If you’re British then you’re probably very familiar with the fact that tea won the war, a cup of tea fixes everything, and if you can’t make a good cup of tea then, well… you need to have a good look in the mirror.
Grab yourself a brew and read this.
Actually no. Read this FIRST, then you’ll be well-equipped to make the perfect cuppa.
Tea is a national favourite, and many might say it’s the UK’s most popular hot beverage, but we have some shock news for you…
Tea isn’t the favourite hot drink anymore! In 2017, coffee overtook tea as the nation’s favourite hot beverage. We think this was probably down to the recent trend for lattes, Americanos, and cappuccinos.
Despite that though, tea is still the go-to drink for many who sip the perfect brew for breakfast, on their break, on their own, with friends, and even before bed.
The fact is: if you’re British and there’s a crisis or issue that needs to be discussed, you simply have to utter the phrase, “I’ll just pop the kettle on”.
In Britain, it’s estimated that we consume around 165 million cups of tea per day, which equates to around 60.2 billion cups every year! And, apparently, each of us spends around £2,500 on tea in a lifetime!
Regardless of these astonishing facts, you may be surprised to know that most of us apparently make tea incorrectly!
You’d think that with the amount of tea we drink, we’d have at least mastered the art of brewing it by now!
Thankfully, science boffins at the University of Northumbria’s School of Life Sciences have come to our rescue to save our Britishness and help keep our upper lip stiff and sipping on a good brew.
Carrying out over 180 hours of painstaking research, these researchers got a panel of experts to drink 285 cups of tea (with presumably a lot of comfort breaks) and they now believe that they’ve got the perfect cuppa nailed.
So, pop the kettle on and get ready to make the perfect brew…
Step one: Boiling Water
First of all, you obviously need to put the kettle on but this first step is where many go wrong! You need FRESH water each time, and that water must be boiling!
Not just freshly boiled, but boiling! It’s just like water for coffee can be too hot; scolding it and making it taste bitter. Water that’s too cold will fail to properly release the complex flavours locked away in our tea bags.
Just a couple of degrees either way can make all of the difference.
Tip one: Fresh water must be boiling when poured.
Step two: Pouring
Now you have the perfect boiling water, you need to get the mixture right. What you need to aim for is a ratio of 200ml of boiling water per teabag. A teapot with loose leaves is naturally the ideal combination for brewing as it gives the leaves more room to move.
A cup or mug with a teabag in will work just fine (a mug is a little better as it also has more room). And let’s be honest, most of us use teabags, for the convenience and speed if nothing else.
Tip two: Get a ratio of 200ml of boiling water per teabag.
Step three: Leave to brew
You must, must, must leave your tea to brew for two minutes before you remove the bag. If you take milk (more on than shortly) only add 10ml and only after removing the bag.
Now (and this is the key part of the process) you need to leave the tea to stand for six minutes before you begin drinking it.
Not only does this allow you to avoid scolding your mouth, but it lets the drink reach a temperature of around 60°C, which the study found was the optimum temperature for full bodied flavours of tea to be released.
Tip three: leave to brew for two minutes and then wait for six.
Step four: Drink it (within the right window!)
Not only do you need to wait the six minutes to reach the optimum 60°C, but you now have a window of 11 minutes and 30 seconds to drink the tea! Why? Because after this your tea hits the dreaded 45°C mark! It’ll be past its best and you’ll lose a lot of the flavours and enjoyment as a result. There’s nothing worse than the cold dregs at the bottom of the cup, is there?!
Step four: Drink up – you have just 11 minutes!
Step five: Easy on the milk
And then for the controversy. Milk in tea doesn’t make it a good cup of tea. We know, we know – madness to say it, but it’s true – science says so!
Taste testing showed that black or very strongly brewed tea contains prevalent flavour notes of wood and grass, with hints of lemon, rose and geranium.
However, when you add milk into the cup, these more bitter tastes are significantly reduced and sweeter flavours of toffee and vanilla come to the forefront. And these flavours increase with the more milk that is added. This may go some way to explaining why 98% of tea drinkers take milk with their beverage as they don’t like the bitter taste.
10ml was found to be the ideal amount of milk to create a perfect balance.
Tip five: 10ml of milk is ideal for sweeter flavours of toffee and vanilla.
So, there you have the perfect and ‘scientifically proven’ way to the ultimate cup of tea
In the name of full disclosure, the research was sponsored by milk producers Cravendale, but I think that we can all agree that it is a sound, serious, and not even vaguely light-hearted piece of work nonetheless.
Look, this is a real thing – they even made a formula for it!
TB + (H2O @ 100°C) for 2mins BT + M (10ml) 6mins BT = PC (@ OT 60°C)
TB = teabag.
BT = brewing time.
M = milk.
OT = optimum temperature.
PC = perfect cuppa.
Enjoy your tea and do test this on someone to see if they say the immortal words “Ooh… that’s a lovely cup of tea!”.