally tea time? For me, it’s when I stop doing *other stuff* and get ready for my oldest to come home from school and then it’s helping him with homework (grade 1 + adhd) and then it’s starting in on dinner. Or it’s time to get up and start on dinner in advance if it needs the time to cook.
    I love my afternoon tea more than you’d think a hot cup of liquid should deserve. It’s the afternoon tea that’s best, since we drink tea in the mornings during the week (coffee is for weekends) and I have ti-sane (herbal teas) throughout the day and evening as desired.

  453. I have it now, but haven’t always had it.
    I used to hang out with a friend of the family who loved green tea, and we always had a cup in the afternoon when I came there from school.
    As I grew up I always had an afternoon break, but in U.S. offices, coffee was more available (back then anyway, now tea is also available) Now that I work from home, I make a cup of tea almost every afternoon, especially Autumn through Spring.
    My husband can’t abide coffee, so my morning jolt is mine alone.

  454. Here in Maryland, we tea drinkers seem to be few and far between. It’s just assumed that you will be drinking coffee, and the facilities for tea-making and -drinking can be hard to find. In my office, they provide Lipton, and I keep a selection of teas in a drawer in my file cabinet, so at least at work I can have tea.

  455. I love to have a cup of hot tea after supper. It seems to help digestion and take care of the days troubles. I do not always get to have it though. I try to have a cup in the mornings at work but with the phone ringing off the hook, I usually end up drinking a cold cup of tea. Earl Grey is my favorite, I think.

  456. Having grown up in Texas, the last thing you wanted when it was 100+ degrees outside was a cup of hot anything. We did drink iced tea daily, usually unsweetened, though most often with lunch and dinner and not as an afternoon pick-me-up.
    Now that I’ve moved to Colorado, I often have a cup of tea in the afternoon, usually about the 3 o’clock mark.

  457. An Australian now living in the States, my cup of tea is crucial part of my day. Alas, the furthest I usually get is heating the water in the microwave (uses less energy, better for the environment) before I get distracted and there it sits for the next couple of hours to be found by my eternally amused husband. I manage to actually have a cup of tea about once every three days I think. 🙂

  458. I have tea (strong black Yorkshire Gold) every morning. I love having a cuppa in the afternoon, but it doesn’t always happen depending on what’s happening at work.
    Several years ago I had a position where I was off two out of three Friday afternoons. I would run my errands and get home about 2:30. I would change into comfie clothes and put on the kettle. Then my big ol’ chocolate lab would climb up on my ottoman while I sat in my chair and we would have tea. He got a 1/4 of every cookie I got. He came to expect tea time and would follow me around when I got home on those Fridays until I got the tea made and settled in.

  459. I think the US’s lack of tea time started when we dumped all that tea into the harbor a few years back. Most of us think of afternoon tea as being “very British.” I’m not terribly fond of tea myself but I think the concept of afternoon tea is quite lovely: taking time for a breather rather than rush, rush, rushing through the day.

  460. We have tea. We might not have tea-time, since growing up, my mom worked, and I went to a sitter…but first thing in the morning, weekend afternoons, at night after dinner. And it is totally that reset for us.
    We also have “second breakfast,” which I think is similar emotionally for my mom and I. She’s a morning person, I’m not. By the time I’m up and around and ready for breakfast, she’s ready for her second (since her first was probably a cup of tea and a packet of oatmeal) – so we toast some english muffins, poach some eggs…and have another cup of tea. It’s our (second) start to the day.

  461. I am a fan of both coffee and tea, and I agree that tea is where one turns for solace and strength. I start the day with coffee and move onto tea as the day progresses-have a whole cupboard full of types of tea. My children (4, all grown up) also are fans of tea. I recently visited my 19 and 24 year old sons who live together with a cousin, and they share a cup of chamomile tea before bed. It made my heart smile to see this.
    The problem with ordering tea out in the states is that rarely is the water hot enough, nor the tea itself very good. Having a brother with a coffee roasting business, I rarely order coffee out either because most restaurant coffee is almost as bad as the tea.

  462. mmmm…..tea! Growing up, there would always be tea after dinner. Now at work at around 3, someone will call out “I’m putting the kettle on! Who wants tea?!” mmmm…..

  463. I’m a coffee drinker, myself, but my husband spent many of his growing up years in England…so here in Georgia, about half my children and my husband drink hot tea on a regular basis. Every once in a while I join them in a cup.
    I love the romance and imagery that go with having a cuppa in the afternoon, even as I prefer coffee or hot chocolate for myself.

  464. I begin and end my day with a cuppa tea. Coffee is just wrong first thing in the morning. If forced to have coffee first my day goes all wonky. There is nothing like a cup of tea at 3:00 or 3:30 every day. It regulates the afternoon and makes it possible to continue through with the rest of my day. I have tried many kinds of tea but am always pulled back to good old Red Rose. Tea, black, milky or sweet, must be had, piping hot and fresh. It is the best medicine in the world for just about any ailment. Thanks to the world for TEA and thank you for your wonderful post!

  465. With 492 comments ahead of me someone has surely already said this. But yes, it’s cultural. It’s a Brittish Commenwelth thing. The US lost the habit of tea sometime shortly after a big party snuck down to the peer in Boston and threw bales of it into the ocean. Our ancestors stopped drinking tea as a political statement, and through that we lost the habit. And the knowledge on how to brew a good cup of tea was lost. Now in America tea is usually weak and often iced, as you mentioned. And people don’t drink it as much.
    Too bad really, because I love a good cuppa, and I think other people would too, if most of us weren’t culturally ingrained against it…

  466. My at-home tea time is any time. I’ll have a cup in the morning to wake me up and I’ll have a cup or three when I get home from work, usually around 1:30pm. I don’t think tea is all that difficult to find here in the US. Good tea? That’s another story. When I’m out and about I’ll have coffee or chocolate because, invariably, an order of hot tea consists of a small metal pitcher of hot water and a tea bag filled with foul brown powder. There are a few tearooms in my area of Virginia but they aren’t really conducive to just popping in for a quick cup. They’re more for a planned outing with the girls because, unfortunately, proper tea seems to be code for “charge an outrageous amount for hot water, leaves and some goodies”.

  467. My ritual is pee time. It comes at 3:00 in the morning instead of in the afternoon. Go figure.
    That said, you’ve inspired me to get back into tea again! One of my fondest memories was drinking tea with sugar and cream, at my grandmother’s, as a little girl.
    Coffee, be damned! (Well, maybe not first thing in the morning.) But as for 3:00 P.M., I’m ready!
    Thanks for yet another wonderful blog post.

  468. Tea time? Nope. I’m very American. Reading your post makes me want to establish one though! Break out the PG TIPS!

  469. I am a hard core tea drinker. My day ALWAYS starts with a big mug of tea. I have quite the collection in my cupboard, I even have my own shelf just for tea. I am not a fan of coffee, I find it too bitter for my taste, but tea is bliss. My favs. are Lady Grey, and Russian Carivan. Yum!

  470. Tea (Bewley’s Red) with milk in the morning and flavoured tea in the afternoon. I sometimes have a cup when I get home after work – around 7:30 p.m. – if it’s cold. I don’t know why, but I only like tea from a teapot so I have 5 at home and 1 at work.

  471. Coffee in the AM, a thermos of coffee at work, and then, when I can destress, tea in the afternoon. Something about steaming up your glasses when you go to take that first sip…

  472. Steph,
    Everyone’s chatting about tea time (which for me is morning & afternoon) so I’ll talk about some of what you said about working from home.
    About 15 years ago the company I worked for began to allow some of us to work from home — if only part-time so I was blessed with Tues & Thurs at home. And I developed some strange routines to distinguish the work day from my personal time.
    My hours were 6:00 am-3:00 pm and I rolled out of bed at 5:45, made a cuppa and went into the office. My cat would usually join me and curl up in my lap while I booted the PC and began the day. My great joy in working from home was that I could ‘go to work’ in my nightshirt 🙂
    When the afternoon shut-down time came around, I actually shut down my PC, went to shower and dress in real clothes. Then if I had personal work to do on the PC (for my MA program, for example) I went back into the office and began.
    My shower was the stopping point. Once that was done there was no more WORK for the day. But I knew people who tried working from home then and couldn’t make it work for them. One friend said every time he’d try to shut down the PC, he’d think of one more thing to do and he’d still be there at 9:00 pm having missed supper completely.

