how can you tell whether this means "my mother likes a lot of tea" or really likes tea a lot?
It is the placement of beaucoup. When it comes immediately after the verb, it is helping the verb, in this case, "aime beaucoup" means likes a lot or really likes. When it comes before the noun, it will always be followed by a "de": beaucoup de thè. And that means a lot of tea.
Yes, I thought the same but then I was told to notice that " l'été" has two long, similar sounding "e" vowels where they differ in "le thé"! Great insight for me.
Beaucoup is also like "very much, a lot", so "my mom likes the tea very much" "my mom likes a lot the tea" must be correct anyways
question asks you to type what you hear but keeps rejecting saying you typed in English