The best way to make tea has been a subject of great debate for centuries.
1. Always use fresh water if possible. Spring water is best due to its purity and lack of additives such as chlorine and fluoride which can affect the taste. If you use tap water then run the tap until the water is cold and fresh.
Good quality water is essential for the perfect cup of tea.
2. Preferably use a teapot made of china or earthenware.
Pots made of certain types of metal such as enamel silver or copper can impart flavor to the water. Stainless steel is okay.
3. Warm the pot beforehand with a little hot water.
4. Add at least one level teaspoon for each cup of water that you are going to add. Adding loose tea to the pot is the best way for the tea to infuse properly but many people prefer to use a tea strainer or infusing basket for convenience sake.
5. Pour boiling water directly onto the leaves and then stir the water before placing lid back on the teapot.
6. Let the tea steep for between four and five minutes. If using green tea three minutes is best.
7. Remove or strain the leaves to avoid overbrewing.
8. The cup that you drink out of can greatly affect the taste of the tea so choose wisely. A good quality cup made of china will definitely enhance the whole tea drinking experience. Avoid wide shallow cups which cause the tea to cool in next to no time.
9. Pour milk into the cup first. Ah, yes this is the step that causes most controversy. Many an argument has been had concerning whether or not it is best to add the milk to the tea or vice versa. I have always preferred milk first then tea but my husband argues that it is easier to regulate the right amount of milk by adding milk afterwards!
Now scientists have waded into the debate and the verdict is clear. The UK Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)has warned against the practice of adding milk to tea after it is poured. It seems that dribbling a stream of milk into hot water makes “denaturation of milk proteins” more likely.
And who would want that?! At high temperatures, milk proteins – which are normally all curled up foetus-like, begin to unfold and link together in clumps. This is what happens in UHT [ultra heat-treated] milk, and is why it doesn’t taste as good a fresh milk,” says Dr Andrew Stapley, a chemical engineer at Loughborough University.
It is better to have the chilled milk massed at the bottom of the cup, awaiting the stream of hot tea. This allows the milk to cool the tea, rather than the tea ruinously raise the temperature of the milk.
So it is now settled. The milk or tea first debate is now over! Umm, somehow I don’t think so!!
10. Lastly, drink tea without any sugar. I must admit to being a reformed sugary tea drinker and you know what that means. Yes, I am now passionately against putting sugar in tea. As one who has sat on both sides of the fence I can say that tea is so much better without sweetening. Sugar only serves to mask the taste of the tea. Not only that too much sugar is not good for you and why spoil what is now being recognized as one of the world’s great health drinks by adding sugar. When I stopped taking my two spoonfuls of sugar in my tea it took me about three or four weeks to get used to the new taste. However once I got used to it there was no going back.