How to make the perfect cup of tea

There are a lot of personal preferences when it comes to making the perfect cup of tea.  However, there are a few universal tips which will improve the taste of your favourite cuppa.

  1. Use fresh water
  2. Warm your tea pot
  3. Use the right amount of tea
  4. Temperature of the water
  5. Brewing time
  6. Milk - first or last?
  7. Use the perfect cup

Choose your water carefully.

Let's be honest, most of us flick the kettle on without thinking about how many times the water inside it has been boiled.  Experts all agree that oxygen in the water is one of the key factors in the taste of tea.  Every time you boil the kettle it removes some of the oxygen in the water.

So, each time you want to make the perfect cup of tea, empty the old water from the kettle first and fill with fresh water.  Even better, use filtered water.

Warm your tea pot.

It's the kind of thing your Granny used to do, and she may have know best when it comes to the perfect cup of tea.  Temperature is really important, as we'll discuss later, but given it's importance why would you pour boiling water into a cold tea pot and instantly reduce the temperature dramatically?  Take a few moments to put a little boiling water into the clean teapot and swirl it round to warm the pot.  Then throw that water away.

Tea served in a traditional English cup and saucer

Use the right amount of tea

You may have your own preference for loose leaves or tea bags.  That isn't really a factor in making the perfect cup of tea.  Using the correct amount of a good quality tea is.  Twinnings recommend one tea bag per person, or one tea spoon per person if using loose leaves.

Temperature of the water

The temperature the water needs to be depends upon the type of tea you are making.  Herbal and Black teas need water than has just boiled and have a longer brewing time.  Whereas Green or White teas need the water to have cooled slightly before you pour it into the tea pot but have a shorter brewing time.  It may sound strange to leave the water in the kettle to let it cool slightly but it will mean that your green tea tastes less bitter, so give it a go.

Cup of Tea in China Cup

Brewing Time

It is advisable to have a look at the packet of tea you are using as it should have brewing instructions.  If it does, ignore what I am about to say, as that is what the expert blenders who perfected that blend say that is important.

If there are no instructions, then in general,

  • Herbal Teas need to brew longest 3-6 mins
  • Black / Oolong Tea should brew for about 3 mins
  • Green Tea should brew for about 2 mins
  • White / Yellow tea should brew for 1-2 mins

Once your tea has brewed for the perfect amount of time, you need to stop the brewing by removing the leaves from the tea pot to maintain that perfect flavour.

Milk - First or Last?

A lot of people have very firm ideas about this, and if you are brewing in a mug then it does matter.  However, if you are making your tea in a tea pot then it isn't important at all.  The taste of your tea is down to the oxygen in the water, the temperature of the water on the leaves, and the amount of time you brew the tea for.  All of that is controlled in your tea pot.  So, if you brew in a tea pot, it doesn't matter whether the milk goes in before or after the tea.

If you have skipped the tea pot and are just making a single cup in a mug, then think about the temperature that your tea should be brewing at.  Milk will make the mug cooler so your water would need to be hotter to achieve the perfect brew.

Use the perfect cup

We are always being told that tea tastes better in a china cup, and we wholeheartedly agree.

 

So, now we have looked at the steps to making the perfect cup of tea, all you need is to find 10 mins in your day to sit back and enjoy a cuppa.  Oh, and to decide which biscuit goes best with it!

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