I’m British and TEA is an important part of my culture, so I expect, NO I DEMAND, you get this right!
We’ve allowed the Americans to ruin our high streets with Starbucks coffee chains and their half-fat lattes, but on tea we are not budging, there is only one way to make tea correctly, it’s the British way.
Rule Britannia and Long Live The Queen of England!
Teapot vs Teabag in Cup/Mug
I’m not sure what is wrong with people who put the teabag in the cup to brew the tea, it’s just wrong, so wrong not only will I never visit the home again of a person performing this travesty against tea, but you are no longer welcome in my home!!!
This is NOT open for debate, tea is made in a teapot, NOT a cup/mug.
The Perfect Cup of British Tea
The correct tea making procedure is as follows, NO EXCEPTIONS!
1. NEVER put the teabag in the cup/mug.
1.1. For best results use a china or earthenware teapot.
2. Only boil the water once, if you’ve allowed it to cool for more than 8 seconds, throw it away and start again: screw global warming, this is TEA, it has to be absolutely PERFECT!
2.1. Microwaves are an amazing time saving invention, however they are NOT a suitable replacement for a quality kettle! Water for tea is boiled in a kettle, we aren’t American’s drinking Coffee!!!
3. Swirl a little bit of hot water in the teapot and throw it away. A cold teapot is an unfriendly teapot. If you are a pro tea maker also warm the cup/mug, but I can let this one go. Let the record show, I’m a reasonable person, I’m not pedantic about rules.
4. Place an appropriate number of teabags (one per person) in the warmed teapot and immediately add the boiling water, hotter the better: note the 8 seconds rule above.
5. Allow the tea to brew an appropriate amount of time while protected by a suitable tea cozy. Now here’s where the expert tea makers experience comes into play, different tea brands require different brewing times.
5.1. You also have to take into account the time of year (winter months require more time), altitude (high up a mountain, water boils at a lower temperature!), barometric pressure, hardness of the water and many other tiny factors.
5.2. On tea cosies, her we can have some fun, but not too much fun! The perfect tea cosy is made from Welsh wool sheared in August, you just can’t find better cosy wool than Welsh wool. Tea cosy design is where we can “let our hair down”, but not too much, a classy tea cosy with a Union Jack design is always appreciated, but under NO circumstances should a lewd design be used!
6. Slowly pour the tea from the teapot into the cup/mug at a rate of between 40ml and 50ml per second. Leave between 18mm and 25mm from the top of the cup/mug for adding milk if required. The expert will ask in advance if the drinker adds milk and approx. how much so they know in advance how much space to leave: think ahead and avoid problems.
7. Provide chilled milk (should not have left the fridge more than 5mins earlier) and sugar lumps for the tea drinker to choose how they take their tea. Don’t forget the silver spoons, one per cup/mug tastefully provided on a small saucer, no sharing, we aren’t Canadians!!!
Optional: Biscuits: the expert tea maker will provide a suitable variety of biscuits on a small plate. Always start with a rich base of Hob Nobs for the dunking risk takers (you know who you are) and ample depth of Rich Teas for the novice and traditionalist drinkers. If you are feeling particularly adventurous consider Jammy Dodgers, but NEVER Ginger Nut biscuits! Not only do Ginger Nut biscuits ruin the taste of the perfect cup of tea, they have a tendency to quickly disintegrate when dunked!!!
DO NOT confuse the drinker by providing Jaffa Cakes, Jaffa Cakes are NOT proper biscuits and should only be given to children for entertainment purposes.
After several years of practice and feedback you’ll be able to call yourself a British Tea Maker.
David Law : Expert British Tea Maker with over 30 years experience.