The English are often portrayed as obsessed with tea drinking – and with good reason. It’s a huge part of English and British culture, both historically and today. This article will show you how to make and enjoy tea the way millions of English (and Scottish, Welsh and Irish folks) do it every day. Impress your British friends with a proper “cuppa”!
1Pick your tea. This is by far the most important step to making perfect British tea. Ideally, go to a tea store and buy a good quality brand of tea. British tea is made with black tea leaves, so look for that when buying your tea. Earl Grey is one tried and true classic, but many English people 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.
- If you want to buy tea leaves, rather than bags, that works, too; you’ll need either a teapot or an infuser (for use with a cup). Most English people don’t bother with the added hassle of loose leaf tea, but some swear by it.
- 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.
2Boil the water. Use freshly drawn water – using the old water in the kettle can result in scaly, scummy tea. You can boil in an electric kettle, a stovetop kettle, or even a pot if needed. Microwaving the water isn’t recommended, but is also doable.
- If you have a temperature controlled kettle, you want the water to be at least 200 degrees(F) or 93 degrees(C).
3Get your tea or tea bags ready in the pot or mugs. While the water is boiling, prepare your receptacle.
- If you’re using mugs, put a teabag in each mug. Very few people use cups and saucers at home. Big mugs (beakers) are usual, for an everyday cup of tea.
- If you want to make tea in a teapot, warm the teapot with hot water first (fill it, and then drunk it out), and then add one teabag per person. This ensures that your tea will stay hot longer.
- If you’re making tea with loose-leaf tea in a pot, add 1 teaspoonful of tea per cup, plus one extra teaspoonful for the pot. Generally speaking, 3 teaspoonfuls of good quality tea in a two-cup teapot works fine. Some people say 3 grams of loose tea per person makes the perfect cup of tea.
4Pour boiling water over the teabag, and stir briefly. It is essential that the water is boiling, in order to release all the flavour of the tea. Don’t settle for warm or even plain hot tea; make sure it’s boiling.
5Wait! The tea needs time to develop its flavour. This is called brewing, steeping or drawing. Let stand for a minute or two for a cup of tea, or 3 to 5 minutes for a pot.
6Remove the teabag. It can be added to your garden compost bin.
- Never squeeze the tea bag; simply remove and throw away. Squeezing it will release a bitter taste into your tea.
7Add milk and sugar to taste. Depending on which way you brew the tea, the milk is important. Most people opt for semi-skimmed (low-fat) pasteurised milk these days; however, to achieve the classic taste, use fully sterilised milk.
- Look for the right colour. The perfect cup of tea will have a dark orange-brown look once the milk has been added and stirred. It will be the perfect temperature to drink after 3 to 5 minutes.
88.Enjoy your tea!