  473. I’m a geologist, and going to school I spent a lot of time hiking and working out of doors. Tea just doesn’t seem to cut it in strength… There’s nothing like a steaming mug of hot thick dark black coffee outside while looking at the mountains. For me, the stronger the coffee the tougher you feel, and it gets me prepared for that day’s hike.
    If I want to relax I make expresso and mix it with a lot of milk and ovaltine, so it’s chocolatey, has vitamins for health, and is creamy.

  474. We had about 6 or 7 people showing up for our weekly Good Yarns meet-up at the library where I work until I started serving tea and now we have 17-20 attending every week. I make 3 pots: plain black, green or flavored, and a herbal or caffeine-free. I also serve it in real tea cups that I’ve collected from secondhand shops. Sometimes people bring home-made goodies. I honestly think the group became more cohesive after we started having tea together.

  475. My father served in the U.S. Air Force–in fact, he retired from the service. So I grew up as an Air Force brat. During my childhood we lived in England for almost 4 years in a British neighborhood. And occasionally a neighbor would invite my mother, sister and me over for tea time. I loved it and have loved tea and tea time ever since. I have shared my love of hot tea with family, friends and visitors and my cabinet holds a variety of tea bags for their choosing. Tea time is a wonderful time of day and hot tea is good anytime–even in the south where I live.

  476. Most definitely I have tea! It does help to soothe away the hurt, frustration, stress, etc. of any day. I have gotten into steeping loose tea leaves and I find that adds to the ritual. Hooray for tea!

  477. When I can get both boys napping, one of the first things I work out is when to make the tea (as in, do I do dishes first?). But some days even if I can’t find a break, I fake one with a cup of tea and a sereptitious cookie (feels more like a treat if I don’t have to give one to my 3-year-old… Besides, his eating habits are already terrible).

  478. Eew, no. But I’m married to a man born in England, and he has your tea habit. I’m all about a sip of coffee at regular intervals all day long. Strong, black, no sweetener — hot or cold, no matter.

  479. I absolutely have tea time. Being an American, I’ve always been terribly envious of the ceremony other cultures make of tea. But I have my own ritual – the morning cup (or pot if it’s a weekend and I have the time…) the afternoon cup to get me thru. And most important, that cup when things are really bad, or I’m really sad, that reminds me that sometimes a little thing can make big difference. Everything looks better after a cup.

  480. I am the odd American who likes her tea. It may have been the influence of a Scottish co-worker long ago who had a cuppa every afternoon. I don’t do it on quite the same schedule, but it might be time to start.

  481. My mother started a tea-time tradition with me when I was a junior in high school. I’d get home from school hungry (because of the obscenely early lunch period I had) and she would make tea and scones, every day. I still sometimes have tea in the afternoon, but not nearly often enough. Thank you for the reminder!

  482. my dad was of (distant) scots ancestry, and though he often drank coffee, morning started with his TAY — strong black pekoe, heavy on the sugar, and in winter a bowl of oatmeal. (in warmer weather, he was partial to sweet rolls or doughnuts.)
    in late afternoon, he usually switched from coffee back to tea, and we children were allowed tea if we wished (somewhat weaker).
    among my favorite childhood gifts was a genuine china tea set, which i actually used often enough that many of the pieces didn’t survive. (who’d give a 6-year-old such a thing today? yet i never hurt myself with either the tea (poured from a big pot into my small one, from which i poured it into the tiny cups) or the china.) i’m 66 now, and still have the remains of that little set.
    in college and after, i switched to cokes and coffee, but on visits home i often had tay with daddy. he died in ’89, but even now, hot tea makes me think of him.
    it’s not 3 p.m., but the house is chilly today because i’m having new windows installed. time to put the kettle on!!

  483. I have a regularly scheduled tea time in the morning, when everyone else is having a coffee break. I only occasionally have tea in the afternoon any more. I think it’s because I moved back to the States (which is where I’m from).
    I lived in Northern Ireland for a while, and the first thing I learned was this simple, unwritten rule: “When in doubt, make a cuppa tea.”
    I drank tea because I was thirsty, because I was tired, because I was grumpy, because I was sad, or cold, or lonely, or bored. I drank tea when I was mad. I drank tea when socialising. I drank tea all day. (I developed a serious caffeine habit, but that’s another story.)
    These days, at home, I have herbal tea in the evening, after dinner, or before bed, but that’s totally different from black tea.
    I think I’ll go put on the kettle right now.

  484. I find that my tea time comes at the end of the day when the dinner dishes are cleaned up, the laundry is done and I finally sit down to knit, work a Sudoku or watch the TV. It’s around 7:30pm. I only wish I wasn’t the one who has to get up off the couch to make a cup.

  485. i have tea time every morning (which is later than most people’s mornings because i work second shift). i turn on my computer, go to the kitchen and wash a few dishes while the water heats and the tea steeps. then i drink my tea while i read email, blogs and web comics. i’ve noticed that if i don’t have that morning cup of tea, no amount of caffeine later in the day will properly wake me up.

  486. American tea habits I think it is has already been said that it depends on what region and what historical background they have.
    I do know that in France it is socially unexpected to have a latte in the afternoon, so they either have espresso or tea after 9 am. Which is contradictory to us Americans where we drink lattes all day.
    I also think that it depends on how you grew up. My parents weren’t home when i got home from school so I didn’t have the 3 o’clock break marked by a snack or tea to make the transition from school to work. For me growing up tea with honey is something you drink when you have a sore throat or can’t sleep at night to calm down. As I have gotten older my stomach can’t handle coffee anymore and have become and avid tea drinker. I’ll drink 2 cups of PGTips in the morning then some kind of green or herbal tea till 5 then a cuppa apple chamomile tea while winding down after dinner.

  487. Oh yes, definitely tea time. Like the folks in the north of Germany say, Kein Leben ohne Tee! (No life without tea.) My daughter made ME tea the other night, in her house, when she noticed I was about to succumb to hypothermia. Pretty wonderful being on the receiving end again. Here’s to tea!

  488. I love my afternoon cup of tea. It isn’t a regular tradition to me, just whenever I think of it, but I never regret it when I do. But, you’re right, it does sort of get you ready to finish the day.

  489. I have despaired of ever getting a decent cup of tea in a resaurant in the States. I love tea. Strong black teas. Hate Earl Grey. (I knew Cpt. Picard was a wuss because he drank Earl Grey tea.)It is a slap in the face to wake you up in the morning, a transfusion in a cup when you are exhausted, and a warm blanket that you drink when you are cold. And coffee is a poor substitute unless there is enough chocolate and booze in it.

  490. Tea it is. Especially if I’m out and about in the wild (shopping). At around mid-afternoon, even though I might have had tea with my lunch, I’ll usually turn to my co-shopper and say: I’d just about kill for a cup of tea right this minute. As soon as the word ‘tea’ pops into my brain, my throat gets parched (if it wasn’t before) and we start hunting down the nearest place that serves green, or in a pinch, black tea. Ahhhh

  491. PG Tips, all day, every day. You have to do a little searching to find it in Michigan, but it’s there….

  492. I guess I do have a specific ‘tea time’ in that I come into work, put my kettle on and make myself a cup before booting up my computer. I also tend to have a cup of tea as soon as I get home…and if the weather is crappy I drink more tea than usual.
    Now living in the U.S. I try to carry around a couple of teabags in my purse just in case I can get hot water but no teabags.

  493. I think it’s a custom of the British Commonwealth. Maybe it’s why we dumped all the tea in Boston Harbor so many years ago.
    I like to have a cup of tea, but it’s not a religion. What kind of tea are you drinking? I can’t do caffeine after about 10 in the morning, but I did discover some decaf Early Gray and I really like that. Herbal teas I adore.

