The Great Tea or Coffee Debate: We Survey the Nation

In offices across the nation, workers rely on the humble tradition of the tea break for a much-needed rest from their desk. But is the cup of tea still the number one hot drink of choice for people across the country? Or has the availability of a range of tasty and convenient coffee options shunted our national drink into second place?

We recently carried out a survey of 1,000 people across the country to find out about their hot beverage choices and crown the tea and coffee capitals of the UK.

Which hot drink does the UK prefer?

There’s no doubt that there are few things more classically British than a cup of tea. Whether it’s afternoon tea with scones or a builder’s tea with a full English, the cup of tea is a national institution. However, times are changing and the modern, stylish world of coffee presents a much more exciting option than the previous jar of granulated java.

In our survey, we asked respondents to pick their favourite hot drink between tea and coffee and the results were somewhat surprising. Not only was it a very close race, but coffee actually edged out tea with 49% of the vote compared to 48% – with a further 3% saying they’d choose neither.

The UK’s capitals of tea and coffee

When it comes to different cities around the country, there were some slightly surprising results that somewhat bucked conventional stereotypes. When it comes to the capital of tea, Edinburgh took the crown, with 68% of residents stating that a good brew is their favourite hot beverage. Perhaps more surprisingly, Sheffield came bottom of the table of tea lovers. Less than one third (30%) of those living in the northern city of Sheffield, near the home of Yorkshire Tea and Tetleys, rated tea as their favourite hot drink.

When it comes to coffee, the opposite was true, with Sheffield being the most popular city for coffee – 65% chose this as their favourite hot drink. Edinburgh came bottom of the coffee lovers table, with only 32% of people in the Scottish city picking coffee as their favourite.

The full league tables are below:

The generational split

The difference between tea and coffee drinkers was highlighted by the generational split. Those aged 65 or over were more likely to choose tea, with 55% stating that they preferred this to coffee.  Compared to this, only 32% of respondents in the 18-24 category chose tea as their drink of choice, with 66% saying coffee was their favourite.

This split provides a potential explanation for what future trends could look like in the UK. With the younger generation leaning more towards coffee than tea, could we see the Great British cuppa die out and be replaced by the Great British coffee?

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