How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Tea

Marianna Gould
Photo credit: Natalie Board

From Delish

Who doesn’t love a good cuppa? It’s a quintessential tradition, a liquid, warm hug, a rite of passage to love if you’re a Brit. Most of you probably think you’re pretty clued up on how to make the perfect cup of tea, but you might be surprised to find out you’re doing it completely wrong. And we went to some serious effort to figure out what exactly we should be doing, by speaking to a bonafide tea sommelier (yep, they exist!)

There are a number of important components when it comes to tea making including the temperature, the brewing time and even the crockery you serve it in – and according to Twining’s master blender Rishi Deb, THIS is what you should be doing…

So, how do you make the perfect cup of tea?

Freshly drawn water

Chuck that stale water away, now! For optimum taste, you need to make sure you fill the kettle with fresh, cold water. Avoid re-boiling what might already be in there, because let’s face it, we’re all guilty of this.

Photo credit: Richard Drury

The perfect temperature

The temperature of your water is crucial to the making of a good cup of tea. Now the perfect temperature does depend on what tea you’re making. For a black tea, you’re looking at around 95ºC-98ºC, whereas for green/delicate teas it’s slightly lower with 80ºC-85ºC. This is because different teas release their flavour compounds at different temperature.

Obviously, it’s easier if you have a thermometer or fancy hot water tap, but if you don’t, not to worry. We asked Rishi this and he simply said to use a bit of common sense (he really did). Easy enough right? He told us that for green teas and infusions, just let the water cool down for 4-5 mins (depending on ambient conditions of the day). And for black teas, it's ok to pour direct after boiling but a minute to cool down won’t do any harm.

Brewing time

For some peculiar reason we tend to ignore the suggested brewing time for most teas, which means we aren’t experiencing the optimum flavour of the tea.

In fact, the average brewing time for tea in the UK is a disappointing 40 seconds. Seriously, how do we expect to make a good cuppa with that?

Surprisingly, you should be brewing your tea for at least three to five minutes. I know, it sounds pretty long, but trust me, it makes all the difference! Basically, just READ the instructions.

Crockery matters!

Forget coffee-stained communal work mugs, or that giant Sports Direct monstrosity you definitely have knocking about in the cupboard, because believe it or not, the type of crockery you serve tea in matters.

Porcelain should be your go-to and try and stay clear from using clay-based crockery. Why? Well clay materials tend to taint the flavours of tea, especially if they clay isn’t well glazed.

Photo credit: mary gaudin

TOP TIP - It’s also good to get in a habit of warming your teapot before brewing your tea, this will help the tea achieve an optimal brew process without scalding the tea leaves and motivating a better aroma and taste.

Milk first, or last?

One thing we should probably cover is the whole milk first or milk last debate. And Rishi's thoughts? For him it MUST be MILK LAST and told us that milk acts as a masking agent. A survey by the YouGov even shows how 79% of (sane) people put the milk in last, whilst just 20% put it in first. So guys, it’s up to you, but I’d definitely go with last…

Summary

  1. Use freshly drawn cold water
  2. Ensure your water is the correct temperature
  3. Add milk last
  4. Brew for at least 3-5 minutes
  5. Serve in a porcelain teapot/cup

So there you have it. Just try and brew your tea for more than 40 seconds will ya?