Young women are opting for water, soft drinks or alcohol, compared to the cup of tea favoured by the older female generation, according to the latest research.

Bill Gorman of the Tea Council, said: “Our research shows that although young women are increasingly drinking tea rather than coffee, many are shunning tea in favour of water.

The research shows that tea consumption for women aged 20-34, as a share of the total drinks volume, has gone from 38% in 1994 to 29% in 2003.

Simon Bowes, of Keith tea packers, said to The Telegraph today that part of the problem was that young people felt the process of making and drinking a cup of tea was too lengthy.