How to Make the Perfect Cup of British Tea – Guide to the Perfect Cuppa

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In honor of our current reprint t-shirt called The World of Tea  here’s an article from the Anglotopia archive on how to make the perfect cuppa.

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I was raised in a tea drinking house. While most Americans started their day off with a hot cup of coffee, hot tea was the drink of choice in my house. In fact Christmas morning did not officially “start”  unless my mother had a cup of tea in hand. Presents were to be left alone until that mug of steamy goodness had reached my mother’s hands. I cannot tell you how many cups I have made in my lifetime. more than I can count. My mother always took her tea the British way, with a bit of milk and sugar. Most Americans drink their tea with honey or lemon, not milk.

As I have had a lifetime of tea-making, I would like to think I have perfected it into an art. Without further ado, here are my tips to make a fabulous cup of British style tea.

Pick a Quality Tea: This is the most important key to making a good tea. After all it is what you are going to be brewing and drinking. We prefer Twinings Tea. They have been selling tea since 1706, what they don’t know about tea is not worth knowing. They offer many types of teas, that come as loose leaf or in a tea bag. No matter the brand you chose, make sure it is a quality British tea.

Choose The Type of Tea Leaf You want: Now that you have a quality tea picked out, you  must brew it according to the tea, loose leaf verses tea bag. For loose leaf tea, you will need a strainer or a tea ball. They can be found almost anywhere. They are filled with the loose leaf tea and dropped into the mug to brew. Tea bags can simply be put into a mug.

A Good Boil:  Before you boil water for tea, make sure to use new water, pour out any water that has been sitting in the tea kettle.  The old water can make tea taste bitter. To get the perfect cup of tea, the water must be very hot. The tea needs some time to brew. While the tea is brewing the water will certainly cool down. If your water is tepid, it will be cold by the time your tea is brewed. You can even fill your tea cup with hot water from the tap to warm the cup.

Give it Time: Once you have poured your steaming hot water into your teacup, drop in your loose leaf tea ball. For a tea bag, I recommend placing it in the teacup before pouring in the water. No matter what method you choose, you must allow the tea to brew before you and anything to it. Follow the directions on the package. It usually takes anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes.

The Perfect Color: When adding milk to milk to your tea, you want to have it come out as a warm tan color. Before you add your milk, make sure to take out the tea ball or tea bag. Add just a bit of milk about 2-3 teaspoons per 8-oz. cup of tea.  Then add sugar to taste.

If  You are Making a Pot of Tea: Make sure to have a good quality tea, and boiling hot water. I prefer loose leaf tea for making a pot of tea. The general rule is one teaspoon per person drinking from the pot, plus an additional teaspoon for the pot. Tea in the pot generally has to brew a bit longer but is well worth it. Make sure to use a tea leaf catcher to catch the leaves when pouring the tea from the pot. I prefer the models that sit on top of the tea cup.

Have the Proper Tea Tools: Just as important as good tea, having the proper tools to make the perfect cup of tea is equally important. Every kitchen should have the following; a well made tea kettle to boil water, an air tight container for the tea, a nice deep teacup, a teapot with a creamer and sugar bowl, a tea strainer, a tea ball to steep loose leaf tea. I think nice tea set is an essential  for every kitchen, it is a wonderful thing to pull out when you feel like having a nice pot of tea for yourself or to enjoy with company.

I probably drink ten times my weight in tea during a single year. I love how it can wake you up in the morning, and calm you at night. Tea has a way of warming you up during a cold, drizzly afternoon like nothing else. I think I will go make a cup right now.

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There’s still 72 hours left to get The World of Tea – our exclusive tribute to the afternoon cuppa. Click here to buy now.