tea drinking in the UK
Google marks the 358th anniversary of tea in the UK.Google doodle

Whether it is with milk or without, with sugar or not and even black, tea drinking is one of the most cherished British pastimes. And Google is celebrating this by marking the 358th anniversary of tea drinking in the UK.

The animated doodle marks the anniversary of the first advertisement of tea in a publication. The advert features the many ways tea can be drunk, whether in a fancy cup or a mug. One cuppa has only sugar, another has honey being poured into it, while another has both sugar and milk added at the same time.

"As today's animated Doodle illustrates tea cups come in all shapes, colours, and sizes. Whatever your favourite vessel may be, we hope you enjoy a cuppa or two of this enduring drink today," Google says.

Google notes that although it is not known when the first cuppa was enjoyed in the UK, the first advert for tea in England made its debut in a publication on 23 September 1658. The advert dubbed the much enjoyed beverage as a 'China Drink.'

A few years later Samuel Pepys, an English Naval Administrator and MP, wrote about drinking tea in his diary from 1660.

It said Chinese tea was reportedly consumed by Europeans as early as the 16th century, led by the Dutch and Portuguese traders. British coffee shops were selling tea in the 17th century. At the time, tea drinking was mostly confined to the upper class.

Things however changed when fast ships - aptly titled 'tea clippers' - were used to transport leaves from India and China to England's shores by the East India Company. The last surviving 'tea' clipper is currently on display in Greenwich, Southeast London.

With tea becoming more accessible, special tea drinking shops started opening throughout the UK, making the act of enjoying a cup of tea a favourite social past time during the day.