10 English Idioms about Tea

Tea has been a big part of British culture ever since the seventeenth century. You can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all around your day, with sugar, lemon or even milk. Afternoon tea is a light meal typically eaten between 3 pm and 5 pm when you can relax and forget about your problems with a cup of tea and a sandwich or a scone, also known as tea and crumpets. In that sense, let’s look at ten commonly used English idioms related to tea.

  1. Storm in a teacup
  2. Not for all the tea in China
  3. Not my cup of tea
  4. As good as a chocolate teapot
  5. Spill the tea
  6. Tea and sympathy
  7. Read the tea leaves
  8. Tea for two
  9. Teetotaler
  10. Tea leaf

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English idioms about tea
English idioms about tea

Storm in a teacup

People sometimes worry too much about something that is not very important. That kind of situation is called a storm in a teacup.

Tom and Becky are always arguing but it is never serious, just a storm in a teacup.

Americans would say that something is a tempest in a teapot when someone gets too excited or upset over a small matter.

Not for all the tea in China

You can use the expression to say that you will not do something at any price.

I wouldn’t trust that salesman for all the tea in China. He is trying to rob us.

I won’t go out in this weather for all the tea in China.

Not my cup of tea

If you say that something is not your cup of tea, you mean that you are not interested in that kind of thing.

Let’s change the subject, football is not my cup of tea. 

Sofia refused to go to the cinema with me because horror films are not her cup of tea.

As good as a chocolate teapot

Imagine pouring hot tea into a chocolate teapot. It will definitely melt and your tea will spill all around. So, when something is completely useless, you can say that it is as good as a chocolate teapot.

A car without petrol is as good as a chocolate teapot.

Have you heard of shoe umbrellas? It is as useful as a chocolate teapot.

English idioms about tea
English idioms about tea

Spill the tea

If you spill the tea, you share gossip or other people’s secrets.

Come on, spill the tea, what’s Rob’s new girlfriend like?

“Have you heard that Lorna wants to leave the company?” “No, I haven’t. Spill the tea.”

Tea and sympathy

The expression tea and sympathy refers to the kindness and support we give to someone who is having a hard time.

Ella invited her disappointed friend in for tea and sympathy.

Martin tried to offer them more than just tea and sympathy after their accident.

Read the tea leaves

Some people believe they can predict the future by interpreting the symbols that remain in the teacup after they drink their tea. The idiom refers to predicting the future from the signs.

We don’t need to read the tea leaves to understand that the company will bankrupt soon.

Who could read the tea leaves and foresee such a devastating earthquake?

Tea for two

The expression tea for two refers to a close gathering of two people sharing a gossip or confidential conversation.

Martha and her friend went for a tea for two in the nearby cafe.

English idioms about tea
English idioms about tea


A teetotaler is a person who never drinks alcohol.

Mark’s dad used to drink a lot, while he was a teetotaller – he’s never smoked or drunk any alcohol.

Tea leaf

Tea leaf is a slang expression referring to a thief.

Oh my God! A tea leaf has just stolen my phone! What should I do?

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English idioms about tea
English idioms about tea

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