  494. You know, I bet having tea as a little refresher would serve my hips much better than the 3pm snack I usually have.

  495. I absolutley have tea time! Even some of us Americans know how to do it properly, as well. I have a house guest (long term) currently, who revels in the fact that I make a nice, fresh pot of tea daily…sometimes twice a day even. As another work-at-home body, I just don’t think I could face my four o’clock student without having had my tea first…

  496. Boy do I ever have Tea Time! I drink tea first thing in the morning to start my day (as I don’t care for the jitters that I get from coffee). I can’t really DO anything until I’ve had my tea. etc.
    I also have another cup in the afternoon as recharge point – I always figured I was weird that I prefer tea over coffee – case in point: I was at the ‘big store’ rhymes with BallMart, and I was looking for a teapot. I asked a salesman and he took me straight to the kettles. I told him he was close, but that’s not quite what I was looking for. He took me to the glass water pitchers. Again, close but not quite it. After a detailed description he says with a very puzzled look “You mean like British people?” I just thanked him for his time and walked out of the store as I was close to saying something not very nice.

  497. I live in the southern area where you were touring and the server could not even find a tea bag. I never did get the hang of sweet tea or iced tea, but I do drink hot tea every once in a while.

  498. Yes! Tea time every day when I am home. It was a tradition as a child… my grandmother always poured tea between 3:30 and 4, accompanied by cookies or some banana bread or such.
    Unfortunately, when I am at work, I am usually unable to stop for a cup in the mid-afternoon, so my tea time is limited to weekends and days off now.

  499. I have tea at about the same time you do – black Yorkshire tea on weekends at home, black or green tea at work. I drink coffee in the morning and often have a cup in the evening, but afternoon tea must be part of my day.

  500. No. I wish. I’ve read books about offices in England where “the tea trolley” comes around. How nice is that? Our water fountain, while very nice it it’s own unassuming way, isn’t quite the same thing…
    My hubby now, he works from home, and always takes tea around three. He comes out of his office looking like a parched plant, poor little head drooping, his leaves all folded up. A cup of hot tea soon puts him right. >:-)

  501. When I was growing up (in New England), my Irish grandmother made us tea with lots of milk and sugar when we were sick. I still drink tea every day — though with much less milk and sugar! And, although I drink coffee each morning with breakfast, I always have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon tea break at work (sometimes several, if I’m tired or it’s a really grey day).

  502. I do wonder if it’s an American/Canadian difference. I live in the Midwest and rarely drink hot tea. “Tea” means iced tea, and there’s a debate over whether that is sweetened or unsweetened. (I prefer unsweetened.) I like the idea of tea in the afternoon; I’ve just never gotten into the habit.

  503. I don’t have tea time every day, but when I do I usually have a cup of relaxing tea in the afternoon. Looking at the times of the first comments it looks like I was enjoying a mug of hot Chai tea when this was posted. Today will probably be herbal rather than caffeinated.

  504. I grew up in Texas with parents from the Midwest, and we did not do tea time. It sounds like such a nice tradition. Our after-school snack was often ice cream cones — it was usually too hot to even think about hot drinks. I drink tea now, but I’ve never thought of stopping and having a particular time set aside for it — I usually sip as I work.

  505. I bought my own teabags with me when I visited America this summer, I only made the mistake of asking for tea while eating out once….
    Th concept that tea must be made using boiling water seemed to be lost on most places!

  506. I remember my first few times in Africa- you knew who had lived under what rule by how they made tea. The former British colonies had tea with milk and honey. Those occupied by the French had tea with only lemon, and maybe a little honey. Folks were still very loyal to those traditions. I’m American, I like my tea cool and refreshing. I get odd looks at my favorite Chinese resturant when I pour the Jasmine tea over a glass of ice- but it’s so good!

  507. One of my first memories of my grandfather is sitting down with him and having a cup of tea. Earl Grey, and we slurped the too-hot tea off spoons to taste if it was sugared enough.
    These days if I don’t start the morning with a cuppa, and oh, at least 4 more cups over the course of the day, I consider myself sorely deprived.

  508. Tea every day and all day.
    Two (2!) pint mugs first thing in the morning, then one of the same at lunch, supper, evening. Often in between times if a relax is needed/prescribed.
    Needless to say most exercise it taken walking the 1/4 mile to the nearest loo

  509. I grew up with the tea ritual (Washington state) but my husband (Michigan) did not. When we moved to Texas, all those rituals went out the window. We drink unsweetened iced tea most of the year and the few times it’s cold, we make hot tea. Not the same as the afternoon tea ritual. At least for the winter, I may want to reinstate the ritual.

  510. Not regularly, but…
    I left the US in January of 2006 to participate in a one-semester study abroad program at the University of Plymouth in Plymouth, Devon, UK. I discovered many wonderful things while I was there, but the love of hot tea with milk and sugar has been the one that has stuck. At present, I’m supposed to go easy on tea as much as possible. However, I agree that it is really the best answer for comfort. I also like that, while black tea has caffeine, it has far less than coffee (which makes me jittery).
    My personal opinion is that, yes, the cultural difference is an American/Canadian (and/or British) thing. Ever since my time in Plymouth, there are days or moments when I am in dire need of some tea and I will not be very happy until I get it. My family and most of my friends, however, think that I am crazy. They can think what they like — tea is a necessity!

  511. Well, in Newfoundland there is always time for a “mug up.” I love my afternon tea, and as we say in this province – “There’s nothing like a cup of tea in the wooods”. Not today though – it would be cold in the woods – we have snow. Enjoy your tea time Stephanie.

  512. I drink hot tea throughout the day, but it’s decaf. And I don’t drink coffee, or Coke or Pepsi. People wonder how I survive without caffiene (it causes migraine problems) on a regular basis, especially since I’m in graduate school. Of course, it’s very hard for me to drink tea out because few ascribe to the caffiene free lifestyle.
    Now I want a cuppa, and it’s only 9am. Do you think a whistling kettle would disrupt a cross-country conference call?

  513. My beloved Grandmother spent her first 13 years in Cornwall England. While she loved coffee, if something bad happened- you must make tea. There is something comforting about setting the kettle to boil and steeping the tea. By the time the tea is ready you can have had a little cry and then drink your tea and start to think, “Ok, this is bad, but what should we do next to make it better?” Sitting together and drinking tea makes everything a bit better. Tea in the US is mostly horrible. I don’t want microwaved water with a tea bag shoved in there. That is not tea. When I ask for milk for my tea they look at me like I have two heads. Then, sometimes(you might want to sit down for this bit),they offer me cream.

  514. I’m a native Texan but I spent 10 years in Toronto and 6 years in London (UK). I learned to love the the afternoon tea break. Now I’m back in Texas, working as a cubicle mole. I have a couple of team mates who feel the same way about afternoon tea. It is very difficult for us to keep up the practice with dry creamer being the standard office supply. Thanks for the reminder.

  515. As an often-baffled Yankee living in the South, the tea thing has never ceased to amaze me. If I say “tea” up north in Michigan where I am from they bring you *hot* tea, and we call the other stuff “iced” tea. I found out quickly when I moved to Nashville that “tea” down here is iced tea, I have to specify if I want sugar in it or not, and I have to say “hot tea” to get a cup of … tea. I am not trying to be mean but I just can’t get over people putting honey or sugar/sweetener in tea. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
    I will never get used to this, but I will have my daily cup of Typhoo and a little break every day, probably forever. I love tea. 🙂

  516. in my house everybody has their own tea pot. in the winter, the electrical kettle gets constant use and there is always at least one tea pot that needs to be washed. we have a whole shelf full of everybody’s tea. I should start drinking it in the afternoon, It would help with the low point.
    Ruth from CA

  517. I live in MN and don’t know anyone who has tea time….very few people I know drink tea at all. It’s all about coffee and pop here. I enjoy black tea with milk, and also love peppermint tea, but for some reason never think to make it (probably because it’s so not part of our culture). I think it’s time for me to start having tea time after I pick up my kindergardner from school! What a relaxing way to start what quickly becomes the most hectic part of my day…a cup of tea and a little knitting. By the by, I’m not a Knitter yet, just a “knitter”, but thanks to the daily motivation from you (just finished your book) and Mason-Dixon Knitting, I’m working on making the jump:)

  518. Every day – we call it our four o’clockses. Kids too: after school, on weekends, holidays, almost always. If we miss it, we really miss it. My husband doesn’t drink tea, but if we are out, and he’s not – he always reminds us to call on the way home, and he’ll put the kettle on.

