Thursday, 22 December 2011

give us a slug of that Builder's Tea, yeah?

imagine the tea these builders might've brewed

A friend recently mentioned Builder's Tea to me, and I realised that I've never bothered writing about this before. It's not common parlance outside of Britain (not that I'm aware of), but it's such an evocative term. Here's what Wikipedia says about Builder's Tea.

It describes so brilliantly that milky, sugary sludge of black tea that your everyday typical British construction worker carries to the building site in his flask everyday. Sure, some drink it without milk and even more rare is a flask filled with Builder's Tea that has no sugar. The stuff is too strong. Too bitter.

You can drink it black, but it can't be good for you.

If you didn't have a look at Tea Trade Peter's account of drinking insanely strong black tea in Kosovo while he was serving in the army, do yourself a favour. Go read it. You can find it at:

Russian prison tea, Outpost Terminator and me

Go ahead and look now. I'll wait while you're gone. It's ok. I have time.

Doesn't that sound enticing and dangerous and delicious all at the same time?

I love these sorts of tea that people drink in such an unassuming manner. A little like the Grandpa Tea that I wrote about months ago. Throw leaves in a pot, add boiling water, wait a bit, drink it down, repeat with the same leaves ad infinitum.

You could be drinking all day from the same pinch of leaves if you do it right. Doesn't that sound great? It's the simplicity that gets me every time. Just me, some decent tea leaves and boiling hot water. What more could you want?


  1. builder's tea is typically brewed, nay -stewed!- in a teapot with a fair bit of history, all black inside, in a 'greasy spoon' cafe, and is served with milk already in. if you are working in manual trades it will suit you to add sugar.
    at home, it is made with a bag, i will usually only have soya milk, but most people will be game for that. the point, really, being to get the hot restorative tea down you.
    if you drink coffee in a greasy spoon they won't typically offer starbucks type coffees, but instant. i'd never have it at home, but for some reason i find it comforting in such a cafe. i think maybe they steam the milk.

  2. Am so pleased you commented @elaine4queen. It was your talk about this that got me on the topic.

    I'm sure that tea snobs would turn up their collective noses at this stuff...I think under the right circumstances, Builder's Tea would be perfect.