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!

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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.

Submitted by josette poisson on Sat, 29/05/2021 - 14:48

Hello teacher I have a grammar question about a sentence in the podcast:Rob said :"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". I wonder why the verb is in the past simple tense.. I would have used the present perfect here : I have always liked it (I liked it in the past and I still like it today). Is my reasoning wrong? yhanks in advance for your reply.

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.

Submitted by Mazoon AL.Ghssani on Tue, 06/10/2020 - 09:28

Hi, I would rather like tea than coffee. I like it with sugar and milk. Drinking much tea is very normal in my country. We call it Karak.
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Submitted by Czar Aaron on Tue, 06/10/2020 - 01:04

Hi everybody, Polish people drink tea or coffee for breakfast and/or for dessert in the evening. Also they drink more coffee than tea during the break in the work. Tea and coffee are served at the home parties. I prefer more coffee without milk and no sugar. I have never used sugar nor to coffee neither to tea since twenty years. I drink rarely tea but always with lemon. I think that drinking too much tea makes yellow teeth. Best wishes.

Submitted by Tauhid Ahmed on Mon, 14/09/2020 - 08:05

Coffee or tea? I love them but I would like to prefer tea most. The day starts with tea and I can't imagine without tea without a single day. After breakfast in the morning, lunch and in the evening I want a cup of tea.  And you know, one cup of tea is enough to invigorate both body and mind.

Submitted by maryamalomari on Thu, 10/09/2020 - 03:58

hello everyone In Saudi Arabia, we drink both "tea and coffee" but we have different rituals like drinking tea before and after big meals and drink Arabic coffee with Date Maamoul (with family) after Sunset it a very lovely time

Submitted by Melchorita2001 on Wed, 15/07/2020 - 14:31

Hi all. I hope you keep well in quarantine and take care of yourself. I am from Peru and at least in the capital city, te isn't drink as much as coffee. We drink more coffee because the restaurants offer different ways to drink it. There are, for example, those offered by the famous chain of coffee shops Starbucks. But, without coffee or tea, here we enjoy other hot drinks. I am talking about roots and crops like maca, quinoa. We generally enjoy them at breakfast.

Submitted by Sola on Sat, 20/06/2020 - 05:37

Hi Why did KARLALARA 7 use 2 conjunctions : because & in order to? Is it right grammatically?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 20/06/2020 - 07:04

In reply to by Sola


Hello Sola,

The sentence is correct.

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,

In order to here has the meaning if you want to or the only way to:

A musician told me that it is easier to play a guitar than to be a good singer, because if you want to have a good voice you have to be born like that,

A musician told me that it is easier to play a guitar than to be a good singer, because the only way to have a good voice is to be born like that,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by walid 1994 on Fri, 01/05/2020 - 19:14

hi everyone,I m Walid from Algeria,for me I prefer drinking coffe then tea , in my contry nearly 60% of people drink many cups of coffe during the day especially after meals , and in the south algeria in the desert people there are famous with preparing tea , its so tasty

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Sun, 26/04/2020 - 15:51

So why not write and tell us what you – or people in your country – like to drink? Here in Brazil we usually drink more coffee than tea.Tea is not very popular here,but we drink tea as well. In particular I prefer coffee!I love it.

Submitted by clauvera2016 on Sat, 11/04/2020 - 11:31

Hi everyone ! In my country coffee is drunk more than the tea. Lots of people drink one or more cups of coffee a day. Tea is drunk especially when people are sick, when they have a flu, a cold or when they are nervous or agitated. My favourite teas are chamomile tea, mint tea and linden tea. “Socata” is a traditional Romanian soft drink made especially in summer from the elderflowers (in Romanian “flori de soc”) and lemonade is another preferred drink by Romanians this season made by lemons with mint leaves and honey in it.

Submitted by Fares1980 on Fri, 27/03/2020 - 17:57

Hi everyone, I'm Fares from Algeria, for me I don't drink coffee or tea at all, but the majority of people in Algeria drink a lot of cups of coffee every day especially in the morning, drinking coffee is one of the very popular rituals in Algeria. In additional of the that in the south of Algeria most people of this region drink tea, really it's a very famous and popular drinking in this region, you can't visit the desert in Algeria without try to drink tea, it's very delicious and tasty, although I don't like a lot drinking tea but the tea in this region really it's amazing and unbelievable. All my unshakable respect

Submitted by msoriano on Wed, 15/01/2020 - 21:58

Hi everyone! I am Angel. I love drinking coffee and tea. Every morning and night I drink a cup of coffee and after lunch I drink a cup of green tea. I drink coffee and tea without sugar or milk because if you mix them with these ingredients lose its flavors. In Mexico, there are lot of traditional beverages better than coffee and tea like taxcalate, pozol, tejate among others, this beverages are made with cocoa and these are delicious

Submitted by Chouaib Mohammed on Sat, 02/11/2019 - 07:47

In Algeria and especially in the south of the country، prefer to drink tea than coffee.In fact, our tea in the south has a distinctive flavor.

