TARDIS Index File


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Type: Beverage
Place of origin: Earth
Made by: Humans
First seen in: 1963
Behind the scenes video
Doctor Who's Matt Smith Talks Tea - Victoria Wood's Nice Cup of Tea - BBC One02:47

Doctor Who's Matt Smith Talks Tea - Victoria Wood's Nice Cup of Tea - BBC One

Tea was a drink made from the dried leaves of the tea plant, created by brewing the leaves in hot water. Tea leaves were sometimes encased in porous bags, making it easier to dispose the leaves after steeping. (PROSE: The Dying Days, TV: The Lodger) The Fifth Doctor once described tea to Will Chandler as "a noxious infusion of oriental leaves containing a high percentage of toxic acid". Will thought it sounded vile, to which the Doctor replied, "Personally, I rather like it". (TV: The Awakening)

Milk and sugar were often used to flavour tea. According to Professor Litefoot, ladies should add only one lump of sugar to their tea. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang) Lemon was also often used to flavour tea. (PROSE: Fallen Gods)

According to the Eighth Doctor, one should "never turn down tea if it's offered. It's impolite, and that's how wars start." Although at first claiming this to have incited at least fourteen different wars, he admitted that he may have been exaggerating when pressed. (AUDIO: Memory Lane)

When tea was not served with a meal, it was often served with biscuits and jam. (TV: The Power of Kroll) The Second Doctor once requested a patty cake with his tea. (TV: The Invasion) The Eleventh Doctor was particularly fond of Jammie Dodgers, both with and without his tea. He once fooled the Daleks into believing that the biscuit was the TARDIS self-destruct control. He claimed that he brought the biscuit since he was promised tea. (TV: Victory of the Daleks) Tea was prominent in British culture and often drank for comfort. When offered a cup of tea by her mother, Jackie in the middle of an alien invasion, Rose Tyler sarcastically referred to tea as "the solution to everything". Shortly afterwards, Mickey Smith dryly said to Rose that Jackie's offer of tea was the equivalent of "having a picnic while the world comes to an end" and "very British." (TV: The Christmas Invasion) Rose said to a parallel universe version of Jackie that her Jackie would not go to bed until she had a cup of tea, with two sugars. The parallel Jackie did the same as the one from Rose's universe. (TV: Rise of the Cybermen)

Serving tea

Tea rooms were businesses that primarily served tea. (PROSE: The Splintered Gate)

The Doctor considered the ablity to make tea important. The Fourth Doctor once asked Romana if she knew how to make tea. As she didn't know what it was, he claimed that the Time Lords no longer taught anything useful. (TV: The Ribos Operation) When Professor Litefoot attempted to educate Leela on the etiquette of tea, the Fourth Doctor told her that the only thing she really needed to know was how to heat a teapot. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang)

During his time with UNIT, the Third Doctor drank a lot of tea. Tea was so important to him that the tea lady was allowed in his lab, which was off limits to anyone except the Brigadier and his staff. (TV: Terror of the Autons)

Deadbeat performed odd jobs for Captain Cook including making Cook's special blend of tea. (TV: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy)

Daleks posing as man-made machines called Ironsides, had a variety of duties including serving tea. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)

After Owen Harper was relieved of his duties with Torchwood Three, he continued as their tea boy. (TV: A Day in the Death)

Types of tea

Healing properties

Tea was considered healing. According to the Tenth Doctor, the free radicals and tannin in tea made it ideal for "healing the synapses". At the time, the vapour from a spilled flask of tea had helped the Doctor recover from his recent regeneration. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)

The Sixth Doctor drank tea to recover from Sancreda's psychic attack. (AUDIO: The Spectre of Lanyon Moor)

The Eleventh Doctor used a large amount of very strong tea to save the life of Craig Owens, who had been adversely affected by a ceiling that had been altered by a time ship's attempts to find a pilot; the Doctor claimed that it "reversed the enzyme decay". (TV: The Lodger)


While tea was a human creation, it was enjoyed by aliens as well.

Davros enjoyed sweet tea. (AUDIO: Guilt)

Turlough expressed a fondness for tea, or as he called it, "that brown liquid". (TV: The Awakening)

Vilgreth was fond of tea and took some with him when he left Earth in his spaceship. (AUDIO: Last of the Titans)

The Doctor

The Third Doctor took his tea with milk and four sugars. He had a habit of stirring his tea with whatever was available, such as a silicon rod. The Brigadier was once confused when the Third Doctor did not put milk or sugar in his tea. In fact, he was not having tea with the Doctor, but with the Master, who had temporarily stolen the Doctor's body. (TV: Invasion of the Dinosaurs, The Three Doctors, PROSE: The Switching)

The Emperor of China once gave the Doctor a gift of tea. During her travels with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa gave the tea away, unaware of its origins. (AUDIO: Spare Parts)

The Fifth Doctor took his tea with two sugars, (AUDIO: The Eternal Summer, PROSE: The Comet's Tail) as did the Ninth. (TV: The Unquiet Dead) The Sixth Doctor took his with six. (AUDIO: Project: Lazarus)

An attempt on the Sixth Doctor's life was made by poisoning his tea with soluble aspirin. The Doctor counteracted the aspirin by eating chocolate. (AUDIO: The Condemned)

The Seventh Doctor once met a potential future version of himself who had a particularly great interest in tea. (COMIC: Party Animals)

Sometime before his tenth incarnation, the Doctor pushed boxes of tea at the Boston Tea Party. (TV: The Unquiet Dead)


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