Brits choose a cuppa when trouble brews

• 81% of Brits turn to a cuppa as their ‘go to’ coping mechanism for difficult situations
• 75% feel being offered a cuppa gives instant comfort when feeling anxious
• 70% of Brits admit it’s the first question they ask guests when they arrive
• SSAFA is encouraging the nation to host a ‘Big Brew Up’ with friends and families, to help support the Armed Forces community

We are already known as a nation of tea drinkers, but new research by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has revealed that the humble cup of tea has a deep-rooted role in the way British people respond to difficult situations.

With Britain being one of the world’s largest consumers of tea, it’s unsurprising that it takes 87% of Brits less than five minutes to ask friends, family and even the builder, if they would like a cuppa, when welcoming them into their homes. So quick in fact, that 70% of the nation offer guests a cuppa before even asking them how they are.

However, the research reveals our reasons for ‘brewing up’ extend far beyond refreshment and relaxation. For 81% of Brits, making a cuppa is their ‘go to’ coping mechanism when dealing with a difficult situation or uncomfortable conversation.

We are equally likely to prescribe a cup of tea for someone else who’s having a hard time. 80% will make a cuppa as their immediate reaction and remedy when someone is feeling upset or anxious. 61% reveal they’ve offered someone a hot drink to make a person feel more relaxed, and 54% to help cheer them up. What’s more, almost three quarters of the nation (72%) admit they’ve made a cuppa to ease or start a conversation with someone.

Almost three quarters (73%) of Brits reveal a cuppa has the power to make ‘everything better’. Three quarters (75%) of us feel instantly comforted by a brew, when nervous or anxious, and over a half (57%) of us feel welcomed, when feeling lonely or isolated.

The research was commissioned by SSAFA to mark the launch of its annual fundraising campaign, the ‘Big Brew Up’. SSAFA’s Big Brew Up offers the perfect opportunity to get friends, family and neighbours together to have a natter over a cup of tea, and raise vital funds for our Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Julie McCarthy, Director of Volunteer Operations at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said:

“We commissioned this research to explore why tea is such a common companion to the highs and the lows of life for people here in the UK. Our research has shown that making a cup of tea has even more significance than we had expected – the simple act of having or offering someone a cuppa is the unspoken language often needed to help ease difficult situations, break the ice, or even start particularly tough conversations.

“Like a brew, SSAFA is there to connect, comfort, and support our Armed Forces and their families – many of whom are in desperate need of a ‘safe place’ to talk in their hour of need.

“The cases of individuals who we help at SSAFA are becoming increasingly more complicated and require longer periods of support. From those unsure where to turn after leaving the military, families who have lost a loved one to suicide, to helping elderly veterans cope with loneliness, SSAFA works tirelessly to ensure their call for help never goes unanswered. The money raised through campaigns such as our Big Brew Up will help provide the vital support to personnel, veterans and their families.”

Find out how you can support SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, by hosting your own ‘Big Brew Up’ this year:

Or give £5 to the ‘Big Brew Up’ campaign, by texting BREW to 70085

Notes to editors


SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, provides lifelong support to our Armed Forces, veterans and their families. We began our work in 1885, and in 2017 our staff and teams of volunteers helped more than 73,000 people – from Second World War veterans to those involved in more recent conflicts, and their families. For more information visit and follow us on Twitter: @SSAFA.

About the survey

1. Survey carried out in April 2019 by Censuswide
2. Censuswide surveyed 2000 members of the British public as part of this survey
3. The research is based on 1900 consumers of hot drinks

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