  519. I picked up teatime in Russia (though in Russia, any time is tea time), and like you, I like the cookies – I buy nice ones, and have exactly two. 🙂 My co-workers would laugh at how every afternoon I would make tea and have my cookies right at my desk. But really, you need that little refreshment to make it through till the end of the day, which is when you actually have to do all those things you’ve been procrastinating on.
    It’s not very American. It’s too slow for us. Americans run out for a coffee or a coke if they need a break. Plus, honestly, in many parts of the U.S., it’s just too hot to want hot tea most days.
    I can appreciate iced tea and sweet tea, too, though. When you are in the South on a wilty-hot summer afternoon, the cold is very refreshing, and the bit of caffeine and sugar give you that extra little perkiness you need so you can feel okay even if your hair is frizzed out to heaven. It’s really a survival tool.

  520. ohh… I forgot to mention in my previous comment that in the part of Australia I am from (outback Queensland), afternoon tea is called “smoko”. My family owned a sheep property (ranch) (31,000 acres) where smoko was a crucial time in the afternoon. It was comprised of a cuppa tea, maybe a sandwhich or a handful of bikkies (slang for biscuits/cookies) and a smoke, if you were so inclined. My kids love their afternoon “cup of tea” (really milk or hot chocolate ).
    I have been told by my 4yo that snack time should not be called smoko, as that isn’t what they call it at preschool. Oh well. Looks “smoko” ends with me. 🙂

  521. I grew up in Ireland, and had tea on an almost daily basis, but since moving to the US in 1994, I rarely have it. But in reading this post, I got thirsty for some tea, so am enjoying a cup right now.
    Back in the late 90’s, apparently, the Irish were the biggest tea-drinkers in the world, even moreso that the Brits, but according to Wikipedia, that’s now changed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tea_consumption_per_capita
    Even more interesting is that the US drink more tea than the Canadians, at least on this list…… Hard to believe, considering the general consensus of all the responses to your posting!!

  522. I take that back, as upon re-reading, it seems the US and Canada are on a par to drinking tea…… The fact that the US was listed ahead of Canada had initially made me think otherwise!!

  523. Your post came right in the afternoon when I was craving a cup of tea!
    I can’t say that I have one every afternoon, but sometimes you just have to go with the craving!
    I was also inspired to have a piece of toast with homemade apple butter too!

  524. I have a cup of green tea at about 3:00 every workday. It used to be coffee, but I find that with the tea I sleep better at night. I reserve afternoon coffee for the occasional Friday, when I don’t have to be up early the next day. The beginning of the day is ALWAYS coffee.

  525. I don’t tea as much as I ought to despite having about 8 different flavors stacked up on the shelf behind my desk. It’s too bad too, because I know that picking hot chocolate as the days get colder and greyer is doing nothing for my waist line and not much more for my psyche.

  526. I usually look for my cup of tea around 4:00 when I’m home. I think I picked up the habit from my first boss. When I was a high school student I worked in a library about a mile from my school. After class I would walk to the library to begin my shift. Shortly after I would get there, sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 Mrs. Catterino would always say “a cup of tea would be nice right about now.” and I’d slip into the little back room and put on the electric kettle. These days afternoon tea has to wait until I get home from work but as soon as I get in my teenage daughter puts on the kettle and we have a cup before starting dinner.

  527. Coffee in the morning and Earl Grey or P.G. in the afternoon, about three thirty. Both with cream. If it is a special day, there will be shortbread or super thin slices of pound cake.
    Next time you are in Oregon, you may want to check out Creative Beginnings in Seaside. Combo Yarn and scrap booking store, with beads. And a coffee bar. Also, they have a very eccentric cat that, provided you are willing to allow it, will ride around on your neck. The cat slept on me for a half an hour. Good place for afternoon tea, knitting and then a walk on the beach.

  528. I do have tea time, but it’s pretty much an all day long affair for me. I do make a fresh cup in the afternoon, just when nap time/quiet time begins for my kids. Usually around 2pm. Mommy time… it’s a lovely thing made lovelier with a cup of tea.
    I agree the US isn’t big on tea. And the quality of tea available, if available, usually isn’t good… and is generally pretty old too. I pack tea bags in my purse just in case I really NEED that little cup of zen.

  529. Yep… You’ve put into words this thing I have been doing in making my afternoon cuppa tea, usually after I’ve gotten the little one down for nap. It does get me through the afternoon, sometimes even productively. And, when I don’t get that tea time, the rest of the day feels off.
    It stated when I was teaching, my team had a 2pm planning time and each day someone would make a pot and we would all partake, sometimes over a meeting, sometimes at our individual convenience. But, it happened each day, without fail.

  530. Your story about what happened down South is just why I carry an emergency ziplock of tea bags in my knitting bag. One must be prepared.

  531. I’m in Iowa, and we do tea time here. Well, my family does. My kid (age 24) relies on it, and he’s always sad when we travel and find nothing but stewed nastiness, or an absolute lack of tea of any sort. I gather we’d be well-served to travel to Canada from now on.

  532. I also work from home and have been doing so for about three years now, and yes, I have a tea time! Mine is at about 4pm and involves camomile tea – nice and calming for the end of the day. It started when I was working in England, and now that I’m back in Canada I’ve kept it up.
    Sometimes in the dark of January and February we (hubby also works from home) shake it up a bit and have ‘sunset hot chocolates’ at 4pm – a hot chocolate while we watch the sun go down at about 4 o’clock. This also started at my office in the UK and I liked it so much I kept it!

  533. Tea time is very important to me. I don’t drink coffee (no seriously). But I love my tea throughout the day. But I agree, about 3p is the perfect time for a pick me up!

  534. My neice started drinking tea as soon as she was old enough to take the cup from our hands. And none of your watered down, mostly milk version. She wanted the real thing, thank you very much.
    Special visits with “Auntie” usually included a trip to a restaurant for lunch. The waitresses were always very amused by the 3-year old who ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and a “pot of tea with real milk”.

  535. Yesterday after being outside in the cold I ordered hot tea at lunch and asked for milk. The waitress looked at me for a minute before asking if I wanted a glass of milk in addition to the tea. I tried explaining that the milk was to be poured into the tea, but eventually gave up and asked for a little pitcher of cream. She seemed to get that, but still looked at me funny. At least the tea itself was tasty!

  536. I love tea! Afternoon tea is the best, it truly does act as a re-set button for me. Even a good de-caf tea gives a level of comfort I just never find in a cup of coffee.
    I drink at least 3 cups of tea a day, but my favorite is the afternoon one.
    Love this post!

  537. Do you drink your tea in a mug or a tea cup? I usually use a mug, but it has to be one that I find comforting or that makes me smile. The mug is a big part of the tea experience. Coffee is so different, because I run around with coffee! I am in and out of my kids’ rooms and up and down the stairs — coffee has to be in something big and sturdy, to prevent sloshing!!

  538. In the US I don’t know if we drink tea less than Canada or England, or if we are just less structured about it. I live off of the stuff, although I don’t have specific times of the day or specific moments for which I drink it. I get teased at work for drinking it because it seems like an old-British-lady thing to do to my coworkers. But they can have their fun because, as Stephanie puts it, coffee is not always the answer, and it saves me from all of the sugary-bad-for-you drinks that are lurking around. It calms me down and gives this strange feeling of contentment that I only get from a cup of tea.

  539. Tea is my drink and has always been my drink. A great cup of Earl Grey in the morning (or 2) then the rest of the day is cold green tea or chai tea and milk. I live in Oregon and I’ve been to many restaurants that have no tea bags. I don’t like coffee so if they don’t serve tea I won’t go back.

  540. I am a huge fan of tea, I drink it almost every day. I like loose leaf tea. I like it with milk, sweet, black, or iced. Currently my favorite is Jade Oolong or Jasmine Apple Green. Yes, tea snob here. My mom used to make “pearl tea” for me as a kid, warm milk with a bit of sugar. It seemed so fancy!

  541. I’m an American tea drinker and yes, tea availability here depends on where you are. Coffee is as readily available here as tea is for you. I loved my time in Ireland, though, where there was tea time and when in doubt, one put the kettle on.

  542. My Punjab neighbors from India have afternoon tea and it was a wonderful thing to accidentally stumble upon. Being American, we have no such tradition of having a pot at a certain time, but I am seriously thinking of making it part of our family culture.

