Washington: UK's love affair with tea continues as the nation downs a staggering 166 million cups of the humble drink, still comfortably holding off a challenge of coffee, according to a new survey published today.

The Britons can't grow it and, according to the experts, destroy its fine flavours with milk and two sugars. But that has not stopped the British from drinking 11 million gallons of tea each day.

A new census of tea-drinking habits in Britain has revealed that the nation's love affair with the humble cuppa continues, media reported.

The census shows that a quarter of Britons get through five or more cups a day - with one in 20 downing ten or more.

About 14 million people admit they are addicted and could not function without it.

When it comes to making a brew, most Britons are creatures of habit. More than one third always use the same cup or mug while half of them have never changed the way they make it.

Seven per cent of Britons are so picky about the strength, temperature and the water-to-milk ratio they do not let anyone else make it for them.

However, 400 years of British tea drinking has seen some changes.

Only one in five Britons still use a teapot, and only 6 per cent use a cup and saucer. Strong tea is preferred over weak. Average consumption is 3.5 cups a day, a daily total of 166 million.

The tea census was conducted by WRVS, an older people's charity, to highlight the important role that sharing a cup of tea has in alleviating loneliness among the elderly.

Tea appears to have seen off the threat from coffee shops. Only 70 million cups of coffee are drunk each day, less than half the daily intake of tea.


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