Drinking Tea is a favourite Australian pastime and no matter what the season, tea is something to drink to relax, take a break and reinvigorate. Everyone has an opinion on the making of a perfect cup of tea. If you ask 10 people how to make the perfect cup of tea and you’ll get 10 very different answers. People take their tea very seriously! It seems people can be very passionate about whether the milk goes in first or after the water, the length of time the tea needs to mash (steep) and even the type of teapot in which to brew.
Five steps to creating the perfect cup of tea
1. Tea bag or loose-leaf?
Loose-leaf tea is best, as the leaves can swirl around more and infuse. However, if you must use a tea bag, pyramid shaped ones allow more movement than round.
2. Milk first or last?
Scientifically, the milk should go in first. Milk proteins degrade when heated to above 75°C. Milk poured on to hot water reaches this temperature, while water poured on milk doesn’t.
3. Length of brew
This one is down to personal taste to some degree. Brewing for over four to five minutes releases bitter tasting tannins, although these compounds do give tea its rich colour.
4. Perfect temperature
Tea has to be drunk hot, but how hot? Some kettles can be set to a range of temperatures, which is handy if you’re particular about water temperatures for making tea. If you’re making green tea, for instance, the water should only be heated to around 70°C, while black tea needs water to be 100°C.
When it comes to drinking your tea you can drink tea without burning your mouth at 60-65°C. A teaspoon in the mug accelerates cooling to speed things up.
5. Crockery matters!
Forget coffee-stained communal work mugs, or that giant Sports novelty mugs you definitely have knocking about in the cupboard, because believe it or not, the type of crockery you serve tea in matters. Porcelain or glass should be your go-to and try and stay clear from using clay-based crockery. Clay materials tend to taint the flavours of tea, especially if the clay isn’t well glazed.
6. Water Quality
Water should be freshly boiled, as re-boiled water loses oxygen essential for the brewing process. Use soft or filtered water if possible –hard water contains scum-producing minerals