Thursday, December 17, 2015

How to Make a Great Cup of English Tea

An English tea mug with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth the second in cameo on the side.
English Tea Mug


How do you make a great cup of English tea?

Making tea the  English way is very easy, even in the United States.

From experience most Americans make two mistakes when making a cup of tea.

1.  They do NOT use a good British brand of tea. The most popular brands of British teas tend to be black teas. Often considered inferior by tea officianados, ordering tea in Britain will mean that you are served a black blended tea. A common and popular brand is PG Tips Black Tea, this is my favorite tea brand

2.  Americans do NOT add boiling water to the tea leaves or tea bag. You should always use water which has just gone off the boil. Never use tepid water, it doesn't allow the tea to release all of its flavor.

I will not stress that you must use loose leaf tea or that a tea pot should be used. You can use tea bags to make tea in the cup. That is acceptable these days, though in polite company it would still raise an eyebrow or two.


1.  Fill  akettle with cold water. You may use bottled water if you like but cold fresh drawn water is best.

2. Bring water to a brisk rolling boil.  A rolling boil is when bubbles form in the water and burst vigorously on the surface.

3. Rinse a good heavy mug with some of the boiling wat. This warms the cup before it is filled, reducing the risk of the cup shattering.

4. After rinsing the mug and throwing away the water used to rinse the cup place one tea bag, in my case, PG Tips Black Tea, in the cup or mug.

5. Add the hot boiling water from the kettle to the mug. Fill until about three quarters full.

6. Let the tea bag soak for about ten seconds and then stir the water around the mug with a spoon. This is to diffuse some of the tea flavor.

7. Allow the tea bag to swirl in the hot water for about thirty seconds, then  remove the teabag from the mug. DO NOT squeeze the tea bag, this can cause the bag to split and drop tea leaves  and dust into your cup, it is not pleasant to taste tea which has lots of leaves still floating in it.

8. Add sugar or your favorite sweetener to taste and a little milk. Don't use cream or coffee creamer they are not meant to be used with tea.

You can also drink some teas without milk or sugar but these teas tend to be the more delicate teas. English black tea is robust and flavorful, but can also seem bitter. It was afterall the drink of the masses, to be drunk while laboring and to replace beer and gin as the drink of the poor.

I hope that you have enjoyed this little excursion into the art of making English tea. Maybe test out some of the many British teas available from your local supermarket or

The links above will take you to pages linked through my affiliate account. As such I will receive compensation if you decide to purchase  the items shown in the links.

Here are links to my zazzle designs for teapots; Ireland Teapot;   Inspired by Clarice Cliffe;   Texas Tea Teapot.

Pour for Ireland Teapot
Pour for Ireland Teapot by Bretsuki
Find other Ireland Teapots at

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