why did British tea and Italian coffee culture stagnate?

See original post and follow up discussion on /r/slatestarcodex here

When you speak with tea enthusiasts about getting into tea culture, they will tell you that you should use a temperature controlled kettle, buy loose leaf tea, sample a bunch of green, oolong and black teas to establish your preferences etc.

Growing up in Canada, I always assumed that Britain, being such a tea obsessed culture, would be the home of quality tea. I was surprised to learn that despite the obsession with tea, most tea nerds view the tea consumed in Britain as being extremely low quality tea (bad quality tea, all in bags, only one type of tea, minimal focus on proper steeping).

It’s been explained to me that to Brits, tea is not tea, but rather tea is specifically a limited range of bagged black teas, with dash of milk, and possibly a spoon or two of sugar. This tea is not merely a delicacy, but an expression of culture; something drank for social reasons or for comfort.

After reflecting on this, I wondered if there was something similar going on with Italian coffee. Despite espresso being so beloved by Italians and having such a wonderful reputation, I discovered that most coffee nerds think coffee in Italy is terrible.

Similar to the story with British tea, Italian espresso is viewed as a cultural expression, where nearly everyone consumes the exact same variety of espresso and consumed largely for social/utility reasons.

Many people believe that Australia is home to the best coffee in the world. When I asked Australians about this, the most common explanation is that Australian coffee culture was built by post-ww2 southern European immigrants who loved espresso. It seems that in Italy, espresso became a defined thing where as in Australia, people were more willing to experiment, optimize and improve upon it. This desire to experiment and improve lead to big qualitative differences in the coffee consumed today in Australia vs Italy.

It’s easy to brush this off and say that Australia could do this because they didn’t have a pre-existing defined cultural preference, which makes it easier to improve upon. However, after some googling, it seems there are lots of other countries/cultures with a big historical connection to a particular type of tea or coffee (ie Fika culture in Sweden, tea in Japan), that have had significant quality improvements in recent times.

What do you think explains why British tea and Italian espresso culture stagnated while other cultures kept trying to refine the quality of the tea/coffee they consume? Does this say anything about the broader culture and its propensity to innovate and improve?