For the vast majority of Brits, a hot cup of tea is part of our daily ritual. We wipe the sleep from our eyes and pop the kettle on before we’ve even had a chance to wake properly. But it turns out most of us have been making it wrong all this time.
We love tea so much we’ve even built an entire industry that dedicates an afternoon to drinking the stuff.
There’s nothing Brits know how to do more than make a decent brew… or so we thought!
It turns out that using boiling water fresh from the kettle to make our cuppas could actually be totally ruining them. Oops!
In fact, the optimum temperature for making the perfect cup of tea is 80 degrees, who knew?
According to professional food and drink taster, Martin Isark, we need to be less hasty when it comes to pouring our hot water onto our bags or leaves.
“It’s time to debunk the myth that you should use boiling water,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Having the water too hot will kill the desirable nuances of tea and all you are left with is a strong flavour of dry, astringent tannins.
“Overboiling your water and dunking teabags too long leaves tea tasting no better than cabbage water.”
Once upon a time we needed to boil the heck out of our water to kill any bacteria, but now we have clean, safe drinking water there’s really no need.
To make sure you’re not scalding your precious tea to a cabbage-water-tasting state, add some cold water to the cup beforehand and pour over the boiling water. For the best ratio, make sure that approximately 20 percent is cold water, and the remaining 80 percent is boiling. Sorted!
A recent Channel 5 show: ‘Yorkshire Tea Vs PG Tips: Battle of the Brews’, shows Jane Pettigrew; a previous winner of Tea Personality of the Year Award explain how to make the perfect cuppa, confirming Martin Isark’s claims.
How to make the perfect cup of tea
- Start with freshly drawn, filtered cold water. Filtered water eliminates all of the hidden things in tap water, such as calcium and limescale, these will make the tea cloudy, and impede on the natural flavour.
- Bring to near boiling – never boiling. No exact temperature was given, but we can assume she also means around 80 degrees.
- Allow to steep for 2-3 minutes. Be patient and don’t rush it. Don’t squeeze the bags – this releases tannins, which will make the tea bitter.
- Always add milk (and sugar, if desired) after the teabag has been removed. Adding the milk at any other stage will change the temperature and affect the way the tea brews. Pettigrew also advises to stay clear of skimmed milk, opting for semi skimmed or whole.