  543. Absolutely I do, but it’s mostly an “I want something warm to drink and I don’t need anymore caffeine” thing. Also it’s at 1:00 in the afternoon. I leave work at 4:30 so anything later bumps up against the end of the day.

  544. This sounds like a lovely tradition that I plan to implement this afternoon on a cold cloudy day in California. Hubby and I have started drinking Earl Grey loose leaf tea with soy milk (dairy allergies) now that we have a loose leaf tea store in our mall. Hubby always hated the tea bags (herbal tea) that our parents raised us with. Now he’s a tea snob. I’m still on the look out for a small perfect tea pot to spice up my boring desk at work while still having daily function. I keep wondering what happened to my old tea pot after I moved three years ago.

  545. We do the food part of the teatime because dinner is so late in our house. So substantial snack @ 3 or 4. With or without caffeine. But in Calif. we don’t have weather very often. So I don’t want a warm drink in the afternoon. I’m much more likely to have decaf black tea at 9 pm when I’m ready to curl up with my knitting and the TV show. Unless, of course, there’s really good cake/cookies/or chocolate in the house. Then I might need tea at 10am. Or 3pm. Or 9pm. or all of them 🙂

  546. I’ve just read a lot of your comments and it makes me proud to be British through and through, more specifically English, even more specifically a Yorkshirewoman! Especially reading josiekitten’s comment near the beginning saying she has the brand Yorkshire Tea. I work in a wool shop in York and we have at least 3 cups a day, house-brick coloured, proper workman’s tea. As a shop I don’t think we would function without it!

  547. Like Amelia at 4:42, above, I grew up watching my parents having “coffee” in the afternoon. My mother drank hot tea and so do I, but I don’t think any family members do. I still have tea, only I have it all day long. I grew up in Iowa (USA) and coffee was THE drink. Just plain coffee, not fancy starbucks kind, usually with some cookies, a piece of coffeecake, some pie, or other sweets. If we had missed lunch, there would be heftier fare at coffee time. I’m from German and Irish descent, although our neighbors were mostly German-might be a reason for lack of “tea time”.

  548. It is grey outside and three pm; I just returned from the work kitchen with my hot cup of tea and set out to sneak a peak at your blog.
    Ha! this post brought a smile to my face. And yes, i have found that your blog is better for the waistline than cookies so I have it with my tea 🙂
    I generally run into the two women from India, and the men from Ireland, Egypt, Turkey, China and an confused American wondering what could be going in the lunch room.
    I am a first generation American from a Canadian & British family (which is considered a very sneaky status what with a similiar language and appearance – I am told it is the little differences that make my family stand out like a bunch of odd ducks) and my Gran gave me milky tea and digestives after a hard day at play or school.
    I am not sure how my day would go with out that pick me up.

  549. Nope. I have chocolate time, and more like a hobbit–once at breakfast, another about an hour later, elevensies, lunchtime, early afternoon, late afternoon, dinnertime…

  550. I’ve just made a pot so that I can have tea with you. One lump or two?
    My sister sent me a lovely poster the other day: Keep Calm and Drink Tea, it says

  551. I’m American with French-Canadian parents and we did not have a tea time ritual. (I had an English friend who introduced me to it several years ago.) My mornings are all about the coffee, the evening is all about tea. I look forward to getting home from work and having my tea and toast. Lovely way to wind down after a hectic day. Dinner may or may not happen after. (I live alone so I can get away with that)

  552. I’m laughing as I read this, because I just sat down to have my afternoon cup of tea and take a break! It’s been a busy day here, getting ready for our Thanksgiving celebration, and I really needed my afternoon cuppa. Most of my friends are not tea drinkers, but they have gotten used to my requests for tea and even keep some in their cupboards for me. I just returned from a trip to Ireland, where I had a restorative cup of tea most every afternoon — with scones, no less!
    I don’t know what I would do without tea…
    Thanks for a great post which put a smile on my face.

  553. Love my coffee for the morning wake up..I will take tea for an afternoon break..steeped in a pot..Live in Germany for many yaers..so it was tea time..goodies …
    I ejoy it when I find some one will take time for a tea time..My daughter-in-law and I love it…

  554. Sounds like a wonderful thing to implement right now (I’m temporarily on the West Coast & my body thinks it’s 3:15 right now — no wonder I’m tired!)

  555. I LOVE tea and make a huge pot of it every morning, then after the first cup, transfer the contents of the pot to a thermos where the tea stays hot all day. And i sip it all day long.
    I’m fourth generation on this side of the Pond, but in my family, we always had coffee or tea in the afternoon. And, any time someone came over, we always put the kettle on.
    When i switched to all tea all the time (for years, I preferred coffee in the mornings and tea in the afternoon) my aunt, also a tea-only convert, told me that i’d have a hard time getting a good cuppa at a restaurant here [in the US]. Sadly, she was correct!
    I prefer black teas to other kinds, not a big fan of flavoured teas. Most smell lovely, but i don’t like the way they taste.
    I drink my tea black, so it’s wicked easy to top off if need be.

  556. Maybe it is a northern thing? I live in Alaska and afternoon tea is common. I wouldn’t do without it.

  557. Help…stuck in the US, I find they import PG Tips but it’s the stuff I grew up on that I miss…send a box of Red Rose stat!

  558. Being British I completely, totally and utterly agree with your post, tea is the perfect drink for any occasion… coffee just doesn’t cut it I’m afraid.
    We don’t have a specific time for tea at home, we just sit, waiting for someone to stand so we can say those immortal words, “While you’re up….”

  559. When me and my girlfriends have our weekly girls night in, the first thing we always do is put on the kettle and huddle around the tea cupboard and decide what to have.
    I think it’s odd that with only 10 types of tea available, we have the least choice when we get together at my house.

  560. I dont have a tea time, but i do. Growing up tea time was at 4 – 5 pm, but in our case we had milk. My mom had tea or coffee … is it a tea time if you have coffee? i dont think so, right? In any case, in my house we were more likely to drink herbal tea for tea time than black tea since, if you need caffeine, then you need to drink coffee. We would have coca tea, eucalyptus tea, mint tea or chamomile. (did i mention i am from Peru – that is why the coca tea). I cant have coca tea here (US) as it is not allowed :(.

  561. You just enumerated all the reasons that I would so love to be a tea drinker. Alas, I find the taste utterly abhorrent. I keep trying, however…herbal, chai, green, white, black. Ever hopeful. Hot chocolate is too sweet/heavy for a regular ritual or comfort (although I love it for a treat). So I settle for coffee. Or a mug of miso soup.

  562. I’m from the US but I grew up with an Irish Gran and now wokr with Irish nuns. I couldn’t get through the afternoon without tea and I cannot stand the Lipton of Red Rose you buy in the states. The last time I was at Whistler, I came home with my carryon filled entirely with tea. I’m partial to Barry’s but PG Tips is fine with me, too.

  563. I can’t help but notice what a wonderful writer you are! You made me feel all cozy and wanting a cup of tea and a pleasant routine to whaeve the day brings.

  564. Oh, certainly. And I also have to have one at “elevenses,” just to hold me over until lunch!

  565. I have had tea time every day possible since I was about 10 years old. I started having tea time the moment I was old enough to work the kettle. My Mom showed me but she herself wasn’t a regular tea drinker. For some reason it caught on with me.
    I have iced sun tea in the summer because I can’t tolerate the hot in the afternoon. But my favorite cuppa is during the chilly months which are aplenty here in Maine.

  566. I have come to adore my tea. I’m not a coffee fan so I start my day with black honey milk tea of some variety. To keep the bad dreams away at night I switch to Rooibos Tea in the afternoon and for the rest of the day. I love my Capresso! It makes a pot of boiling water really fast and is beautiful to watch. Tea for me.

  567. There’s something about tea… I take tea breaks frequently and also wrote about it. Please check my Nov 1 blog “tea and apples” on The Knitorialist – I think you’ll appreciate it.

  568. I am american and I have a tea time! Maybe I picked this up living in Australia or travelling in the UK. Could be that I would love to be a Canadian. . . . I work from home as a potter and the morning and afternoon tea time really helps me structure my day as well. A day without the tea breaks tends to unravel when you don’t mean for it to!

