Today’s home schooling for my 8 year old was learning the important life skill – how to make a great cup of tea. We googled many different sites on how to make British tea and this is what we learnt…

How to make the perfect Cuppa

1. Water – run the water a little so it is nicely aerated before filling your empty kettle (no stale – multi boiled water here please). Oxygen is important in helping the tea releases its flavour.

2. Choose whether you are taking the mug or teapot route.

3. In either case it is good to pre-warm the vessel by allowing it to sit briefly with the plain just boiled water, before adding the  bag/s (One tea bag per mug or mini teapot, 2 for a regular teapot (though some say one per person plus one for the pot)– or 1 teaspoon of loose tea per person which many say offers the best taste) and pouring over the hot water and stirring a bit. (see point 7 for the matter of whether your mug already has milk in or not…)

4. Which tea is best – this is a matter of personal preference. The Queen we are told drinks Earl Grey. For a truly British cup of tea it should be black tea, the dried and fermented leaves of Cameliia sinesis. Blends of black tea include Assam, Darjeeling and Ceylon from India (the first imports of tea came in the 18th century via the East India Company) or Lapsang Souchong or Yunnan. Each brings its own qualities, some lighter and better for afternoon tea, and some richer and earthier and better for breakfast tea.

5. Now the tricky bit – wait – for the tea to unlock its flavour it needs time to brew. Maybe even up to a very maximum of 4 minutes, but be careful it doesn’t over stew.

6. Give your teabag a quick squeeze before removing if making in the mug

7. Then add the things that make it perfect for you; a splash of semi skimmed, a dollop of full fat milk, barely a drop of soy milk, sugar, honey, lemon or nothing at all! The eternal question rages over milk before tea or tea before milk. It was originally milk before tea when tea was served from the teapot into delicate bone china – to prevent the china from damage from the shock of hot water. Putting the milk in first means that the fat in the milk emulsifies in a different way when the tea is poured, which does change the flavour of the tea, giving it a more even, creamier flavour. Milk before tea is more common in England.