Submitted by Chouaib Mohammed on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 22:14

here in our Bechar city and in all cities in the south of Algeria we like drink tea evry day and especially after eating meals. it's very special to prepare tea in these cities.we pour a water into kettle to boil it ,and after this ,we put a tea leafs into the teapot, then we put it on embers at boiling degree, then we pour the tea into the big glass cup,where we put sugar and mint in , then turn the tea over and over again in the teapot untill we see a white foam, that's the flavor for our tea, after this operation we can pour tea into the little glass cups for to present it to the guests in occasions.
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Submitted by Sergey Sh on Sat, 28/09/2019 - 23:49

In Russia except of tea and coffee people usually drink cocoa, chicory and traditional tea made of fireweed . Several cups of tea per a day and a coffee in the morning are the same as in Britain. As Tess said that 95 per cent of British people prefer drinking tea with milk, in Russia is opposite situation when milk is preferred by not so many. Ravi telling how he do his cup of tea according his ritual when it’s always added sugar, so a sweet cup of tea is made. Many Russians prefer tea or coffee without sugar but with some sweets while drinking. There are lots of different herbal kinds of tea potions here. One of them is Fireweed tea, a traditional one which was drunk here long ago. It’s considered to be very useful for health and used against many diseases even cancer.

Submitted by Andrew Utkin on Thu, 05/09/2019 - 17:15

How are you doing? I really like drinking tea especially with honey or peanut butter but I never drink tea with milk because I'm a vegan. Coffee is mom's favorite drink but I can't stand it at all. Good luck.

Submitted by Thelmo on Fri, 23/08/2019 - 05:47

I prefer coffee to tea because here in the Philippines coffee is everywhere especially in sidewalk vendors. It is easy to prepare when office breaks, just get a cup, a sachet of coffee, and hot water then stir and have a happy break time.

Submitted by parisaach on Sat, 04/05/2019 - 07:21

people in my country drink a lot of tea. My mother make tea all day long the only thing that she really enjoy to drink is tea with choclate. I usually eat three cups of tea everyday at work. I often drink my tea with a choclate, cake or biscuit.

Submitted by parisaach on Sat, 04/05/2019 - 06:41

I' d rather the way Tom , the teacher, taught grammer. If he were here he explained the structure of active and passive sentences but Adam and Rob don't explain about it . please make a podcast with Ravi and Tess and Tom

Submitted by kerimcalisir on Mon, 04/03/2019 - 15:56

Hi everyone, I live in Turkey. And Turkish people do love tea like British people. They drink it every hour of the day. For example my family, They wake up and then my father prepares tea then he goes to work. When he arrives to work, his first job is to prepare tea :). Then about he comes home at about 7.30 pm. And again his first job is to prepare tea. They drink about 10 cups of tea every day. I used to drink too but I do not drink any more. And there is another drink here called Turkish Coffee. This drink looks like mud and taste is terrible. I can't understand why people like it.

Submitted by Nancy Nguyen on Mon, 17/12/2018 - 13:21

Hello everyone, I don't drink coffee or tea. But when my family has friends or guests visit, we usually make some tea to invite them. We pour the boiled water into green tea leaves in a teapot. After 5 minutes, we pour the tea into a teacup and drink it without milk or sugar. The green tea is very good for health and beauty. In my country, people drink both tea and coffee. Every morning, they drink iced black coffee and iced tea. But I like the fruit juice more than tea.
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Submitted by Oksi1001 on Sat, 08/12/2018 - 18:11

Hi,everyone! I prefer drinking cofee.I can't imagine my day without coffe. Coffe when i'm coming at work-it's ritua for me.l It's black cofee,without milk.I can drink coffe only with sugar,usally it's 2 spoons. But when i drink coffe with some sweets, i try to put less sugar. Sometimes i drink tea too and it's green tea without sugar. Scientists and nutritionists believe that green tea more useful than black tea. Via green tea is cleaned our body and removed toxins. On the whole i'm sticking this opinion too. I use to drink a lot of very sweet of tea before ,but it's in the past..)) By the way my favorite tea is milk oolong,it's really tasty.I think it can replace tea with milk)

Submitted by jonancbr on Thu, 01/11/2018 - 15:53

Hi, Usually I drink coffee, It's the national drink and It has several ways to prepare it, You can drink like an express, with milk, Capuchin, the coffee could be served cold or hot, Normally You'll see more kinds of varieties of coffee's preparation. Sometimes, mainly when I'm sick, I drink aromatic´s water, They are similar to the Tea's recipe, but They use aromatic plants.
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Submitted by Kostya B on Wed, 24/10/2018 - 20:30

I prefer drink coffee with condensed milk, but there is also tasty tea which I like when I am tire of coffee, regarding the people of my country I think they are drink both of that drinks in equal quantities.

