The number of 20-34 year-olds drinking tea has increased for the first time in three years.

Nearly two thirds of the age group are now regularly opting for the beverage, according to data from the TNS National Drinks Survey covering the year to the end of 2005.

Further research by TNS shows tea’s share of total drinks consumption has increased for the first time in 3 years. It stands at 34% at the expense of alcohol and fizzy drinks, categories which are losing share.

Bill Gorman, executive director of the Tea Council, said the success of tea was partly due to a 2005 promotional campaign to highlight its health benefits to a younger audience.

“Tea has always been the nation’s favourite drink, but over the past 30 years that position has been challenged, particularly by soft drinks.

“The data shows more people are becoming aware of the health benefits of regular tea.”