  569. Tea time — absolutely. Every day, usually at 3 or so, but any time before 4 is OK. I also remember coming home to tea and cookies every day after school when I was a child, and when I had children, we did the same.
    Also, a cup of tea at 9 pm.

  570. When my daughter came home at 3:45 pm every day after school, she was greeted by hot tea and cookies, and my ears, eager to hear every detail. Her best friend joined us most days, because there were no cookies at her house.
    When my son started school three years later, he was emphatically more interested in old clothes and football. No tea for him.
    To this day, however, my daughter calls almost every day when she gets out of school (Now she is the teacher.) to tell me all about her day. No tea, as she lives far away and calls during her drive home, but the feeling is the same.

  571. No, actually. Ever. My schedule, as it stands, does not allow for afternoon tea. Ever. Except maybe Saturdays. But even then, I don’t have tea in the afternoons, mostly because it would mean a break for something not a meal. In that case, it’s not that I can’t… schedule it in, but it’s more like I can’t justify taking a break for tea. I’ll make tea and keep working, but I don’t think that’s the point. =P

  572. We most assuredly have tea time. Neither of us grew up with it, but it is a fundemental part of our day now. It smooths out the wrinkles so to speak.

  573. Yes, thank you so much, I’d love a cup. Afternoon tea is a must for this American. PG Tips tea with a pair of McVities Digestives biscuits is the most refreshing pause in the afternoon. Tea is the cure for ailments ranging from aches and pains to life’s irritations. Such a shame that this is unknown in much of the US.

  574. I’m a tea drinker from the South (Florida to be exact). I can’t drink coffee but I adore tea, especially iced tea (strong and sweet and cold – it’s too hot to drink hot tea at midday). I know some one’s going “Iced tea is nasty!” but in the heat you’ve got to find some way to have tea without feeling like you’re boiling. My family would go through a gallon of iced tea at dinner every night when I was younger and lived at home.
    It’s true that it’s difficult to find a good cup of tea in the US. I think a lot of it has to do with the work-a-holism we’ve ingrained in our culture. We don’t stop for anything, much less something seen as mundane like tea. More’s the pity.
    I work at a call center and my afternoon break is usually around 4:30, which sends me down to the break room for hot chocolate- out of the vending machine. I tried to argue for an electric kettle when someone suggested we put a coffee pot on our floor, but no one saw the sense of it and suggested I just use the microwave to heat the water. It just doesn’t taste as good. I may sneak a mug and some tea to work tomorrow – it’d be better for me than the hot chocolate! And due to this post, I had to fix myself a nice pot of tea with my supper. 🙂

  575. I honor the tradition of tea time every afternoon with a cup of coffee. It’s my South Texas-Lousiana inheritance. The ritual, whether serving tea, or coffee, or chocolate, is for me a chance to relish the day and take time to prepare for the evening.

  576. My tea time is variable, but when I want black tea, Lady Grey is my favorite! Light enough to drink straight, but robust enough for a pick-me-up.
    If my fellow teenagers are visiting, however, Orange Zinger is called for. Essentially hot Kool-Aid. The pixie stick of tea. It will suit ANYBODY.

  577. Tea-drinker here. I don’t drink coffee, so it starts my day. I’m American but I do elevenses (11 a.m.) and a 4 p.m. afternoon tea. I generally have some kind of decaf tea at bedtime.
    It’s one of my pet peeves that few places here know how to serve tea. I’m not terribly picky, but would like water good and hot and a bit of milk.

  578. During my undergrad, my department had a 4:30 Friday afternoon teatime. It was lovely, we students got to hear all the good department gossip from the faculty, and everyone got to unwind a bit before the weekend.

  579. My sister returned to Sacramento last Thursday with 3 boxes of 216 Tetley tea bags. I drink both tea and coffee, but my daily afternoon tea is a reward.

  580. There’s such a thing as dedicated tea time? Huh, who knew. I thought was just any time I happened to look at my watch.
    Don’t know where it started since our family is about as mongrel american roots you can get, but having a cuppa a tea is never a matter of when but when not and for me what not. Migraines caused by caffeine discovered a year ago means no chocolate and no regular tea.
    But you have to love a beverage that has a natural solution for caffeine. It’s called herbal and there’s lots out there…

  581. I don’t. I love my coffee in the morning & I often want something in the afternoon, but whenever I have coffee it makes me all jittery & nauseaus. I’ve thought about trying tea, but I just don’t know how it works. What kind of tea? plain? with milk? honey? sugar? black? herbal? I guess I just feel like I don’t know about tea & would do it wrong…I’d love if you would tell us more cause I have a feeling this could be for me.

  582. It’s always tea time here. Better for life, better for health. Coffee in the mornings, tea all day long.

  583. Oh yes I do. I live in the tea plantation district of Nilgiris (Blue Mountains), in S. India. I have 2 cups as soon as I wake up, a cup at 11:30 and another around 4 in the evening.
    It is our custom to offer guests a cup of tea with biscuits. We do not brew our tea in a teapot here. The leaves are boiled with water, milk and sugar.
    I cannot live without tea, though I prefer Nilgiri grown BOP to the more widely prefered CTC.
    I know what time it is when I start craving my cup of tea.

  584. Nope, I don’t like tea. Plus I usually get a headache after I drink it. The only exception is Chai with LOTS of milk, but I’ve only had that a few times. If I want a warm drink I usually order hot chocolate. I don’t drink coffee either and after a Coca Cola addiction I don’t drink that either. 🙂 My husband drinks lots of “iced tea” when we eat out and he pours in the sugar. We live in Northern California and I don’t think any of our friends drink tea either.

  585. I’m having a cup of tea now (10am GMT). In the past I have found it almost impossible to get a proper cup of tea in the US. Even if places have tea bags they don’t have normal milk. Nothing worse than a long lay-over after a trans-atlantic flight in an airport that only has half and half (urgh!). Thank heaven for Starbucks!

  586. The best tea comes from home and my usual tea time is between 1600 and 1700….unless it’s happy hour!
    Harney & Sons introduced me to great loose tea and sachets for on the road. No milk or sugar necessary.

  587. I love the aesthetics of tea. I have a beautiful celery green teapot and a nice cup. I have good teas in my cabinet, nice imported black teas. I know that the water has to be really very hot. I get all that.
    And so I try, I really do. I heat up my tea pot first. I brew it nicely. I have a sip. I do. And then it sits there getting colder and colder.
    And finally I make that second pot of coffee and drink it strong and black and I’m much happier. I don’t love the aesthetics of coffee. There’s no charm really. Though I do have a nice strong diner coffee mug from Farmer’s Diner that makes me happy. But coffee’s what I want. Strong and black, hot or iced. But its just what I want.

  588. I am a child of British roots, living in a sea of Scandinavians (who are coffee swillers of the first water), here in Minneapolis. I have found, oddly enough, that most coffee shops brew an acceptable cup of tea, with some novel variations thrown in. But truly, the best pot is the pot shared at home.

  589. Yeah, I can see where Canadian tea time thing is an English tradition, and I absolutely agree that it is just the thing around 3:00 (though I have switched to decaf in order to be able to sleep at night), and for any and all occasions and emergencies. But how do you come to refer to the items you eat with said tea as ‘cookies’? Brits say ‘biscuits’. Looks like a hybrid culture! Now I’m wondering if you Canadians say ‘crisps’ or ‘chips’ for the fried potato snacks? I’ll have to consult my Canadian relatives on this vital language question. That’s all for me. Over and oot.

  590. Fellow Canadian here, and while the timing of my tea is a bit earlier (around 1:30 while the hooligans are having quiet time), it’s definitely reset time.
    Even when I’m at a friend’s house, or have friends over here, right around that time, someone will say, “tea?” and on the kettle goes!

  591. From the time I was a kid growing up in Sweden, I start my morning with cups of tea. These days it’s at least two cups of very strong (Irish breakfast, Nambarrie when I can find it, or Campbell’s in the yellow tin), very milky tea.
    Sometimes have to give up on tea when I travel because 2% milk, lots of it, can’t be had and without it, the tea just isn’t ‘right’.