Submitted by User_User on Fri, 05/10/2018 - 15:58

Hello Series 3 episode 9 - How I use the podcast Today I want to write something how I use these podcasts. First of all I want to mention that Elementary podcast series 1 and 2 are more difficult than podcast series 3. I first listen 4 times to the podcast without transcript. Then I listen to it 4 times again and I also read the transcript. I mark all words which I don't know and look them up. I don't learn words which aren't very common e.g. 'cuppa' or 'brew'. I also mark the sentences which doesn't sound familiar. I repeat the podcast so often because I want to know by heart which prepositions are used and the different ways to express ideas. My aim is to be able to 'hear' if something is right or not. Bye

Submitted by Idar on Tue, 28/08/2018 - 21:03

I drink tea every day. When i am in Republic of Bashkortostan at village of my grandma, i drink tea with milk because it is our ritual. Actually i am not very like drinking tea with milk but i just can't fail my granny in this not easy custom. When i am in city, i drink tea without milk. From where i come from Republic of Bashkortostan tea is more popular than coffee because coffee was arisen a little bit later than tea. I drink coffee too but very rarely. We used to drink tea from piala but now from teacup. Also we add different useful herbs to tea like that mint and etc.

Submitted by Tomoaki Hachiya on Sat, 18/08/2018 - 20:43

I sometimes drink tea or coffee, but in Japan tea is usually Japanese green tea. Yes, we have Westerners' "red" tea, but I drink less frequently. And if I say "a drink", I usually refer to a variety of juice, milk, or coke, especially cold one, not hot drinks. Japan is located southern than U.K, so its climate is warmer and more humid, so people like cold drinks rather than hot drinks. I once travelled aborad and I ordered "iced coffee" but they didn't have any iced coffee, the place was Dubai, which is in a hot country and yet they didn't have iced coffee! I was shocked.
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Submitted by krig on Mon, 06/08/2018 - 05:45

Coffee is more popular than tea in my country. People drink tea in the main in winter to keep warm.
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Submitted by Nathalie on Mon, 30/07/2018 - 07:24

Hi We are going To London this holidays with m'y family And i have any questions about pubs Can we go To the pub with my teenagers ( 13 and 14 )? Thanks for answers
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Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 31/07/2018 - 07:02

In reply to by Nathalie


Hello Nathalie,

Yes, it's quite common for families to take children to pubs for a meal or just to sit down and have a drink, especially in the afternoon. Of course, they can't drink alcohol! Naturally In the evenings the atmosphere in pubs varies and some might not be suitable for children for that reason, but it's certainly not uncommon to see families together in pubs. Pub food especially is a long-standing tradition in the UK, and many pubs have 'beer gardens' where people can sit outside. Some even have facilities for children to play which their parents relax.

In certain rare cases the landlord may have a rule about not allowing children inside. If you are not sure then you can always ask the person behind the bar.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Hal55 on Fri, 15/06/2018 - 02:43

I don't drink tea so much. but I often drink a cup of coffee. I make it with special butter. Put some the butter into a cup of coffee and drink it. It doesn't taste good but it helps diet. I used to drink this coffee every morning. Once I drink it, I don't feel hungry for five or six hours. so I can stay without eating breakfast until lunch time. but Obviously, this might not be healthy.

Submitted by John Fan on Thu, 31/05/2018 - 17:25

Hello everyone, I like green tea more than black tea. If I drink hot tea, I don’t like add sugar. But if I drink cold tea, I will add sugar. Because I think cold tea is bitter than hot tea. I must drink tea in the afternoon, it give me good energy. In the night, before go to bed I don’t drink tea, or I can’t sleep. In Taiwan, bubble milk tea is very famous. Sometimes I feel a bit hungry, I will drink bubble milk tea.

Submitted by pickplayer on Sat, 05/05/2018 - 05:50

Hello everyone! In Taiwan, we have lots of tea shops on the street. They sell all kinds of tea drinks to customers, such as black tea, green tea, oolong tea, milk tea and fruit tea etc. I personally like to drink Taiwanese milktea -bubble tea the most. It is representative of the“QQ” food texture that I love. I usually drink two or three cups of bubble tea a week.
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Submitted by alberto bastos on Mon, 12/02/2018 - 19:30

Hello! I like coffee very much. In Brazil we don't have habit to drink tea. In the afternoon between 3:00 at 4:00 hour, in our region the people drink coffee with or not milk and a bread.That is, of course depend of the region, because Brazil is a country but is similar a continet therefore exist diversity of the habit so is difficult for us to know the behave the other regions. Do you think to knew Brazil? visit us because we are a generous people. Thanks.