There’s nothing more British than a good old cup of tea. Stick with us, and we’ll guide you through the sometimes-surprising factors that can supercharge your next cup from great to gobsmacking amazing.
Start with the perfect ingredients
Whole leaf teas offer a more complex flavour for a fuller taste. When leaves are broken they can lose their antioxidants, taste and aroma but as all of our teas use the whole leaf
you will never have this problem. If you prefer to use teabags opt for a pyramidal shape that allows the leaves to ‘dance’, which not only looks pretty cool, but is vital for a proper infusion. Storing your tea appropriately is equally important. Air, light, heat and moisture can damage your tea, so we recommend an opaque, non-plastic airtight container to maintain its freshness.
Many homes across the UK suffer with hard water. Tea made with hard water can result in a film on the top due to the presence of hard minerals, and hard water often contains stronger chlorine which can affect the taste. Using filtered water or bottled water can counteract this.
Brew time has a direct impact on the taste of your cuppa. Too short and it’ll be weak and won’t have reached its full flavour potential. Too strong and it will taste bitter and acidic.
In tea terms, the perfect time is between 1-3 minutes. Some teas need a little longer and some need less though, so we would always advise reading the packaging for further guidance.
Just like the ‘are you a folder or a scruncher?’ great toilet paper debate, the nation is divided on when to add milk; before or after you pour the tea? Put in the milk first and it’s less likely to denature, but put it in last and you have more control over how much to add. In 2003 however, scientists officially settled the debate when the Royal Society of Chemistry concluded that…brace yourselves… it really doesn’t matter! What DOES matter though, according to these same scientists, is the temperature of the water – which leads us to the next point.
Getting the temperature just right
Different teas require different temperatures to maximise their flavours. Black tea and infusions can take the heat so with these teas use freshly boiled water. Green teas taste best with cooler water. Aim for around 70-85 degrees Celsius – any hotter and you’ll find it tastes bitter. Uaing 65-70 degree Celsius water for whites and 80-85 degrees Celsius for oolongs will get the best from those too.
Step away from the spoon!
Admit it, you’re a squeezer, aren’t you? Or perhaps you’ve learnt the error of your ways, but at one time or another, we bet you were guilty of squeezing your teabag against the side of the cup. ‘But I like my tea to taste strong’ you might be thinking. Squeezing your bag for a stronger taste is nothing but a myth though. It’ll affect the taste alright, but squeezing releases tannins that make your tea taste more bitter, not stronger.
It’s all about the accessories
The perfect cup of tea can of course be improved by having the right accessories to go with it, whether this means a big builders-style mug or a dainty china cup. Above all else though, the top ‘accessory’ has got to be the humble biscuit. Personally, we’re fans of ginger nuts dunked quickly to retain their inner crunch, but whatever your biscuit of choice, sitting down and enjoying one with your tea is always the final step towards brewing the perfect English cuppa!