  592. I don’t have tea every day, and I rarely order it in a restaurant. Tepid water with the bag on the side (and they rarely bother to dust off the teabag) do not make for a memorable cuppa. Non-tea drinkers tend to be embarrassed when you give instructions to the server (“bag in the cup before the water”) so I generally don’t bother.
    Preparing tea and toast was a test we had to pass in Brownies, and I think that was the last time I was able to coordinate more than one consumable.

  593. I don’t have a tea time; I drank tea when I was in Ireland, but at home I’m an all coffee, all the time kinda girl. But I do remember, while preparing for a trip to the desert with my husband, reading a desert survival guide that said if you got lost or stranded in the desert, the first things you should do are make a fire and a cup of tea. At first it seemed a little silly that tea would be a priority, until we considered that it would make you sit down and think about what needed to be done to get out of the situation. We packed tea bags into our backpacks, just in case.

  594. I agree that American tea is often lacking, but if you know where to look, good tea is out there. My favorites: the Perennial Tea room in Seattle and Tea Source in St. Paul, MN.
    Tea time is huge in my house—neither my husband nor I can live without it. And we’re both pretty anti-tea bags; we have an entire cupboard devoted to tins of various forms of loose leaf (including three kinds of Earl Grey and four of assam). Tea time at our house (I work from home, too) is first thing in the morning, 10ish, and 3-ish. I love the ritual, and the comfort of something hot in my hands. Off to fill the kettle again.

  595. I suspect the difference in tea consumption between Canada and the U.S.A. has something to do with the brouhaha over the tea tax in colonial America. We had an actual “Boston Tea Party” (attended by one of my yahoo ancestors) that dumped a bunch of tea in Boston Harbor to protest taxation. Coffee, on the other hand, could be obtained from South America. Tea is making a comeback in the U.S., though!

  596. I don’t manage tea time every day, but invariably it’s somewhere between 2:30 – 3:30 when it does happen and it’s a lovely, warming, comforting thing when it works into the day! Afternoon tea is usually chai or orange pekoe and once in a while Earl Grey though somehow that’s always been an evening tea for me, or an alternate start to a lazy weekend morning, the kind that promises jammies until at least noon, the kind that really ought to be drunk with a fat newspaper spread over the couch, coloured comics being first to be read. I tasted tea long before coffee and consider both essential!

  597. – If you offered anyone tea in the danish countryside where I grew up, they would look at you slightly offended and say “no thanks, I am not ill…” Ask Lene… Coffee it had to be!

  598. I’m Canadian of British extraction and I live in the US. I drink two cups of regular tea per day: one when I get up and the other when I get home from work. The rest of the time, I drink numerous cups of herbal tea. I bring enough tea from visits home so that I never have to buy it here (it’s all cat’s pee, sorry). King Cole is the best Canadian tea.

  599. Your blog was enough to make me go out today and buy some tea! I feel like printing it out and giving it to my local tea store! You are such a good writer, Stephanie!

  600. I’m American, but I’m the Anglophile daughter of an Anglophile mother. Mom has tea every afternoon, and my homeschooled teenage daughter and I have tea almost as often. Sometimes we have a class during tea, but whenever possible, tea time is read-aloud time, when we share books we love: Laurie King’s Mary Russell series, Tamora Pierce’s fantasy novels, mysteries by Aird, Marsh, Tey, Sayers, and assorted classics. It’s one of our favorite parts of the day.

  601. My afternoon drink of choice is organic peppermint at my antique rolltop desk in my office overlooking the (now frozen) lake. I figure if I have to work I might as well have a few perks to make it as pleasant a possible. And as for flying with your knitting, I’m currently in Italy, having traveled with my knitting the whole way.
    I must admit that I came very close to chastising one security guy for mangling the linen fibre even though it was contained in a drawstring bag but figured that if he wasn’t going to detain me for traveling with regular sized 2.75’s and 500 metres of linen thread then a little bit of ignorance could be excused.
    And just a note, the only yarn shop I found on the internet in Florence closed 2 years ago. Although the leather store that’s there now is very nice. One purse from their inventory is now in my apartment living room.

  602. Yes, I do think there is cultural background. I am Chinese-American and drink something along the line of 10 cups of green tea a day. There is no set time for having it, but it is my beverage of choice. I also drink a cup of coffee on occasion. My BFF is half-Chinese and half-British(!) so he too is a constant tea drinker and he has introduced me to the lovely world of black tea (which I formerly eschewed). In that sense, it is a self-selected group because we always go all out for tea time when we are together, Jacob’s cream crackers, cheese, other biscuits, the works.

  603. In 1948 my Grand mother took care of my sister and I. We would have tea at 3pm sharp everyday. Mine was mostly milk back then. I have oberved this custom ever since. Grandma told us that this is the way civilized people live. I have had” Tea at Three” ever since.
    Note to Stephani..I take tea with me everywhere..it saves me from drinking pondwater at the dark corners of the earth.

  604. we do – at different times of the day however – I’m 3 ish – my oldest is 7 ish (of course he’d prefer to sleep until 11 while I’m up at 6

  605. I love tea at any time!
    I always shared a pot of tea with my Mom after school during high school and have been enjoying tea ever since.
    Something very calming but restorative about tea.
    I love my coffee too but as you say it has a different purpose.
    tea and knitting are a natural together!

  606. Like some others, I drink tea every day but sadly haven’t managed a set time for it. I love the stuff. Some of my tea is ordered from Murchie’s.
    I do think the culture you’re raised in has something to do with it. Though I’m American, my father is an English-Canadian immigrant and I have fond memories of tea time with relatives. Drinking tea makes me feel all cozy and reminds me of my grandparents and great-grandmother.

  607. It is my understanding that we lost the habit of tea drinking in the US during The War of 1812, a.k.a. The Second Revolution. One of the main reasons for the war was that England was still making it difficult for the new USA to trade with other countries. Instead of having another tea party in Boston, we started drinking coffee …. and never really returned to tea.
    I like tea in the winter, but coffee is my drink of preference.

  608. My tea time is weekend mornings. That’s when I indulge in a whole pot. I’ve never drank coffee, my mornings start with one cup of tea as I get ready for work. But the weekend…that’s when I get out the tray, the pot with its cozy, make up some strong Scottish Breakfast tea and sit and knit, drink tea, listen to podcasts. If it’s summertime I do this at our camper looking out over a little lake. Now that camping season is over I enjoy my tea at the rocker in my craft room.

  609. My mother was a tea drinker and so I became one too. I have many fond memories of her, and her friends, having tea. Later in the afternoon, near 5, they would switch to Ladies High Tea, meaning tea followed by booze. I start the morning with coffee but by afternoon, tea is in order, usually around the middle of the afternoon. I prefer loose tea brewed in a warmed pot. My friends indulge in this tea break also and we are Americans from different states. Maybe it is left over from the British influence when the pilgrims came over to stay?

  610. Some of us here in the US, drink tea with honey, especially when the Nor-easters blow, the sun hasnt shined in the window for days, and we need that feeling of a warm blanket out of the dryer, God for bid if it was wool LOL

  611. P.S. We drank tea as kids often for medicinal purposes if we had a stomach ache or cold. My daughter and her friends in high school used to have gatherings with tea and now that they are in college, they all have tea as part of their day.

  612. I do my “tea time” in the evenings, when the teens are settled in their rooms, or in bed. It’s quiet and I have time to just “be”. I think I will have my tea now!

  613. I have a tea every afternoon. When I was a child and came home from school I would have a “cuppa” with my Nan. Now, I work in a horribly beige call centre and escape from it with an afternoon cup of tea everyday.

  614. English Breakfast in the AM, Earl Grey at 2 if I can wait that long. If I don’t I will fall asleep if I sit down to knit.

  615. someone once explained to me that culturally the Americans have shunned tea since the Boston tea party and the American War of Independence. It’s apparently it was just too British and they needed to differentiate themselves by choosing another caffeinated beverage as their standard

  616. My husband is Iraqi (northern Iraq) and over there they drink HOT black tea with lots of sugar from tiny glass cups after every meal (or with breakfast if breakfast is yogurt). Google “Turkish tea cup” if you wanna see what they look like. He also puts bits of cinnamon sticks and some little pod things in with the tea to flavor it. He says he doesn’t really like tea, but HAS TO have it after dinner and with breakfast (if having yogurt or cream cheese). So I learned from them to drink my tea with insane amounts of sugar added. No milk.
    Tea and yogurt is really good! Use greek style yogurt and eat it with flat bread, washed down with a sip of (really sweet black) tea. Mmmmm!

