Making the perfect cup of tea. It’s something to savour, not rush.

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Making the perfect cup of tea is underestimated. Most people rush it and end up with something hot but ultimately disappointing. A bit like me.

We’re not going to discuss which type of tea is better here, as we’ll assume you know the type you like. This is all about how you do it, not what you do it with.

So if you want to make that perfect cup of tea, then you need to think about the:

  • Psychology
  • Location
  • Timing
  • Frequency
Making a perfect cup of tea is as much fun as drinking it
Don’t rush making the perfect cup of tea

To enjoy the perfect cup of tea you have to be prepared to slow down and savour the moment.

Drinking tea follows the same psychology as drinking expensive wine. Most of the flavour comes from the anticipation of what it will be like. A quick brew in a takeaway cup will never taste as nice as one made with your favourite china mug.

Making the perfect cup of tea. It's something to savour, not rush. 1

It’s the same with wine. Buying expensive wine you think will taste better does taste better, but partly because of the anticipation and not necessarily the true flavour. It’s simply the way our brain works. People believe hot drinks taste sweeter when they’re in an orange or red mug, compared to blue or white. Sometimes you just can’t fight that grey matter. So before you start making your perfect cup of tea, think how nice it will be. You’ll thank me afterwards.

Location can make a difference

Where you’re drinking your tea can also have an impact on how much you enjoy it. Obviously if you’re in a posh hotel gazing wistfully out of the window that’s one thing, but not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking water quality. If you’re in a soft water area, tea can taste soapy. Hard water containing lots of minerals can cause a scum to form on the surface. Aside from not wanting a drink that doesn’t look the part, it can also make it taste unpleasant. Don’t accept second best and spend some money. Buy a water filter.

Making the perfect cup of tea can depend on where you are
Making the perfect cup of tea can depend on where you do it

With your water source sorted, don’t skimp on the boiling. Boiling the water is important. Use the time while you build up a head of steam to increase that anticipation. Enjoy the moment a mindful way. This can reduce any stress as well.

Whatever you do, don’t add milk yet. Adding extras into the mix too soon means the drink cools too fast, and the flavours don’t get a chance to develop. You don’t want that disappointment.

Tea bag or tea leaves? In the past using a tea bag lessened the enjoyment. Bags were of poor quality and the leaves inside were second rate. Today things have changed. Tea bags make up over 90% of the tea drunk, and correspondingly the quality of both the bag and the tea have increased. What’s more, there’s no mess! That’s got to be good.

It’s all in the timing

However making a perfect cup of tea is all about timing. Most people only last a couple of minutes before whipping out the bag. That’s way too short. Five minutes is the ideal, as it gives the flavours a chance to develop and the antioxidants to reach the right level (the levels double during this period).

Waiting for longer, aside from getting boring, also means a more bitter taste as you end up with more tannin molecules in the mix. Longer doesn’t always equate to better.

Making the perfect cup of tea requires carrot cake
The perfect tea companion? A slice of carrot cake.

Now’s the time to add the milk, and the amount is purely a preference thing. Just be careful not to add too much and make the drink cold, with the milk flavours overshadowing the tea.

If you want to be different, you can try different types of milk. Oat milk is apparently a good substitute, and getting your oats can also make you a happier and healthier person.

To round it off, if you’re making the perfect cup of tea you need to make sure you do it with company. Whilst that could be an attractive person from the opposite sex, personally I think you’d be challenged to beat a moist piece of carrot cake. Failing that, you could make your own Oreo cake using a special silicone cake mould.

How much is too much?

Finally someone once asked me how many cups of tea could they have in a day?

Well, there’s no right answer to that. Three to six cups a day is about right and can be beneficial. However, making a perfect cup of tea too late into the evening can disrupt sleep. If you’re old, with a weak bladder and the tea is caffeinated stopping earlier is probably advised, so keep an eye on that watch. However, tea it is better than drinking alcohol or smoking, which are recipes for sleep disaster.

All in all making the perfect cup of tea can be a great way to relax and be happier. It’s surprising how a little bit of effort will make it all taste better. So don’t rush the experience, savour it.

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