If I wanted some tea, which verb would Americans use to ask someone for tea:

  • to make some tea?
  • or to brew some tea?

Which of these two verbs are commonly used? Is there a better word?

  • I guess that in the OP's first language, both "make tea" and "have tea" (or want to have/drink tea) are two sides of the same coin when someone makes a request for some tea. For example, this request (which is sort of literally translated from my first language, Thai) works just fine in Thai: Could you make some tea for me, please? Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 18:38
  • 1
    Not sure why this was closed. A learner can't be expected to know there is no special word.
    – user6951
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


The verbs we use for tea and coffee are the same. You can "make" some coffee or "make" some tea. Or, if you want to use a more specialized word, you can "brew" either coffee or tea. For coffee, this normally assumes you have a coffee maker. For tea, of course, you can "brew" tea by "warming up" water in a kettle and "steeping" the tea in the hot water.

If you are in a rush, you can "make" some instant coffee. Or you can "microwave" (verb) coffee using special coffee filters. For tea, you can "microwave" some water and then add a tea bag to the resulting hot water, and let the tea (bag) "steep" in the hot water. This is great for quick preparation, but I wouldn't "prepare" coffee or tea using a microwave for anyone but myself, a roommate or a friend (i.e., not for a large party or a dinner party).

You can "make" (or "brew") some "sun tea" by letting the tea bags "steep" in a large jar of boiled water, which you set out in the sun.

All these are different ways to "make" or "prepare" tea and coffee.

Then you just "drink" the tea. Although you probably want to "sip" the tea while it is still very hot. In American English we rarely say will you "take" some tea, although will you "have" some tea is okay; but more common is do you "want" some tea.

In the US, people "drink" iced tea (or: ice tea) all the time. And in some places in the USA, people "take" or "drink" coffee iced. That is, they "drink" iced coffee.

  • I think your answer is useful and correct (I'm not the source of the down-vote), but I think that it might be helpful to show how these words work when you're asking someone for a cup of tea or coffee. It's obvious to me, but it might not be obvious to someone less fluent in English.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 18:47

Both my husband and I drink tea and coffee regularly and we speak AmE - I'm certain there are differences in BrE. There isn't a single verb to describe wanting to drink tea, but we do have some phrases we use.

I might ask my husband "Would you like a cup of coffee?" and he might reply "No, I think I'll have some tea. Would you put some water on for me?". He might say to me, "I'm making tea. Would you like a cup?" and I might say "No thanks, would you put some coffee on for me instead?"

"Would you put some water on?" means heat up some water in a kettle for tea. I think this came from "put some water in a kettle and put it on the stove", but we use it to mean heat water up in our electric kettle too. We use this when we brew our tea directly in our cups, and when we expect to pick out the tea and steep it ourselves after the water has heated up.

"Would you make a pot of (coffee/tea)?" or "Would you make me a cup of tea?" - We use this when we are asking the other to make it from start to finish. The typical response is "What kind would you like?" I would not ask him to "make me a cup of coffee". It would either be "pour me a cup of coffee (from an already made pot)", or "make me a k-cup (using our Keurig single cup brewer)".

"Would you put on a pot of coffee for me?" - We have an electric coffee maker, but we use "put on a pot" in the same way that we say "put some water on" for tea. We would not use "put on a pot of tea" because we steep our tea off of the heat and don't boil it like someone might do for masala chai.

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