Friday, 03 June 2016

Top tips: Making a cuppa

Emilie Holmes, Founder of Good & Proper Tea, shares her tips for making the most out of your cuppa

Written by Emilie Holmes
1. Make sure you've got great tea to start with. You can do all you like to make it right, but if the tea itself isn't good you can only get so far. Go for whole, loose-leaf teas which have the most flavour.

2: Get your water right - you want freshly drawn, filtered water. It might be a faff, but it makes a huge difference, especially in London, and will brew a much cleaner, crisper cup.

3: Measure the tea into your cup or pot as per the brewing instructions, paying attention to your ratio of leaf to water. Too much water and it'll be thin, too much tea and it'll be astringent. It's like making Ribena - the amounts matter!

4. Add water fresh off the boil (or cooler for greens or oolongs) to your cup or pot and stick a timer on on your phone. Most black teas need around 3 mins to infuse. Just like the leaf quantity, brew it too long and it'll taste stewed, too short and the cup will lack body.

5. Finally, remove leaves! As long as the water and leaves are still in contact, the tea will continue to brew so it's important to separate the two, either by straining into a cup or removing the infuser if you have one.

6. Enjoy a delicious cup of tea!

Milk before or after? You decide.
The truth is (drumroll) I personally always make my tea in a pot, so I always put milk in first. I personally think it makes for a better, more well rounded cup of tea. And it mixes better! There is some science behind it too, for what it's worth. You know when you have one of those cups of tea that just doesn't taste quite right? It can be because the high temperature of the tea has affected the proteins in the milk, making it taste funny. If you put a small amount of cold milk straight into a much larger, very hot cup of tea, it's a bit of a shock for the poor old milk. Milk first means the milk binds with a smaller amount of hot tea, before readying itself for the rest!

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