A storming brew

Tea makers For a nation of tea lovers, we cut a lot of corners brewing up. Martin Skegg and Michael Oliveira-Salac advise on the perfect cuppa. Photograph by Adrian Burke

Giles Hilton, product director at Whittard, has been buying teas for 20 years, and probably knows everything there is to know about the stuff. (Did you know, for instance, that wild tea used to be picked by trained monkeys?) He says that fine tea is now in short supply because producers have geared production towards small leaves that are only suitable for tea bags. However, the Whittard T Zone shop in London's Covent Garden still manages to stock 150 different varieties. Flavoured teas - as opposed to herbal infusions, which are not strictly teas at all - have grown massively in popularity over the years and now account for 35 per cent of Whittard's sales (check out that Sticky Toffee Pudding flavour).

Making the perfect cup of tea requires time and care. It is important to use freshly drawn cold water as it is oxygenated. While the water boils, warm the pot to keep the brewing temperature as high as possible. You should use a different pot for different types of tea as residue is hard to remove. Pour the water over the leaves (or bags if you must) as soon as it boils so that the oxygen in the water brings the leaves back to life. Hilton recommends that you always brew for four to five minutes and alter the strength by the amount of tea you use. Despite what your great-aunt might say, milk should be put in the cup first, as pouring the hot tea on top mixes it in more efficiently.

Whittard T Zone, 38 The Piazza, Covent Garden, London WC2 (0171-379 6599). For your nearest Whittard shop call customer services on 0800 525092.

Pictured from left to right

Quick Boil kettle Useful for those prone to electric shocks, this is a chrome-plated copper kettle for gas stoves. It has a 1.5-litre capacity and a specially designed heat-retaining base. pounds 19.99. Available from Index on 0345 444444.

Bush Dual Filter kettle

Still riding the i-Mac translucent bandwagon, this has a capacity of two litres with a filter built into both the top and the spout, so the water is filtered on the way in and out. pounds 30. For stockists call Bush on 0181-787 3111.

Prima Clear Boil kettle

Looking like something out of the science lab, this kettle has a concealed element which prevents furring. It also boasts a capacity of 1.7 litres and the glass has been toughened to cope with boiling water. pounds 30. For stockists call Prima on 0113 251 1500.

DeLonghi teapot

Combines modern brewing technology with a classic old-school look. For use with bags or loose tea, this can make six cups in eight minutes. It comes with a ceramic teapot that is preheated by a warmer. Because the leaves are kept separate, the tea can be kept at serving temperature without stewing, although Hilton points out that there are always leaf particles that get through and continue the brewing process. pounds 40. For stockists call DeLonghi on 0800 626496.

Russell Hobbs 3362 coffee/tea maker

An up-to-date electronic tea-maker that brews two cups at a time and has separate removable tea and coffee filters. It is important to keep any tea-making appliance clean, and this is especially true for the 3362 as it has a dual tea/coffee function. Two china cups are included. pounds 24.50. Available from Argos. For local stockist information call 0870 6003030.

Quay Vortex kettle

This could easily lay claim to being the kettle for the millennium, doing justice to any 21st-century kitchen. It has a massive 15-cup capacity and a special feature to ensure rapid boiling (once the water has boiled it simmers down to 75C and periodically reboils). pounds 60, available in September. For stockists and information call Quay Products on 01543 466033

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most