There are millions of ways to make a perfect cuppa

New research factors in possible variables when it’s time to pop the kettle on

Costel Sandu,Mars El Brogy@melbrogy
Wednesday 15 November 2017 19:18
Tetley Tea Tasting Tips

There are 24 million possible ways Brits make a cuppa according to new research.

The YouGov research, commissioned by Tetley Tea to mark its 180th birthday and analysed by mathematician Dr James Hind of Nottingham Trent University, factored in possible variables when it’s time to pop the kettle on.

Combinations considered are brew time, milk levels and dunking behaviour to sweetener choice, water or milk first and overall water temperature.

As for the most commonly drunk cuppa, this involves 60 seconds of brewing, a dash of cold semi-skimmed milk, three dunks of the teabag, no sugar, drunk hot from a mug and made by the drinker themselves.

But according to master tea blender, Sebastian Michaelis, whose taste buds are insured for £1m, all 24 million possible cuppas start with one perfect blend, revealing there is still science behind the art of the individual cuppa.

That’s why he has spent months with Dr Hind in the Tetley tea rooms, where over 40,000 cups of tea are tasted every week, developing a mathematical equation for the perfect blend that is the basis for 24 million possible cups of tea.

The key variables centre on the process of perfecting a blend from crop to cup, including years of experience and weight of tea in the teabag.

Also captured is the duration of training for the master tea blenders and the colour, size and density of the leaf; the brew’s purity of colour (its sparkle); the weight of the tea in the mouth (its body) and the overall liveliness of the tea on the palate (its zing).

Michaelis said: "With research revealing 24 million possible ways to make a cuppa, this truly is a nation of diversi-tea. There’s no one perfect way to take your tea – it’s each to their own! What’s important to recognise is that all combinations, from milky tea with no sugar to black with one sugar, come from one perfect blend.

“Whilst our mathematical equation doesn’t roll off the tongue, it does show the multiple layers of hidden craft that fuels the nation’s favourite drink. Blending tea, like blending whisky or champagne, is a fine art that’s based on a bag load of science."

With the blend perfected, the nation’s nuances and twists on how they take their tea then come in to play.

According to the research, 48 per cent brew the teabag for at least a minute, with almost a third of UK tea drinkers considering brewing time the most important factor when it comes to making tea.

Whilst one in 10 Brits favour a more traditional take on the cuppa, drunk from a teacup rather than a mug, a small but significant 3 per cent of white tea takers opt for the less traditional in heating up the milk first.

Forty-four per cent of people think they make the best cup of tea and 14 per cent say they prefer ones made by their partners.

Meanwhile, office tea rounds could soon be on their way out, with only 1 per cent preferring their colleagues’ method of making tea.

As for what makes the worst cup of tea, putting in too much milk comes top, followed by splitting the tea bag by squeezing it too hard and reheating tea in the microwave.

"As for me, I pour as soon as it's boiled. Black tea tastes best when brewed in fresh water as close to boiling point as possible. As the temperature reduces, the flavours will develop for a better quality taste," Michaelis said.