  617. I think tea-time may be a Canadian/American difference. I once worked in a hospital (in the US)with another nurse who was from Canada, and he was appalled that we didn’t have tea in the afternoon. He would brew it for us in a plastic, pink hospital water pitcher wrapped in a towel to keep it warm. It was called “Red Rose tea” and he totally made us participate until we learned to like it. Then he moved away and we never had the Red Rose tea again.

  618. I’m Canadian and drink tea daily, but my parents were Irish immigrants, so tea in our house could be, depending on the context, a drink, a meal, a family event, and a social gathering.

  619. I’m American, and I love my cup of tea. My husband is British and makes the best cup ever, (I suspect I like to so much because I don’t have to make it). I do find it difficult to find places that make a good cup of tea.

  620. In the US, we had this little event called “The Boston Tea Party” due to taxes imposed by England and, after that, “patriots” boycotted tea so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on it. Patriots met in coffee houses to hash out strategy…and I don’t think tea ever regained its prior popularity.
    Personally, I prefer tea…but got tired of coordinating getting hot water, a tea bag, a slice of lemon, etc. all at the same time. It is usually easier to get a cup of good coffee (but not always!)
    Some of our top-notch hotels have “tea times” in the afternoon, though. And, it will be interesting to see if the “Tea Party” brings a resurgance in tea drinking in this country.

  621. American…but yes, I like a cuppa. My husband only drinks tea–very sweet and milky. I like mine black with lemon. Not every afternoon, but you’re quite right…a cup of coffee, unless one is tired, isn’t the thing.
    And I make it properly, in a pot! (We do own tea cozies as well…and my husband doesn’t know it, but he’ll be getting at least one more for Christmas!)

  622. Well I’m Scottish so of course – tea and toast after the cold, windy walk home after school as a child. I like my break at the yarn store around 4pm and I have tea and a quick flip through a knitting magazine.

  623. I have tea every day: in the morning as I eat my breakfast, and in the afternoon as I work. When in the afternoon varies, depending on whether I’m working from home or at the library (I’m a student (and Canadian)). Afternoon tea usually involves cookies as well. Sometimes I have tea in the evenings too – more in the winter since our house is so cold!
    I live with Americans who either don’t drink tea or only occasionally, and they like to tease me about my giant stash of tea in the cupboard. I just like to be prepared for a tea emergency!
    I don’t know where I picked up this habit. My parents rarely drink tea or coffee – usually only when guests are over. I think I just come to it naturally.

  624. Quite often actually. Especially after returning home from a British influenced country. We loved going to our first hotel room in Australia and seeing a hotpot, teacups, and the milk/cream in a small refrigerator. I thought it was so cordial and civilized. And it really did make us stop and relax, restoring us to face the rest of the day.

  625. I adore my teatime. Even when I was working nights, I took my break at 3a, had a cup of tea and a few minutes to knit. It’s my way of coping.
    I’ve never been a coffee drinker, except in cases of necessity. And there are a few. But even then, if I need caffeine? There are black teas that put coffee to shame. But there are relaxing herbals, bright reds, gentle whites, energizing fruits — there’s a tea for every need.
    My personal favourite is anything based with chai. The tea of the moment is a pumpkin spiced chai with a dollop of cream and the tiniest bit of raw sugar sprinkled on top. It soothes.
    Give me a spiced citrus and I’m warm, regardless of the weather.
    Sorry: your beautiful post provoked wistfulness and loving thoughts of that one ritual constant since my childhood — though neither of my parents were tea drinkers, they let me from the time I expressed a taste for it.
    Thank you for writing this.

  626. Please, what is Knot Hysteria? Have I missed something?
    I don’t do tea everyday, but if I am sick I will always make a cup of milky sweet tea, to settle my stomach and remind me of how Mom always made tea for us kids when we were sick. It IS very comforting!

  627. We are Teaosophists at our house, though we can also rise to the occasional bout of Javacrucianism.
    Our morning ritual has come to include the exchange, “what kind of tea would you like today?” “tea flavored tea!”
    and whoever got up first and is making the tea goes ahead and chooses, generally between our current couple of favorites.
    Loose tea brewed up in a big pot by a favorite potter of ours, Lodema the Potter.

  628. We live in the UK and my husband and all our friends are seriously into preserved steam traction engines. The engines run on coal. The humans run on tea. I drink some herbal teas and Earl Grey but if you need to do hard physical work it has to be very strong black tea, cow’s milk, and plenty of sugar. I love black coffee but tea has energy qualities I cannot describe. Got to go and put the kettle on now….

  629. Loved this post! I am an American who lived in Wales during high school, and Australia during college, so tea is a daily necessity for me. The absolute best is loose black tea, brewed in a pot. My friends and family all tease me about my “tea cupboard” with lots of choices. I always travel with some Twinings English or Irish breakfast tea bags since it can sometimes be difficult to get a decent cup of tea. I can’t think of any better combination to solve any problem or stressful situation than a cup of tea and knitting!

  630. For some reason, tea in the morning makes me terribly nauseous. This is strange because my morning drink in black coffee, which one would think would be much harder on the stomach. I do like tea in the afternoon, but, alas, I don’t think I have ever had a proper cup of tea. My only experience is with tea bags and hot water. I don’t own a tea pot and have no idea how to make a proper pot of tea. But this topic has inspired me.

  631. I’m Aussie, and absolutely run on tea – even more than many of my compatriots (the fact that coffee doesn’t agree with me of course limits my options a little) 🙂 Have another sip!

  632. I have many tea times throughout the day – especially at work – whenever I’m in need of a pick-me-up. And most of it is herb tea, with some cups of black tea as well. It’s the best way I’ve found to stay hydrated in the winter when drinking water is difficult!

  633. My mother says a pot of tea saved my life when I was an infant. I had the croup, and I am exactly 366 days younger than my sister; my mother was young and very strung out. She considered putting a pillow over my baby head to shut me up. She called a neighbor, who made her a pot of tea and calmed her down.
    I still consider tea in the afternoon to be calming, and very civilized.
    I also had children when I was older and a bit calmer :-). Haven’t considered suffocating them yet.

  634. Tea is my restorer of many things, not the least of which is body temp. Like knitting, I don’t give up my tea in the warm months of the year, plain Earl Grey…need it like air.

  635. I am English, so of course I enjoy a cup of tea, preferably made in a pot and served in fine bone china.

  636. As someone who has done battle with the hateful animal I would not blame you at all for reaching for the scotch! We have three pairs of nesting squirrels in the attic the home we moved into two years ago. It took three weeks of trapping and midnight calls to the very nice man who helped us get rid of them. I used to think that squirrels were cute, not any more. Not any more. I would not think any less of you Stephanie if you did go for the scotch!

  637. Tea on Wednesdays at 4 is, I swear, the only thing that kept me sane (well, mostly sane) in my junior and senior years of college when I was taking a full load (16-18 credits) and working 35 hours a week at the same time. It felt so civilized to sit and drink tea and not try to read a book or write a paper or hem a dress (I was the theater seamstress) at the same time. Several of my friends joined me and we would use my real tea cups and sometimes I would make scones.

  638. Tea, drink it before getting out of bed, drink it all day.
    Not sure that we have a Tea Time as the kettle is often on during the day.
    English Breakfast, and Earl Grey are my favourites.
    And yes I’m a Brit.

  639. I’m American, but I’m also half Asian (Chinese), so I tend to drink green teas and I find the idea of milk in tea kind of horrifying :/ (But I’ll deal with a little honey depending on the type of tea)
    I also don’t have a tea time… I make a thermos of fresh loose-leaf tea in the morning, and I tend to drink it throughout the day (although I’m generally out by noon), at which point I’m at the whims of the tea bags, awful coffee, and sub-par hot chocolate packets here at the office. Usually I just switch to water 😛

  640. hi Stephanie,
    Yes I have tea everyday and all my friends who visit are tea drinkers as well :0)
    We love sharing a cup and