/ Food & Drink

How do you brew the perfect cup of tea?

There’s nothing like a good cup of tea, but what makes the perfect cuppa? Is the teapot a must or is your favourite brew made best in a mug? And would you let a machine make it for you?

With 98% of tea bought as tea bags, I’m with the minority when I get the teapot out for guests.

Apart from making it a bit of a special occasion, I find it’s easier to let people decide for themselves how long to let the tea brew, and whether they want the milk in the cup first, added afterwards or not at all.

Looking for a good tea? Read our taste test results to find the best and worst teas.

Going to infini-tea and beyond

In our recent taste test of 36 English Breakfast and Earl Grey top-notch teabags, we were able to use the professional tea tasting facilities at tea brokers Reginald Ames Ltd.

Our experts added exactly the same amount of boiling water to each tea using special lidded mugs and allowed them to brew for the same length of time. After three minutes, as soon as the timer sounded, the tea was poured into the tasting bowls – tasted both without milk, and also with the exact same amount of milk.

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Is it tea you’re looking for?

However, I have to say that I’m definitely a lot more slapdash in real life and I don’t always have the patience or time to let my Rosie Lee brew.

There’s an interesting development in tea world – you can now buy tea pods and capsules to use in coffee makers. Since they’ll brew a tea in just 30 seconds, I’m very tempted. Not only is it speedy, but it’s not really my fault if the tea disappoints.

We asked our expert panel to rate these machine-made teas – one or two of the pods weren’t too bad, though all of them were marked down for producing thin and watery tea.

Your region’s personali-tea

A cup of tea that doesn’t hit the spot because it’s too weak, too milky, or is strong enough to bend the spoon is always disappointing. But what makes a good cuppa?

When we asked Which? members for their favourite brand of tea we got different answers from different parts of the country. Northerners seem to prefer Yorkshire tea (19%) with Twinings in a close second (14%). While Southerners prefer to relax with a Twinings (16%) and put Yorkshire in second place (13%).

So here are a few questions for you to mull over while you sit down for a nice cuppa. What’s your favourite tea? How do you like to make it? And would you let a machine do the work for you?


I just don’t use teabags and there is nothing like loose leaf tea. I mix two… Assam and Earl Grey and that’s just how I like it. Not everyone is sold on tea bags.


We use Ringtons tea, delivered to the door. They do a very good decaffeinated version as well. Must be made in a teapot and drunk from bone china mugs.