5 Steps for the Perfect Cup of Tea

by Paul McTaggart

How do you like your tea?

It's something we're very particular about, and no wonder. Whether it's catching up with a friend, enjoying break time at work or settling down on the sofa after dinner, a cup of tea can be the boon that gets you through the day. Everyday in houses, cafes, offices and building sites across the country, people come together and share their joys and challenges over a cuppa. 32 billion cups of tea are consumed in the UK every year, but what we know all too well that everyone likes tea differently. Below we've put together a list of 5 steps to help you make the perfect cuppa.

1. The Tea Bag

The first choice to make is the type of tea you want. Beyond the basic black tea, green tea has become extremely popular in recent years for it's antioxidant properties. White tea, oolong tea and puer tea make up the other main categories of tea. Before you can complete the rest of the steps, you've got to decide which kind of tea you want!

2. The Water

Be honest, how many of you think about the quality of the water when pouring your tea? If you live in an area where limescale is a problem in your tap water supply, you've probably noticed the impact this has on your cup of tea. We know from the experience of our customers that our alkaline water filter can greatly enhance the taste of your tea due to the number of times it is mentioned in reviews!

Water which contains heavy metals and chlorine can also affect the taste of your tea because simply boiling the water is not enough to remove these contaminants from the water. Make sure you get the main ingredient of your cuppa right and you'll be sorted!

3. The Temperature

Believe it or not, just flicking the kettle on and pouring once it's boiled may not be giving you the best quality taste from your tea. While there is conflicting information on the 'perfect' temperature, scolding your tea can decrease the taste quality. Michelin star chefs, including Heston Blumenthal, advocate specific temperatures for particular brews. These include 80C for herbal and green teas and 85C for black tea. It might be worth considering flicking off the kettle just before boiling point or investing in a little thermometer in order to ensure the perfect brewing temperature.

4. The Order

While this may not be an issue for many forms, the order that we add each ingredient in is a source of heated debate in the tea drinking populace. Particularly for black tea drinkers in the UK, it is contested whether the milk should go in before the water or vice versa. Of course, proper tea experts will debate whether milk should even be allowed however it remains the most popular additive to black tea in this country.

Doesn't adding the milk before the water make it much harder to judge how much milk you need? And then make the whole finished product get cold much too quickly?

However, science suggests that putting the milk in after the water causes the milk that unevenly, meaning that the proteins will denature and lose their structure. This is one step that we'll have leave up to subjectivity, although we are inclined to agree with popular opinion that water must go first!

5. Brewing Time

You've taken all the steps to make your perfect cuppa but haven't taken the bag out yet! Again, this is something which is contingent on the type of tea your having. Most high-end loose leaf teas can be brewed up to 3 times. There is a Chinese proverb used to describe the brewing process for oolong tea which goes as follows: 'The first brew is for your enemy, the second for the servant, the third for your wife, fourth for your mistress, the fifth for your business partner and the last you keep for yourself.” Henrietta Lovell, proprietor of the Rare Tea Company suggests that if you want it stronger, you should add more tea not more brewing time.

Tea Type Brewing Time
Green Tea 3 minutes
White Tea 1-3 minutes
Black Tea 3-5 minutes
Puer Tea 3-5 minutes
Oolong Tea 3-5 minutes

There you have it, our 5 step guide to make the perfect cup of tea!