Guest Post: How to Make the Perfect Cup of English Tea by Zara Lewis
If there is one thing that the English are very proud of, it’s their tea. The iconic cup of milky
liquid is so dear to so many people, that it’s no wonder everyone has developed their own
way of preparing it. But with so many different ways to prepare a cup, what is the original? Is
your family recipe really the best way to prepare it, and is there a way to make your daily cup
better than before? Let’s take a look at the tradition and science behind a perfect cup of
Step 1: Get everything ready
Making tea is a quick process, which is why it’s one that requires a bit of preparation. The first
step to making good tea is to have everything out and ready before you start. This will prevent
you from oversteeping your tea while you’re looking for the cups or the strainer. It will also
help you not to miss the perfect temperature of the water, which is, according to some, the
crucial part of making tea.
Step 2: Boil the water and prepare the leaves
Put a kettle on with some water and leave it to boil. Remember that you need a precise
amount of water in the pot, so if you don’t think you can eyeball it while you’re pouring,
measure the amount of water before you put it in the kettle. Remember to never re-boil water,
because you will lose a lot of oxygen, and your tea will taste metallic. While the water boils,
you can prepare the leaves. Back in the day, you would put the leaves directly into the pot
and strain them later, but placing them in a tea bag or a strainer will make the clean-up
process much easier. Since the only proper way is to use loose-leaf teas, you will want to use
a large tea bag or strainer so that the leaves have enough space to move around and release
all of the flavor. When it comes to the amount of tea, put in one teaspoon per cup, plus
another teaspoon “for the pot”.
Step 3: Steeping
Once your water is boiling, you want to pour it into the teapot (fill the pot with hot water,
splash it around, and then dump it out before pouring in the water for the tea, to temper the
pot). And this is where most people make a mistake: they put the tea in right away. Water
boils at a 100 degrees, but when you are making tea, you want to have the water at 90
degrees for black tea and around 70 degrees for green tea. And you want to make sure you
are using the correct teapot for the job, because the wrong material will cool down your tea
too fast or alter the flavor. Use proper English sets like the beautiful Wedgwood china sets to
serve the perfect cup. When the water reaches the right temperature and you put the leaves
in, you want to be careful of the steeping time, since oversteeping your tea will cause it to
taste bitter. Different brands have different steeping times (most commonly between two and
six minutes), so make sure you look at the package and follow the instructions.
Step 4: Serving
Tea purists, prepare to be offended. According to the British Standards Institution, the milk is
to be added into the cup first! This is not the way most people prepare tea, since it’s all too
easy to overfill the cup with milk if you don’t have a reference for the amount of tea. So once
you add your splash of milk, pour in the tea and add a desired number or sugar cubes, or
teaspoons of sugar. If you have the proper cups, your tea will stay at an optimal temperature
for long enough to be enjoyed throughout a conversation. Make sure you are serving the tea
with something on the side like teacakes, finger sandwiches or macarons.
Enjoy the tea with all of your senses. Focus on the temperature of it, how it hits the different
flavor palate spots in your mouth, the smell and even the moods that a nice cup of tea brings.
It is the perfect addition to any conversation or gathering, and a tradition that doesn’t show
any signs of ending.
About the Author:
About the Author:
"Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at Ripped.me, a traveller and a mother to two. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she enjoys sharing her knowledge, experience (and recipes) with others."