7 simple steps to create the perfect cuppa!
In crisis or excitement, the British have an uncanny lack of finding the answer to all known ills in the kitchen. The kettle, the pot that boils the water, is an appliance that first graced our caves and homes in pre-historic times, works overtime to ensure that we remain hydrated with tea.
From discussing the latest gossip, to finding the answers to the most recent crises to strike, a cup of tea can soothe as much as it can celebrate.
Making the perfect cup of tea, however, is one that varies from culture to culture. Here in the UK, Yorkshire folk think they have the edge but no matter where you are, the perfectly brewed cuppa can save the day.
Step 1: Put the kettle on
Making tea is a skill and an art form and yet, so many people still get it wrong. Posh restauranteurs will have is believe that a perfectly made cup of involved tea water that has cooled slightly from boiling.
Other people say balderdash to this! Tea should be made with boiling water that has had a good boil in a suitably clean receptacle, whether that is an open pan, water boiler or electric kettle. No one, in a times crises or a flush excitement, wants to drink lukewarm tea.
Step 2: The water
It needs to be clean, preferably filtered. It is that simple.
Step 3: Choose your tea
Many people opt for ‘ordinary’ tea, the leaves that are picked from the tea bush, Camellia sinensis. It is a flowering every green shrub or tree and commonly picked to make the tea we know and love.
Up until recent modern times, the tea was loose leaf and thus you needed teapot and strainer but, the tea bag revolutionise how tea is made in every home across the planet.
Is one better than the other? Some say they can taste a difference, others not. Experiment and see which you prefer.
Step 4 – Choose your receptacle – a teapot or not?
Step 3 brings us nicely to step 4 which is the age-old discussion of whether tea should be made in a pot each and every time, or whether a bag in a mug will suffice.
Using a teapot does make a better tasting tea, some would say, but there are certain etiquettes to follow;
- ALWAYS preheat the teapot, ceramic or metal, before placing tea in it and hot water on top
- STIR and leave for at least 4 minutes – there are all kinds of superstitions about tea and teapots, suffice to say stir with a spoon and never a knife, or you will be inviting trouble and strife.
You will come to several technical terms when it comes to making the perfect cup of tea with many of them being used interchangeably.
Brewing and steeping are part and parcel of the same process; the idea of adding hot water on to tea is about infusing the water with the taste of the tea leaves.
Unfortunately, if your tea is stewed, it means that this delicate process has been allowed to go too far and thus, your tea will taste bitter and overpowering.
Step 6 - China cup or mug
At one time, the only way to serve tea was in a delicate china cup, with an accompanying saucer that made for a delicious interlude in the afternoon. And then along came the mug and it all changed.
Once the reserve of builders and other artisans, most people now make and take their tea in a mug, reserving the cup and saucer for special occasions. But the choice is entirely yours!
Step 7 - Milk before or after pouring?
Some say that the milk should be in the cup before you add the tea – in fact, there are various scientific studies and tea-making experiments that suggest this is the best way to make a cup of delicious tea.
However, other people say differently and that the only way to get the right blend of deliciousness and colour is to add milk after.
Adding milk, before or after, is a British thing with many nations across the globe preferring to take their tea black, and with a slice of lemon. The more delicate tea flavour of the tea, the more it takes on the delight of the citrus taste.