Episode 09

Episode 09

Our listeners' musical talents are the topic for discussion this episode. Tess and Ravi tell you all about the drink British people are famous for loving.


Adam and Rob

Both: Hello!

Adam: I’m Adam.

Rob: And I’m Rob.

Adam: And welcome to Episode 9 of our podcast. We’re going to hear from Tess and Ravi in a little while. They’ll be talking about a very British drink – any idea what it is?

Rob: But first let’s have a look at some of your comments on the last podcast – where we discovered some great new bands: Milky Way, As Borbulhantes (that’s 'The Bubble Girls' in English), Hope, Dead Flowers and The Mixture. They’re all bands that our listeners have been part of – so remember those names!

Adam: That’s right, we asked you for your musical memories and we’ve got lots of talented musicians listening to the podcast. We’ve got guitarists like Mandana in Iran and Azeriboy in Azerbaijan. We've got a trumpeter, Joao Oliveira in Portugal. Esdras and Nat Viegas in Brazil are both drummers and so is Flautas in Mexico. Nana Adel in Egypt plays the accordion and Guisouzarego in Brazil plays the saxophone. I think we should put together an Elementary podcast band.

Rob: We need a singer though. How about Karlalara7 in Mexico? Karla says: A musician told me that it is easier to play a guitar than to be a good singer, because in order to have a good voice you have to be born like that, and when you use your voice it's like another string that has to be in tune. Now I have the objective to find a place where I can sing, because I always liked it, but I didn´t notice what a special talent it is.

Adam: How about it, Karla? Do you want to sing with the Elementary podcast band? There were lots of other great comments too – too many to read out here. Kieu Trang even mentioned a special song about his city, Hanoi, in Vietnam. Check out ‘the Hanoi Boogie’ on YouTube. Is there a special song about your city? Let us know at the usual address. www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish or look for Elementary podcasts on Facebook.

Rob: Now, we don’t have time to mention them all, but we do keep reading your messages. Navaho in China told us about people there who make their living by queuing and we think we found a place where people queue as politely as they do in Britain – that's Kenya. Thanks for that story, Kamore.

Adam: Now, last time we said that Tess and Ravi were going to talk about something British people like to drink and we asked what that drink might be. Kieu Trang had the answer. Listen and find out what it was.


Tess and Ravi

Ravi: Hi there, everyone. I’m Ravi.

Tess: And I’m Tess, and as usual we’re going to talk about something you think you know about Britain.

Ravi: We asked our listeners what they think is ‘typically British’ and they said things like fish and chips, London buses, the Royal Family and lots of people mentioned a particular drink. What do you think it is?

Tess: Tea. Lots of people said that they thought British people drink a lot of tea – and it’s true. A hundred and sixty five million cups of tea are drunk every day in Britain.

Ravi: A hundred and sixty-five million? Blimey.

Tess: I know. That’s more than sixty billion cups a year.

Ravi: Unbelievable. Why do we drink so much tea?

Tess: Well, actually, I don’t drink tea at all, but British people have been...

Ravi: Hang on. You don’t drink tea? What about coffee?

Tess: I sometimes have a fruit tea but, no, I don’t drink tea or coffee.

Ravi: Don’t you? I have a coffee in the morning and then about six cups of tea during the day. Is tea more popular than coffee?

Tess: Oh, yeah. We said a hundred and sixty-five million cups of tea every day. Well, the number of cups of coffee is seventy million, so we drink more than twice as much tea as coffee.

Ravi: Do we? How come the British drink so much tea? Is it because we used to have an empire or something like that? And how do you know all of this stuff, Tess? Are you just inventing these numbers?

Tess: It’s called ‘research’, Ravi. I looked it up on the internet. The British have been drinking lots of tea since the seventeenth century – it was mostly just rich people drinking tea at first but by the nineteenth century everybody was drinking it and that was when all the... rituals of drinking tea started.

Ravi: What do you mean by rituals?

Tess: Well, things like making tea in a pot and the way we make tea and serve it – and things like afternoon tea when we have a cup of tea and cakes and sandwiches.

Ravi: About once a year.

Tess: Well, yes, we don’t do it every day, but you know what I mean. You know that in other countries people don’t put milk in tea, but in Britain ninety-eight per cent of tea is taken with milk.

Ravi: Oh, you can’t have a cup of tea without milk, Tess. Not too much milk – you don’t want it too milky - and put the tea in first, then the milk, then the sugar.

Tess: See – that’s the kind of ritual I’m talking about. People have strong ideas about the best way to make a cup of tea. Do you make your tea in a teapot?

Ravi: Of course! You have to make tea in a teapot. It tastes horrible if you make it in a cup. If you want a good cup of tea, you have to make it yourself.

Tess: Do you think so?

Ravi: Definitely. In fact, all this talking about tea is making me thirsty. Do you want a cuppa? Oh, you don’t drink tea. I forgot.

Tess: I wonder if other languages have words like that. ‘Do you want a cuppa?’ or ‘do you want a brew’? You know, the way we say ‘a cuppa’ and everyone knows you mean ‘a cup of tea’.

Ravi: Didn’t it tell you that on your internet site? Right, I’m going to make a brew. You can’t beat a nice cup of tea.


Adam and Rob

Rob: I’m with Ravi – you can’t beat a nice cup of tea. But it has to be right, not too much milk.

Adam: That's funny, because I'm the same as Tess. I don't like tea.

