TEA is quintessentially English. You can even drink it with a stiff upper lip. But increasingly, it is a Yorkshire drink.

This week, Yorkshire Tea, blended in Harrogate, has overtaken Tetley to become the nation’s second-most consumed brand of tea behind PG Tips. We Brits drink 165m cups of tea a day – more than twice our coffee intake – which means that the average adult drinks 876 cups a year, which is about two bathtubs.

However, three nations out-drink us – Turkey, Morocco and Ireland – and really our love of tea comes from Portugal.

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Although we were aware of tea from the early 17th Century, we were a nation of ale drinkers – even children had small beer for breakfast as it was the best way of decontaminating the dodgy water – until Catherine of Braganza landed at Portsmouth on May 14, 1662. She was the king of Portugal’s daughter and had journeyed for a month, including a torrid crossing of the channel, to be married to our Charles II.

So torrid was Catherine’s crossing, than on landing she asked for a cuppa. The British only had ale, but fortunately she had brought a large casket of her favourite beverage with her.

She was married a week later, and it became fashionable to copy the new queen’s drinking habits – however, British consumption seems to have risen in correlation to the availability of sugar, as we had sweet teeth from the beginning.

Poor Catherine probably needed a regular intake of tea to steady her nerves due to Charles’ very public thirst for his voluptuous mistresses.

It was the railways which brought tea to the masses. In 1837, for example, Joseph and Edward Tetley, of Bradford, were able to add tea to the salt they sold on their rounds from their packhorse, – Tetley still plays on its Yorkshire roots, but is owned by the Indian steel company, Tata.

In 1869 in Manchester, Arthur Brooke opened his first tea shop in Manchester, promising to bring the best tea to his customers – that was his bond, which became his brand. In the 1930s, Brooke Bond introduced a new blend of tea which it claimed aided digestion. It called it Pre-Gest-Tee to encourage people to drink it before a meal, but after the Second World War, the scientifically dubious claim was withdrawn, and PGT was renamed to reflect that it made only from the tastiest tops of the leaves.

PG Tips still leads the way, but Yorkshire Tea – started when Charles Edward Taylor in 1886 when he opened tea kiosks in Harrogate and Ilkley – is now in second, having overtaken Tetley and Ty-phoo (a brand started in 1903 taking its name from the Chinese word for doctor). The current Yorkshire blend – a mixture of tea from Assam, Sir Lanka and Kenya – was launched in 1977 as a “Yorkshire blend for Yorkshire people” best suited for Yorkshire water.

But the black tea market is in decline – it has fallen a fifth since 2012. Coffee is trendier, and novelty flavoured teas are taking over (Twinings, named after the man who opened Britain’s first tea room in The Strand in London in 1706, specialises in such things and is pushing Yorkshire for the second spot).

Yorkshire’s success, though, is a rejection of such silly fancies. It is a dependably British tea – a proper tea.