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Here’s How to Prepare Tea Like the British Do

Take it from the experts and make your tea the proper way.

Photography by Seb Cumberbirch


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When you feel flu-y, a cup of tea can be soothing. But not all cups are created equal. British people, in particular, are very particular about how to make tea—and with good reason. Tea tastes so much better when it’s brewed right. Here, dos and don’ts.

Do choose your tea with care. The Brits prefer robust black teas like Earl Grey or English Breakfast. And you may use either tea bags or loose tea; both are perfectly acceptable. If you choose loose tea, you’ll need a strainer for your cup or teapot. As a general rule, use one teaspoon of loose tea per cup (or two grams of tea per 8 ounces of water, if you prefer metric measuring). And if you’re making a whole pot, throw in one extra teaspoon at the end.

Don’t microwave your water. Not only will most Brits will argue that it ruins the ritual of tea-making, it can actually be quite dangerous. Their preference: Fill a kettle with fresh, cold water and boil it on the stove.

Don’t forget how long you’ve been steeping your tea. Put your tea in your cup, then pour boiling water on top. Steep for three-to-five minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.

Only add milk to black tea. Green or herbal teas should skip it. Scientistssay you should add milk before your hot water, but you’ll find a ton of Brits who disagree with this. Add your milk whenever you’d prefer (or bring this topic up with friends for a fun debate).

Have a cookie on the side. Make sure you dunk it.


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