Tea and the art of pouring a cuppa

How to make tea correctly, according to science.

Whether you put milk in your cup before or after the hot water is a constant argument around the kitchen. Science has actually proven that milk should be first, but we know that many would strongly disagree.

It cannot be underestimated how important tea is to so many people across the world. Whether its as part of socialising, or just to cure what ails you, a cuppa will always go down a treat!

Because it’s considered to be so important, how it’s made becomes a serious issue. Common tea questions include:

  • How long you leave the tea to brew?
  • Whether to put sugar in?
  • What type of tea to use?

and perhaps the biggest cause of all tea-disputes:

If you put milk in your tea do you put it in the cup before or after the boiling water? What most people don’t know is that, over 11 years ago, scientists supposedly settled this debate once and for all. Supposedly anyway!

To test the recipe for the perfect cup of tea put forward in 1946 that was put together by master tea drinker George Orwell, Dr Stapley of Loughborough University put the taxpayers money to good effect and established that putting the milk in after the boiling water is the wrong way to pour your tea, as it causes the milk to heat unevenly. Who knew!

So that settles it then doesn’t it? Milk before water in tea! End of discussion. Science has spoken!

Except it hasn’t. As is always the case when you get science involved, it’s not that simple. For instance, if the tea bag is in the milk before the water, this will cool the water too quickly, affecting the brewing. So if you make the tea in a pot, fine. If you don’t, then that’s a whole other issue

And that’s another point: it’s not just the what’s in the cup of tea itself that influences our idea of it, there are often other factors to consider, like how it looks, the way it is poured and where you drink your tea! These can really make all of the difference in how your tea tastes.

So what have we learnt here? Not much really, although maybe next time you pick up a pot of tea, make sure you pour the milk in first, and then sit down on the couch, or outside in the warmth, with a nice slice of Cake for your afternoon tea and you’ll have a perfectly lovely cuppa in your hands.

As someone once said, life is like a cup of tea. It’s all about how you make it!

How do you make your tea?