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And two sugars, please

If you're an investor and are interested in acquiring stocks in Britain, what shouldn't you put money into these days? Among others, this probably is not the time to pick up shares in companies that manufacture teapots . Hold on: When did Brits stop drinking tea? Oh, they haven't at all, according to The Telegraph (London). In fact, citing research by the supermarket giant Tesco, the newspaper reports that the traditional afternoon ritual of taking the hot beverage with milk and perhaps lemon is growing among the 18-to-40 crowd . What has changed is that Britons now would rather dunk a tea bag into a ceramic mug of hot water than wait five minutes while the loose stuff steeps in a pot. As a result, sales of loose tea fell 7.7 percent last year while those of teapots have plunged by two-thirds over the past five years. In fact, Tesco has cut the styles on its store shelves from 20 to 5. Younger consumers, a spokeswoman for the chain told the newspaper, now consider pots and china cups and saucers "quaint, dainty and old-fashioned," whereas tea that's drunk from a mug "lasts longer." Not surprisingly, all this dismays the founder of the Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee in London. "Today," Edward Bramah sniffed, "I would suggest that the British don't know anything about tea."

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