Making the perfect cuppa is an art, and we got plenty of practice during the level 4 lockdown way back in March and April.

Putting on the jug and preparing your favourite mug became an important morning ritual - and afternoon, and night - as tea sales soared through the roof.

Over the initial lockdown period, Kiwis drank around 34 million more cups of tea than the same time period last year, according to Bell Tea, who compiled the statistics via Nielsen.

Bell Tea's Monique Durrant says the local factory worked overtime to keep up with the "unprecedented" demand.


"A refreshing cup of tea can be a real friend during life's highs and low and I think this is what we have seen over recent months," Durrant says.

Chanui Tea's administrative specialist Bella Yang says the company's tea sales went up "significantly" during the previous lockdown.

"Probably because tea has significantly less caffeine (herbal has none) and is soothing to drink."

Owner Doug Hastie previously told the Herald the brand's sales went up 140 per cent in the week before the first nationwide lockdown and have remained higher than usual as supply lines haven't been affected by Covid-19.

"There was definitely some panic buying but we just drink more tea when we're sitting at home," Hastie said.

Dilmah general manager Nigel Scott says initial purchases of tea increased by around 35 per cent over the first three weeks of the initial lockdown compared to the same time a year ago before returning to normal.

Tea sales were through the roof during lockdown as people needed a comforting cuppa several times a day. Photo / Getty Images
Tea sales were through the roof during lockdown as people needed a comforting cuppa several times a day. Photo / Getty Images

"With the return to offices we have then seen purchasers for in-home consumption return to slightly above pre-lockdown levels but of course, in turn, we have seen an increase again through our office supply channels," he says.

And he says their green teas have become more popular since March, with consumers going for teas higher in antioxidant levels.


"During lockdown there is no doubt that with households being together coupled with the cafes being limited to what they could offer, tea became the beverage of choice to consume at home," Scott says.

When we came out of the original lockdown, we saw a return to the strong Kiwi café culture with consumers wanting their coffee fix, says Scott - but levels of tea consumption have gone up since a year ago.

"The hot beverage market overall here in NZ has remained strong and both have their parts to play."

It's hard to deny that there's nothing quite like wrapping your hands around a comforting hot drink on a cold day.

And being at home with access to a jug and tea box 24/7 means we're more likely to make a brew several times a day than if we were in the office, workplace, or classroom.

If you're looking to make the perfect cuppa at home, the Queen's own royal tea supplier explains how to make the perfect cup here.