Three issues that may make Brits refuse to drink cup of tea whereas on vacation

A survey of 2,000 globetrotters revealed that 51% have packed their own teabags when travelling abroad. In a surprising twist, 37% have even taken their own kettle, mug or sugar bowl. The study also found that 76% believe a cuppa just doesn’t taste the same overseas.

The research was commissioned by MSC Cruises, who have sourced British tap water from across the country and an extensive tea ‘library’ full of UK favourites for its ship, MSC Virtuosa, setting sail from Southampton this summer, as part of a trial.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Brits are very particular about their tea, and they should be. When it doesn’t taste right abroad it can change the whole experience. It might be that the tea bags are wrong, or the water tastes off or it might be the UHT milk it’s very hard to replicate the components that make the perfect cuppa when you’re not at home.”

“Whether accustomed to very hard tap water from London, moderate water from Birmingham or soft water from Dundee, we know that even the water can affect the taste. We think tea lovers on board will be impressed with the variety of bottled British tap water to suit their preferences. It means our guests can have a cuppa that tastes just like one they’d make at home.”

The study further discovered that nearly six in 10 (58%) believe sipping British tea abroad can enhance the overall holiday experience, at least slightly. More than one in 10 Brits (11%) reckon it’s a real struggle to get a proper brew when they’re gallivanting around the globe.

Tea guru Diana Perez, a top-notch tea sommelier from The UK Tea Academy, has teamed up with the cruise line to dish out some nifty tea tips for Brits abroad. She said: “Brits tend to agree on the use of cold milk instead of hot milk to keep the flavour as fresh as possible, but in Europe you could be served hot, so best to specify.”

She also dished out this pearl: “Adding the milk first is known to allow for a better and more balanced combination of all the elements in the cup.” For those soaking up the sun, she recommends: “Green tea can be considered ‘cooling’ and great for warmer weather, the perfect choice for a hot day in the Med.”

And if you’ve gone overboard at the buffet, Diana advises: “If a lot has been eaten at the buffet, a peppermint tea will help improve digestion and soothe the stomach.”

Three quarters of holidaymakers admit they get stressed when going away - in case the quality of tea isn't up to standard.
Three quarters of holidaymakers admit they get stressed when going away – in case the quality of tea isn’t up to standard.

The study went on to spill the tea on what really grinds Brits’ gears about a bad cuppa: too much milk tops the list for 56%, followed by not brewing long enough for 48%, and getting the water temperature wrong irks 44%. Turns out, 43% have had their tea time tarnished by the wrong kind of milk, and 31% can suss out straight away if someone’s used a dodgy brand of teabag.

The stats show that if someone serves up a terrible cup of tea, 45% of Brits would just grin and bear it, keeping mum about the mishap. Meanwhile, a quarter would still muster up a thank you for the effort but only a measly 8% would outright refuse to drink the subpar brew.

Chipping in, the cruise ship’s spokesperson said: “Tea loving travellers just want a cuppa that’s up to standard. We want our guests to feel like they are in a home away from home when sailing with us. If this trial is successful, we will roll it out during 2025.”


  1. Too much milk.
  2. Too short brew time.
  3. The wrong temperature water.
  4. The wrong type of milk.
  5. Too long brew time.
  6. Different-tasting tap water.
  7. Too much sugar.
  8. Too little milk.
  9. The wrong tea brand.
  10. Too little sugar.