How to make the perfect cup of tea

By Debra Killalea

Stephen H B Twining is the tenth generation of the famous Twinings Tea family. Photo / Getty
Stephen H B Twining is the tenth generation of the famous Twinings Tea family. Photo / Getty

Some of us like it really hot, others lukewarm.

Some like to milk it for all its worth while others prefer to keep things a little more simple.
And while we all like to do it a different way, there's no right or wrong way to making a cup of tea.

According to tea king Stephen Twining, the secret to the perfect brew has nothing to do with the maker, but rather lies in the brewer.

Mr Twining said making a brew really wasn't that complicated, and just like wine, was simply a matter of taste.

He did however have a couple of rules he likes to stick by when making a good brew.
"Simple is the best," he said.

"The perfect cup of tea is (about) fabulous ingredients from anywhere around the world and that obviously varies according to taste."

But there is one big sin that will send you straight to tea hell - and that's adding sugar.

"It completely ruins the flavour," he said.

Ideally tea should be brewed for 3-5 minutes depending on the strength people liked it, says Stephen. Photo / iStock
Ideally tea should be brewed for 3-5 minutes depending on the strength people liked it, says Stephen. Photo / iStock

While a splash of milk to a brew gets his seal of approval, sweetening it definitely doesn't.

Masters of tea spend years perfecting their brews and training their palates which can all be undone with one small spoonful of the sweet stuff.

The 10th generation to the tea giant company told news.com.au he would never tell someone what sort of tea to drink at what time.

However, he did say the big trick to making great tea was how long you brewed it for.
Mr Twining said ideally tea should be brewed for 3-5 minutes depending on the strength people liked it.

If drinkers found it too strong, they could add more water to help dilute the flavour slightly.

A splash of milk was fine but too much could ruin the subtle flavours of the leaves.

"First thing in morning I like to have English breakfast, Earl or Lady Grey after lunch but one of the wonderful things about tea is it has so many different flavours," he said.

"Everyone does it a different way and that's what makes it perfect."

It also has the power to do one important thing - facilitate conversation and bring people together.

"It gets us talking, it's what human beings are designed to do," he said.

Mr Twining said tea was also more socially accepted than alcohol.

"There's nothing in it that can do you any harm," he said.

"It will do you good. There is no consequences as you can drive home after drinking cups of it and not get into trouble."

Loose leaf versus tea bags

While he admits loose leaf tea can have more complexity and subtle flavours, it really doesn't matter at the end of the day.

"It's like cork and screw cap wine, it doesn't affect the flavour," he said.

"More it's down to the skill of the winemaker and where it came from. As as long as you put good ingredients in you'll get a good cup of tea out of a tea bag."

Twinings master tea blender Philippa Thacker spent eight years perfecting her craft and agreed that there were certainly things people could do when it came to making a good cup.

She suggests using one teaspoon per person for the pot which should be warmed first.
And she has one rule which should always be followed.

"Always use freshly drawn water from tap," she said.

"Never use kettle in water from overnight or even after cooled.

"Freshly drawn water contains a lot of oxygen and each time you boil the kettle those bubbles that you see coming out are oxygen and it's the oxygen which really imparts the tea with its flavour."

As soon as it hits the boil pour it over the black leaves.

- news.com.au

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