The royals drink their tea sweetened with honey rather than sugar - and add milk last

A royally-approved cup of tea is sweetened with honey and has milk added last [Image: Getty]
A royally-approved cup of tea is sweetened with honey and has milk added last [Image: Getty]

It turns out that making the perfect cuppa doesn’t just consist of having tea bags in the house and milk which hasn’t quite gone off.

If you want to produce a brew that will get the royal seal of approval, you’ll have to ditch the sugar in favour of honey and remember to add your milk last.

Dumfries House, an 18th-century mansion in Ayrshire which runs a five-week hospitality course for butlers who go on to serve royalty at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, has revealed its exacting “rules” for a proper cup of tea.

Evan Samson, hospitality manager at Dumfries House - which was saved in 2007 with a £20m grant from Prince Charles’ Charitable Fund after the Earl of Bute could no longer afford to maintain it - told The Sunday Times that instead of tea bags you should use loose tea leaves and a teapot.

READ MORE: How to make the perfect cuppa - as Boris Johnson's tea-making skills are questioned

In case you’re not familiar with the measurements, there should be one teaspoon of tea leaves per teacup - because a mug won’t quite cut it - plus an extra serving.

Water must be heated to 100C for Earl Grey or English breakfast tea, or 70C for green tea, and measured with a thermometer.

Black tea should be brewed for five minutes, while green tea should only get three.

Instead of sugar, tea must be sweetened with honey - which should be added to the teacup in advance.

READ MORE: Helen Mirren left 'embarrassed' during tea with Queen when she couldn't remember how to ask Prince Philip to 'pass the milk'

Presentation is also important, and the handle of the teacup must be placed to the right with the teaspoon under the handle.

Milk should always be added last, and there should be a small jug on the table for top-ups.

The paper reports that butlers are also taught to light candles 15 minutes before people enter a room, and that they shouldn’t say “good morning” until you are five metres away from a guest.

It comes after Boris Johnson’s tea-making skills were questioned when he was filmed pouring himself a cuppa in a recent election broadcast on Twitter.

READ MORE: Why your daily cup of tea could make your brain sharper

The Prime Minister was criticised for not taking the teabag out, adding milk with it still in and barely stirring the brew.

In order to find out how to make the best cup of tea, Yahoo UK spoke to Dr Tim Bond, from the UK’s Tea Advisory Panel, and Ottilie Cunningham, tea and coffee buyer at Fortnum & Mason.

Both experts agree with the royals that you should wait until the final step to add milk.

Black tea should be made with boiling hot water, although it needs to be freshly boiled. And you should never, reboil the same water.

“The golden rule is to always use freshly drawn water. The reason for this is that as the water boils, it loses oxygen in the bubbles – if you keep reboiling the same water, the tea will taste flat,” says Cunningham.

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