An American woman who lives in the UK has highlighted some cultural differences between the UK and US – including the various meanings behind the use of the word ‘tea.’
Andrea Celeste, originally from Los Angeles, California, US, has been living in London for eight years, and has picked up on some interesting transatlantic differences in lifestyles, language and laws.
The social media star – who has 185,000 followers on TikTok and over 26 million likes on her videos – posted a clip on June 1 as part of her ‘Things that are socially acceptable in England that might confuse Americans’ series.
Andrea, also known as @anndreacelleste on the site, helpfully pointed out to fellow Americans the many different British uses of the word ‘tea,’ as well as the problems Brits face in the summertime without air conditioning.
The video – which has amassed 32K likes and 251 comments – sparked a varied response from Brits and Scots who follow her accurate observations, even triggering a colloquial debate between the use of ‘tea’ versus ‘dinner.’
Andrea Celeste, originally from Los Angeles but has been living in London for eight years, helpfully pointed out to fellow Americans the many different British uses of the word ‘tea’
In the clip, Andrea explains: ‘The word ‘tea’ in England doesn’t just mean a cup of tea – it can mean dinner or a snack in some parts of England.
‘And then you have things like afternoon tea, cream tea or tea breaks at work, which all include tea, but, it’s like different settings.’
The influencer then approaches the topic of British summertime, accompanied by the lack of air conditioning.
She said: ‘It’s pretty common for places in England to not have built-in air conditioning.
‘So, when summer’s approaching, people will usually buy the portable air-conditioning units or a fan.
‘But ceiling fans are also not that common in England, so, when it gets to summer, the heat just hits different here.’
Andrea then moves on to talk about slot machines available to use freely in UK pubs, while gambling is restricted to casinos in the US, aside from a few states.
She explained: ‘Pubs in England also sometimes have what are called fruit machines, which are basically slot machines.
‘In the US, I think Nevada is the only state with no significant restrictions against slot machines. Then there’s a few other states like Pennsylvania that have them at bars, restaurants, convenience stores…’
Andrea says that ‘tea’ in the UK ‘doesn’t just mean a cup of tea – it can mean dinner or a snack, afternoon tea, cream tea or tea breaks at work’ – prompting huge debate in the comments
She finally brings up the open debate revolving around the ‘hierarchy’ of supermarket chains in both countries, referring to the general quality and pricing of their items.
Andrea said: ‘I get this one in my comments section every time I post one of these, but the hierarchy of grocery stores in England.
‘It’s like a status symbol if you shop at, like, Waitrose. But, I think it’s kinda true for the US too.’
She added: ‘This might just be in California because we have things like Bristol Farms and now Erewhon, but there’s always been a running joke about Walmart and stuff, so I’m just curious if any other states experience the hierarchy of grocery stores.’
Andrea’s explanations in the video prompted a variation of response from TikTok users, with many divided over the use of ‘tea’ for ‘dinner,’ while others agreed that a supermarket hierarchy truly does exist in the UK.
Andrea’s explanations in the video prompted a variation of response from TikTok users, with many divided over the use of ‘tea’ for ‘dinner’
Referring to another unmentioned use of the word ‘tea,’ a user wrote: ‘High tea as well. Used to be after a Sunday roast. Then in evening it would be very similar to afternoon tea but not as posh.’
Others debated over the word, with one person saying: ‘Pet peeve of mine is when people call it tea no it’s dinner!’
Another agreed, writing: ‘Woah woah woah I have to say as a Brit it’s breakfast, lunch and dinner NOT tea.’
One person suggested the difference between the use of ‘tea’ and ‘dinner,’ saying: ‘Calling ‘dinner’ tea is a north south divide I think. I grew up in the North so say tea.’
Other users discussed other colloquialisms for slot machines, with one writing: ‘We call fruit machines ‘puggys’ in Scotland.’
Other users – particular Scottish people – discussed other colloquialisms for slot machines, while others confirmed that a supermarket hierarchy truly does exist in the UK
Another agreed, saying: ‘Slot machines are called ‘puggies’ in Scotland. No idea why.’
Meanwhile, people rallied to confirm the general hierarchy of supermarket chains in the UK.
One person stated: ‘Supermarket hierarchy from most posh to least: Waitrose, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl.’
Another suggested: ‘M&S, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco, Lidl, Morrisons , Iceland.’
In Andrea’s first clip from her TikTok series, she discusses how UK cashiers and retail workers ‘don’t typically start conversations with people’ to the extent that they do in America, and that the idea of black pudding ‘freaks out’ her American friends.