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The UK is a nation of die-hard tea lovers, but many of us aren’t making it correctly, according to experts. Family-owned tea and coffee company Ringtons shared their seven top tips for a perfect cuppa.
Tea fanatics take note, as there’s a lot more to making the perfect brew than what you might think.
Ringtons’ professional tea taster Jake McMullon shared his top techniques for brewing a classic black tea.
In order to make the perfect cuppa, the choice of mug is absolutely essential, according to the expert.
He stated: “Choosing the right type of mug to conduct heat and retain it effectively, whilst not affecting the taste is a key part of making a tasty cup of tea.
“Glass, china and porcelain are all smooth, non-porous and won’t affect the flavour of your brew.
“Thicker mugs will retain the heat for longer whereas thinner, more delicate cups will lose heat faster.
“Warming your mug to roughly the same temperature as the tea before using it will help your infusion along.”
Next, the expert emphasised the importance of freshness, as “fresh equals flavourful”.
“Always use freshly boiled water for your tea and if you’re really serious about your brew, use a water filter to eliminate any flavour impairers within the water,” he explained.
“Hard water contains a higher mineral content and can result in a darker, denser tea, whereas soft water makes a more desirable flavour.
“Over-boiling your water can result in oxygen levels being reduced which results in a blander tasting tea.”
Jake also recommended that tea drinks warm their mugs to around the same temperature as the brewing water, to “help your infusion develop and bring out the flavours of the tea leaves”.
For those using a temperature-controlled kettle, the optimum temperature for brewing black tea is ideally between 95-98 degrees celsius.
Next, the expert answered the age-old question, “How long should you leave your tea bag to brew?”.
Depending on how strong you like your cuppa, Jake suggested going for around four minutes, while more delicate green tea only needs around two minutes at a lower temperature.
For maximum flavour, cover the tea while it’s brewing and make sure to stir it occasionally.
The expert gave his verdict on whether the type of milk affects tea taste. Jake said: “The percentage of natural fat in the milk used will affect the taste and texture of your typical cuppa.
“Both whole-fat and semi-skimmed milk will add a creamy note to your tea, making it smooth and rich.
“You may find that skimmed and low-fat offerings are too watery and don’t give you the same silky-smooth texture. They’re also unlikely to balance out any bitterness in the tannins.
“Black tea is typically stronger and bolder in flavour than its paler cousins and it stands up well to milk and sweeteners, making it the ideal choice for your morning cuppa.
“If you’re using non-dairy alternatives such as soya milk, you may find that it splits in hot tea. Warming the milk beforehand will help to combat this.”
As for when to add milk, Jake suggested that the magic formula is to “add your tea first, brew to your taste, then add the milk after”.
This is because when you add cold milk to the mug first, the temperature of the boiled water lowers slightly and the tea won’t brew as effectively.
Finally, tea lovers should take their time to enjoy their tea, refraining from gulping it down straightaway – but why?
Obviously, tea drinkers do not want their mouth to be scalded by their favourite beverage, but there’s more to it than that.
“Allowing your tea to sit before drinking it not only lets it come to a drinkable temperature, but some of the more subtle flavours will come to the fore at a slightly cooler temperature.”
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