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Guide to a perfect cup of British Tea!

16 June 2016


Britain is famous for many things – the Queen, Sherlock Holmes, pubs, but nothing compares to the stereotype of Brits and their tea. Afternoon tea is a huge part of English culture, with 165 million cups of tea consumed daily!

With this in mind, why not practice making a perfect cup of British Tea using our handy guide before you arrive in the UK?

1. Pick your tea. This is by far the most important step to making perfect British tea. Earl Grey is one tried and true classic, but many locals also drink what's just called "black tea," or occasionally "breakfast tea" or "British tea". Some of the go-to British brands include PG Tips, Tetley's, and Yorkshire Tea. Be aware that English tea is often stronger than ones made in America or other countries, so look for an imported brand if you are located outside Britain but want real British strength.

2. Boil the water. You want the water to be at least 200ºF or 93ºC.

3. Place your teabag in a mug and pour boiling water over it.

4. Wait! The tea needs time to develop its flavour. This is called brewing, steeping or drawing. Researchers at UCL have determined that tea must be allowed to steep for up to five minutes, in order to reach optimum temperature and taste, so be patient!


5. Remove the teabag. Never squeeze the tea bag; simply remove and throw away. Squeezing it will release a bitter taste into your tea.

6. Add milk and sugar to taste. To achieve the classic taste, use fully sterilised milk. Scientists at UCL suggest that tea is best consumed at around 65ºC or 149ºF. It will be this perfect temperature after another 3 to 5 minutes with milk added. It is important that milk is added only after the tea has been allowed time to brew, as cold milk will lower the temperature and will not let all of the tea flavour to emerge.

7. Drink. Now, grab some scones, crumpets or biscuits and enjoy your tea!

For more food science, check out this video by UCL on making perfect pancakes! 

By Natalia Mladentseva

Adapted from wikiHow.com.

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