Idiomatic Vocabulary 1: “not my cup of tea”

The Phrase

  Not [somebody’s] cup of teacup of tea

Its Definition

An adjectival phrase meaning “I don’t like it”.


This phrase is useful because in the IELTS test you are often asked about your likes and dislikes, and even if not asked, we often give these feelings anyway.

Examiner:          Do people in your culture like outdoor sport?

Speaker:             Some do, but it’s certainly not my cup of tea.


Watch Out

  1. This phrase is always used in the negative, when saying that you do NOT like something.

Examiner:          Do people in your culture like indoor sport?

Speaker:             Well, it’s certainly my cup of tea.

A better answer here is ….

 Speaker:            Well, I certainly do, but I’m not sure …..[continue the answer].


  1. This phrase is probably too long [Remember Rule 2], and thus too informal to be used in IELTS writing.


Other Example Sentences

In IELTS Speaking

  • “People go to bars and drink, but that’s definitely not my cup of tea.”
  • “My ambition has always been to climb Mount Everest, but I know that would definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea.”