/ Home & Energy

Your view: 50 shades of tea

This week you shared your tips for making the perfect cuppa. While it’s one of the world’s oldest drinks, we still haven’t mastered a technique for us all. Everyone’s got their way, so here’s how you make your brew.

When it comes to tea, I have minimal style. I’m a PG Tips man who splashes in gallons of milk and adds two sugars.

While that may sound disgusting to some, I think I agreed with Sophie G who said:

‘Milk before tea or tea before milk? This is a similar question to the one Captain Haddock asks himself in one of the Tintin books: sleep with the beard over or under the blanket? There is one right answer per person.’

There’s no tea without water

But it seems water has a big part to play in the perfect cuppa. As Wavechange said:

‘Please spare a thought for those who have very hard water, which is not very good for tea. Coffee is less affected and the smell of ground coffee is wonderful.’

Beryl acknowledged the issue of hard water and advised:

‘I too have very hard water, but invested in a Brita Water Filter Jug. That, together with a decent brew of Yorkshire Gold in a teapot, makes a perfect cuppa.’

But maybe it’s the otherside of the world that holds the key, as Alan J said from Facebook:

‘I get Yorkshire tea here in Oz, makes a canny cuppa’

After you

But what goes in first: water, milk, or the teabag? Milk gets Renniemac’s vote:

‘I pour the milk in the cup, I know! They say the milk curdles if put in first, but maybe unknowingly I like curdled milk as I prefer this method. Then sit back to enjoy my beautiful cuppa. Mm mm.’

And Beryl seems to agree:

‘I understand it is considered socially correct by connoisseurs to pour the tea first before adding the milk but found my teacups became badly stained and were difficult to clean so now put the milk in first.’

We’ve come along way together

Malcom R  reminisced how it was done when he was young:

‘When I worked on the railways for six months after leaving school, tea was made in an enamel can – you just put sweetened condensed milk and tea leaves in it at home and then added hot water when you had your snap (food) at breaktime. Not a perfect cup of tea but drinkable.’

But it was John Ward who posted my favourite comment (and was awarded comment of the week) after spotting the ‘prefect’ ‘perfect’ typo:

‘I did serve two years as a prefect but no one ever made me a cup of tea – and I probably would have poured it down the sink if they done so [out of suspicion of an evil intent].’

This Convo made me think of the best cup of tea I’ve ever had and I started to think perhaps the situation is the key ingredient. What do you think – can you remember the best cuppa you’ve ever had? Do you have any more tips to share?

25 October 2014

I am a brown toothed fossil from drinking too much tea. Here is what I have learned.Water filter essential in hard water areas for a decent cuppa. Milk in afterwards-allow the tea to brew before you add milk-you taste the tea, not tea-flavored milk. I like the extra strong teabags some of our supermarkets offer…they taste like proper Indian tea.
Use a light mug- these heavy potties they serve in some cafes are rude. And I do NOT want to drink my tea out of a chamber pot!
Oh..and the best cup of tea? Every day when I walk in the door from work..

The key ingredient, discounting taste, surely has to be caffeine. According to a recent BBC Health Report “caffeine makes you feel bright and alert, gives you a wake up boost when feeling tired, drowsy or bored.” A cup of tea contains about 50mg of caffeine and there are between 75-200mg in a cup of coffee.

Classed as a legal drug caffeine, like all drugs, has its downside. “Too much can give you the shakes, makes you anxious. headachy, sleepless and might upset your stomach and takes 2 hrs for the effect to wear off and regular and frequent use can build up tolerance so you become less sensitive to the effects of it and require more and more to get the same effect.”

As a stimulant, caffeine raises blood pressure so it is not a good idea to overdose if you have high BP or heart disease. Fortunately I suffer from neither of these but the good news is there is always decaffeinated which I prefer out of a need to avoid headaches and enjoy a good nights sleep.

On the rare occasions I can’t sleep I get up and make a cup of instant coffee. Sometimes I have a bit of cheese too. I could not be bothered to make tea or proper coffee, and I always do get to sleep promptly.

Simon says:
18 May 2015

Well, perhaps I can clear up the original milk of tea first discussion.
Milk always went first. Why? Simples! ea was originally the drink of the rich. Boiling water tended o be used mainly by the rich, as the poor found fuel to boil water an expensive option. Water was polluted, so working classes drank beer, a far safer option with less risk to health. Next Bone china cost a fortune, and so did tea originally. The rich drank from bone china. Poor boiling water into bone china was very risky as it could suffer from impurities causing ‘shock’ cracking, destroying a very valuable cup. SO to ensure against china shock, tea was poured onto milk! Hope this was fun to read, and educational too 🙂

Kristin Warry says:
20 May 2018

Actually it was snobbery – pouring tea straight into bone china without it cracking meant you could afford the highest quality bone china, and so didnt fear ruining it with cold shock. Putting the milk in first but still into bone china was more for the emerging merchant or middle class. As you say, the lower classes couldnt afford tea anyway most of the time, so it didnt matter!

Great tips! I think that two most important things for good tea are good water and excellent tea. My standard breakfast choice is something with bergamot and water shoudn’t be boiling. Just wait 1-2 mins and then it will be ready for your tea.