Britain lays down the law and tells the world how properly make a cuppa 103



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If there’s one thing the Brits know about, it’s how to brew a good cuppa. In fact, tea is such an ingrained part of their culture the British Standards Institute felt compelled to write an extremely detailed manual on how to brew the perfect cup of tea, ensuring citizens of the world would never have to suffer from a bad cup again. Phew!

The six page document (yes you read that right – six pages on how to make a cuppa!) covers everything from tea-to-water ratio, to the size of the cup. Since we assume you don’t have time sit down and read through tea-riffically detailed manual, we’ve broken down the main points for you.

The first thing to think about is your cup. You should be using a white porcelain or glazed earthenware tea pot, preferably between 74 mm and 78 mm wide. Apparently making it in a mug, like most of us do, is some kind of tea-drinker’s sacrilege!

Second, you want to make sure you’ve got the correct tea-to-water ratio. The manual states you should use 2 grams of tea for every 100 ml litres of water. Better pull out the kitchen scales.

Third, the water should be heated at precisely 85°C for brewing and should be no cooler than 60°C when serving.

Fourth, black tea must be steeped for six minutes. No more, no less – they’re very serious about that. The manual says six minutes is the perfect amount of time for the flavours to be extracted from the tea leaves.

And lastly, add milk first. We’re a bit dubious about this one, but the British apparently swear by this rule. It has to do with denaturing the milk proteins to create the ultimate flavour and balance.

So now you know how to make the perfect cup of tea – even one fit for the Queen. Spit spot, cheerio and away you go!

Would you try these instructions for the perfect cuppa? Do you have your own tips for making the perfect brew?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I don’t drink Tea but if people haven’t got the hang on how to make it by this, then they had better drink coffee 🙂

    4 REPLY
    • Coffee is too strong for me in the early morn Libby. But a good cup coffee is the best during the later morn. Say 8.30. Coffee runs in my husbands veins not blood. He is on his 2nd for the morn. Cheers to you on Australia Day.

    • I know some love it Merran, it is just I don’t but shouldn’t people know how to make it already if they drink it? Happy Australia Day sweetie xox

  2. Oh, I would follow this and any other tip. I so love my morning cup of tea – and no tea bag thank you. If the morn tea is not right – then the day is not right. Sad isn’t it!! There are lil containers that fit nicely into a cup where the tea leaves can brew – we leave it in for about 4 min and put the milk in last – oops. I will make sure I do exactly what is said and see if it is even better.

    3 REPLY
  3. I usually dunk a tea bag in a mug for a few seconds as I like my tea weak and black, but when I do make it in a pot I am very fussy and have my own rituals.

    1 REPLY
  4. Coffee for me. I certainly would not go through that rigmarole for tea, need scales and a thermometer. I’d die of thirst or frustration while waiting

  5. Who would be bothered with all that Rubbish , I drink hot Milo or coffee, Happy Australia Day

    1 REPLY
  6. And ALWAYS warm the pot first -hot water in then tip it out before adding tea leaves. YES tea leaves not bags!!

  7. Do I have my own tips for making the perfect brew? Yes.

    3 REPLY
    • I was asked a closed question so I gave a closed answer.

      Both grandfathers liked stewed tea so I grew up having my cuppa in an enamel mug. Yes it was strong enough to stand a spoon in.

      However, depending on how I feel at the time I will fiddle with water temperatures and steeping.

      In a comment on this page on the 24th Nov I went into details on “correct” proceedures for green, black, white and oolong teas. We appear to go around in circles on some topics. Cheers. BM

  8. Well I do make tea this way but I have one last added to guarantee it’s the best cuppa before you pour turn the pot clockwise three times then pour through strainer. If your going to drink tea it has to be strong hot and milky. But please never give it to me before I’ve had my coffee in the morning otherwise it’s vile

  9. I am particular about my tea, I even go as far as using loose leaf tea when the mood takes me. In this case the pot is important, it must pour well and go in the microwave, because thats where I boil my water. So the teapot is heated and the water is boiling. Love a good cuppa!

    3 REPLY
    • What a good idea Philomena, never thought of using the microwave to boil the water IN the teapot to ensure the warm pot !

    • Sandra Naden, water boiled in a microwave takes the air out & leaves the drink (tea, coffee etc) tasting flat. A bit like drinking flat beer or soft drink. Flavour still there but sooo wrong.

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