Rob: What about you, listeners? Do you drink tea? How do you usually make it? With milk or without milk? Or is coffee the most popular drink in your country? I used to live in the south of Italy and the coffee there was fantastic – the best I’ve ever had. And actually, a friend of mine used to live in Argentina where they often drink another hot drink – mate. I’d love to hear more about that if anyone can tell me. So why not write and tell us what you – or people in your country – like to drink? Write your comments at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish

Rob: Now, I want you to listen again to something Tess said:

Tess: Tea. Lots of people said that they thought British people drink a lot of tea – and it’s true. A hundred and sixty-five million cups of tea are drunk every day in Britain.

Rob: I want to look at the verb forms – ‘British people drink a lot of tea’ but ‘165 million cups of tea are drunk every day’. Listen again.

Tess: Tea. Lots of people said that they thought British people drink a lot of tea – and it’s true. A hundred and sixty-five million cups of tea are drunk every day in Britain.

Adam: Why is it ‘British people drink tea’, but ‘Lots of cups of tea are drunk every day’? The second one is passive. Who drinks all those cups of tea? British people, I suppose, but the sentence is about cups of tea, not British people, so the verb is passive – ‘be’ with the past participle, 'are drunk'. Listen to another example.

Tess: You know that in other countries people don’t put milk in tea, but in Britain ninety-eight per cent of tea is taken with milk.

Rob: ‘People don’t put milk in tea’ – active, but ‘98% of tea is taken with milk' passive, is taken.

Adam: There are lots of activities on our website to tell you more about the passive and how we form it and use it. Give them a go.

Rob: And there are also exercises about short questions like this:

Tess: I sometimes have a fruit tea but no, I don’t drink tea or coffee.

Ravi: Don’t you?

Tess: So we drink more than twice as much tea as coffee.

Ravi: Do we?

Adam: Tess said ‘I don’t drink tea or coffee’ and Ravi asked ‘Don’t you?’ Then she said ‘We drink twice as much tea as coffee’ and Ravi asked ‘Do we?’ Can you work out the rules for short questions like this? The activities on our website will help you. You’ll find them at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish Look for Elementary Podcasts.

Rob: Well, that’s all we’ve got time for. We'll be back next time when we’ll hear more about Carolina and her job at the convenience store. So until then, bye!

Adam: Bye!


Language level

Average: 5 (3 votes)
Profile picture for user jpkeiros

Submitted by jpkeiros on Tue, 28/11/2023 - 16:28


Good afternoon there, I have a doubt about this sentence:
Tess: I sometimes have a fruit tea but, no, I don’t drink tea or coffee.
Shoun´d it be: I don´t drink tea NOR coffe?

Thanks in advance.

Hello jpkeiros,

The sentence is correct.

We use 'nor' as part of a construction using 'neither... nor...'. It is used with a positive verb (not negative as this would create a double negative). For example:

I don't drink tea or coffee.

I drink neither tea nor coffee.

It's not a common construction and sounds formal or even old-fashioned these days.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Aljumhy2020 on Wed, 08/12/2021 - 16:30


I prefer tea with milk to tea without milk.

I like tea with a breakfast.

Sometimes, l drink tea afternoon.

Hello josette poisson,

You could certainly use the present perfect here to show something from the past which is still true. The past simple suggests that Rob does not see this as an open time period. For example, perhaps he used to like singing, then stopped or lost interest, and now has regained his interest. Or perhaps singing was a part of his life in the past which ended (because of work or lack of time), but which now he can return to. We can only speculate but grammatically both forms are possible.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mohammedalbassami on Sun, 28/03/2021 - 13:34

Good afternoon everyone Actually tea is my routine drink about three cups and I prefer it with strong milk perhaps when I was boy my family was make too much very day. However tea make me wake up all of the day.

Submitted by May Thida Su on Thu, 18/02/2021 - 15:56

Oh!!! Yes, I love to drink tea very much. But I cannot make tea in a tea pot, so i usually drink ready made tea. In my country, tea is very popular but there are a lot of men in tea pubs but women are little. When you go to on tea pub you will see lots of men but there are one or two women. That means females are not like tea very much. I'm also a girl but I like to drink it very much. BYE!!!!

Submitted by jmajo on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 16:14

I usually like to drink tea rather than coffee, although I use to drink a cup of coffee with milk and honeybee for breakfast in the morning I prefer to drink tea during all day. When I drink tea I make it without milk or sugar but sometimes I put it some Lemon juice or Ginger on it. Despite most of the people in my country(Uruguay) use to drink "Mate" like in Argentina, I don't drink it any more, I used to drink a lot of it when I worked at the countryside, it's a very popular drink here tough and there are lots of types of "Yerbas" to use for make it. We could say it's the most popular drink all over the country and people use to drink it at any time of the day. Thanks for the episode. Great site!

Submitted by Alan Singer on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 07:21

I like milk more than tea or coffee. I think milk healthier than tea or coffee. But I don't drink very much. About once or twice a week.

Submitted by Sajja on Sun, 03/01/2021 - 07:15

I would rather coffee than tea. I usually drink 2 cups of coffee through the day one of them in the morning with my breakfast and the other in the evening. I love drinking it by different ways. Sometimes I have it with a little of milk and other times I take it with 125 ml of milk it's delicious !! I like arabic coffee, too . I used to drink it with my family on Fridays with dates . I like dates very much. You should to try it . It's very tasty. I don't like the taste of tea but I don't mind to drink it from time to time . The most common drink are drunk in my country -Egypt- is tea with milk. Although I don't like tea very much but this drink have incredible taste. I think they don't have a specific time to drink it but usually in the mornings and evenings. I don't know if they have a certain way to make it or no because I don't live in Egypt but I am sure that drink is dedicated by millions in Egypt.