National Tea Day: The definitive guide to making the perfect cup of tea

Only monsters put milk in before the bag's out

Christopher Hooton
Friday 22 April 2016 11:26 BST

Today is National Tea Day (honestly, it’s got its own website and everything), a celebration of Britain’s national drink.

Described by George Orwell as "one of the mainstays of civilisation" and liable to "cause violent disputes over how it should be made", the cuppa is as much about the ritual of making it as the taste, and as such you should give it due care.

Here’s a guide to the process from Hope & Glory Tea’s master tea-taster, Bharat Chudasama (N.B. this is for a 'builder's' black tea - you could fill books looking into the preparations of all the different kinds of tea):

How much tea?

Two grams per 100ml water or one teaspoon per person and one for the pot.


We recommend boiling freshly drawn water, to enhance brightness and liveliness in the cup.

Water temperature

Of vital importance - black tea brews best at boiling point.


Keep tea in a sealed container to keep it fresh and to avoid contamination from moisture and/or other kitchen smells.


Always use a cup for tea. It is a beverage that should be slightly cooler before drinking it, so to release heat, the traditional teacup is slightly shorter/wider than a coffee mug, which is designed to retain heat for longer.

Brewing time

Black tea needs five minutes and green teas need three minutes to ensure optimal taste.

Pour, add milk and sugar to taste

Milk always comes after (if you’re using a cup not a teapot), as the milk will instantly cool the water to below boiling point and affect the brewing.

Some teas should not even need any milk - Earl Grey and Darjeeling are fragrant in flavour and should technically be drunk without.


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