For as long as I have been drinking tea, I have been told that the English made a superior cup of tea.
What most people failed to tell me, though, was why this is or how such a cuppa was made.
So, I started my own little investigation on how to make British tea. I discovered that there is a lot more to a “proper” brew than I imagined.
On this note, here is what I learned about making a traditional cup of English tea.
The first thing I realized was that the term “proper” was rather subjective. There is a fair amount of variation in how people brew their teas.
The exact mechanism of making tea can differ between regions, social classes, and personal preferences.
Nonetheless, there are some common threads you can mimic if you wish to be as authentic as possible.
Taking A Closer Look: Types of British Tea
Before you learn how to make tea the British way, you first have to know what ingredients are used.
There is also the matter of which brand of tea can be considered quintessentially English. Here, the votes appear to be split.
Twinings has currently captured the top spot. Nevertheless, cheaper brands such as PG Tips, Yorkshire, and Tetley are still holding steady.
It should also be noted that loose tea isn’t used as often. Most people turn to tea bags for convenience.
Battle of the Brits: English Breakfast Tea vs. Earl Grey Tea
Brits will use fresh water every time they want to brew a cuppa.
Unlike what tradition dictates, most English people boil the water for their tea. They will often take it off the heat when it just begins to boil.
They like to add a splash of fresh milk to their tea.
They don’t use cream, but rather rely on a lower-fat version.
Some believe that you should add the milk first, then water. Others always add milk after the water.
There isn’t a proper way to do it – rather the precise steps will depend on your personal taste.
Most Brits would tell you that “milk and no sugar” is the most authentic way to drink a cuppa.
Once again, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Many people add one or two sugars to their tea.
Thus, you are under no obligation to drink it unsweetened, if you don’t like the taste.
Social status does come into play with the whole sugar debate.
Typically, people in the higher echelons of society don’t add any sugar to their tea. On the other, the working class likes to make a sweeter cup of tea.
Now, let’s learn how to make a British cup of tea.
Heat the water until it begins to boil. Once you notice the bubbles beginning to appear, take the water off the heat.
Place the teabag in the mug and pour the water in. If you are using loose tea leaves, place the leaves in a tea ball strainer or basket infuser and place in the mug.
For the best results, follow the instructions provided by each brand. Otherwise, leave the bag in for 2 to 3 minutes.
Once the tea has steeped for a sufficient period, remove the tea bag or the leaves. To prevent any bitterness, avoid squeezing the bag against your spoon before tossing it away.
You can add milk at this point. If you are adding sugar, now’s the time to do it. Once you have added your desired ingredients, stir well.
You shouldn’t let the tea cool down too much. Make sure to finish the drink before it gets too cold.
In the event that this does happen, don’t attempt to reheat the drink. Instead, start from scratch and brew yourself another cuppa.
Now you know how to make a British cup of tea! So, what do you think? Have all your questions been answered? Or, do you have a different way of doing things?