How to make the perfect cup of tea
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On average we drink 120 million cups of tea each day in the UK. That's two cups of tea for every man, woman and child, every single day. Throw in a few coffee lovers sadly not doing their fair share and that's a whole lot of tea being drunk by the rest of us.
Recently 'a cup of tea' was voted the third best British love in a survey - behind bacon sandwiches and roast dinners. Clearly a good brew is as British as the Queen. But how do we know we're making the most of one of our finest rituals?
We talked to Mike Wright, senior buyer blender at Twinings, who now supply all the tea aboard that most British of airlines, British Airways. Wright is the man responsible for selecting and blending 50 million cups of Twinings tea enjoyed each day in Britain. It took him five years to train as a professional tea taster, so he knows his stuff.
Mike Wright, senior buyer blender at Twinings is more often in the tea room tasting samples
First, some facts about tea
- Every second, somewhere in the world, 15,000 cups of tea are drunk.
- The average British tea-drinker brews their tea for just 13 seconds and drinks nearly 1,000 cups a year.
- It was the French who first added milk to their teas.
- A standard cup of tea has half the caffeine as a standard cup of coffee.
- There are over 3,000 tea varieties around the world.
How to make the perfect cup of tea
"The perfect cup of tea is completely down to the individual," says Wright, "but there are a few steps to follow to make the most of your tea."
- Use cold, fresh water. Avoid recycling water already in the kettle.
- Soft water makes for a better cuppa, but if you live in a hard water area, opting for Assam and Kenyan teas may make for a better cup.
- Bring the water to the boil, but don't overboil - the water will deoxidise and go flat.
- You'll need a clean receptacle.
- You can add milk first if you like - it's not going to crack your crockery (unless it's fine porcelain of course, from which the practice originates).
- Use either one teabag or one teaspoon of loose tea per cup.
- For black teas (the majority of tea drunk in Britain) pour the boiled water immediately. For other teas, like green teas, let it cool to around 85C before pouring.
- Let it brew for three to four minutes (or just one to two minutes for white teas like jasmine).
- Stir the cup before serving. If you're using a pot, remove the teabags before serving or it will sit there stewing for too long.
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How you accompany your tea is really up to you
How much milk and sugar?
Ah yes, the controversial part. How much milk and sugar should you add? Pretty much anything goes, says Wright - it's your cup of tea after all.
Add milk, add sugar, leave it out, add it at the end or at the start, it's up to you. But we'd possibly suggest you don't add milk to green teas, and it's customary not to add sugar to Earl Grey, nor to add milk to Darjeeling teas.
Once you've mastered how you make your tea, the next thing to do, according to Daren Spence of Tea, is to look at what tea you're using. "In short, to make great tea you require high-quality leaf tea - preferably whole leaf with the most sought after being the bud and top two leaves."
How do you personalise your cup of tea?
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- Milk, no sugar
- Milk, one sugar
- Milk, two sugars
- Milk, three or more sugars
- No milk, one sugar
- No milk, two sugars
- No milk, three or more sugars
- No milk, no sugar
Four new Twinings flavours will be available from April, exclusively on British Airways flights in first class. Twinings' tetra mesh loose tea flavours will include Tutti Fruitti Earl Grey, Mint Humbug, Jasmine Pearls and Honeycomb Camomile.
British Airways already serves Twinings English Breakfast Blend on all of its flights and in all BA airport lounges.
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I honestly don't care who first thought of putting milk in tea but I'm glad they did. Please stop arguing over such semantics, it's TEA we are talking about here!
If I make a pot, then the milk goes in the mug (yes, mug!) first but if I'm just making the one then I put the milk in last, to get a nice strong dark orange colour.
Live long, enjoyable lives wherever you are
Nothing beats a good cuppa!!!
The reason is that a large proprtion of our water is recirculated, in other words, has been drank by countless other people, so chemicals are added in order to purify it, well, make it semi-drinkable after your next door neighbour has unrinated and then it has been cleaned and given back to you to drink again. If you bought a bottle of water that was green, would you drink it or take it back and demand a refund? I have a water filter plumbed in to take all the crap out of England's water and when I fill my bath here, it is colourless. If I go to someone's house, I can smell the chemicals in their water.
Its a real shame, coz when our water was under government control before privatization, it just had flouride in it.
I am in the process of moving abroad to Central America. The water in the Panama City is so pure that it comes directly from the river that feeds the Panama Canal. Outside the city, water is pumped from underground water tables. A small amount of flouride is added and that is the only chemical. When you wash in it, your skin feels as though you have added moisterizer, when you wash your hair in it, it feels as though you have added conditioner. When you fill the bath up, guess what, it's colourless, not green.
The UK maybe the forth largest ecconomy, but that doesn't mean the services are the best. Water is NOT the best in the world. Ask people who are wealthy or in well paid jobs and I bet they and many others have water filters.
So, filter the water, then you will taste real tea and not tea with additional chemicals.
One again MSN trying to teach a grandmother to suck eggs (appologies to any grannies out there)
. Balijeet is correct but MSN never do their homework anyway.
Can't agree with your blend though Balijeet much prefer Yofkshire tea by Taylors of Harrogate, blasting cuppa :o))
Oh yes and its about time MSN let us post about things that really matter, but lets face it that would be giving the general public a forum to say what they really think