The cup of tea is facing extinction because of the lockdown obsession with coffee.
Experts have predicted that a billion fewer cups of English breakfast tea will be drunk this year than in 2019. The findings come after millions bought fancy coffee-makers during the coronavirus lockdown.
Alan Jope, chief executive of Unilever, has warned: "The black tea drinkers are getting older, consuming less and starting to fall over."
Coffee sales were more than double those of tea during the first half of 2021 and experts say tea sellers failed to cash in during lockdown by diversifying in the same way as coffee retailers.
It is also argued that eco-friendly customers are now shunning tea sachets.
Edward Eisler, the founder of loose leaf brand Jing Tea, said: "Mass-marketed standardised black is not answering the needs of the consumer around taste, quality and origin and sustainability."