How to Make a 'proper' Cup of Tea!

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Introduction: How to Make a 'proper' Cup of Tea!

About: Born in England many years ago, moved to California in 1980, moved to New York in 1993, became a US citizen. Favourite place to visit, besides London England, is Lake Winnipesaukkee in New Hampshire, home of …

It is a well-known fact that since the Americans tried to make tea in Boston Harbor, using harbour water, they have had a hard time making a 'proper' cup of tea!

As a 'proper' Englishwoman, I will instruct those of you (especially all my friends in the Boston area) that wish to learn, how to make a 'proper' cup of tea the English way.

You will need

A kettle (no microwaves, please)
A proper tea pot (with more than one hole inside the spout!)
A tea cosy, to keep the tea pot warm (which can also warm your hands on a cold day)
Loose tea, or tea bags (tea bags with no tags, strings or outer wrappings)
A tea strainer if you use loose tea. I don't use mine much any more now that I have found the round tea bags that don't have the excessive outer wrappings, string and staples!

Step 1: Boil the Water

Boil the water in the kettle. THE WATER MUST BE BOILING!
Take your 'proper' tea pot (one which has several holes inside the spout) to the kettle and put a small amount of boiling water into it. Replace the lid.

Empty out the hot water from the tea pot. This is called 'warming the pot' and is absolutely essential. You cannot make a nice cup of tea in a cold pot.

Step 2: Return the Kettle to the Stove Top

Return the kettle to the stove top (or plug back in if it is one of those new fangled jobbies). The water must be brought back to the boil. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having the water ABSOLUTELY BOILING before pouring on the tea in the pot - but beware of steam burns.

Step 3: The Tea!

Place the tea bags (or loose tea leaves) in the warmed pot. The number of bags or spoonfuls will depend on the size of the tea pot. Rule of thumb for me is one tea bag or spoonful per cup of tea required. I like my tea strong!

Step 4: Take the Pot to the Kettle

With your tea in the pot, take the tea pot to the kettle (not the other way round), and making sure the water is still boiling,fill the tea pot with boiling water. Replace the lid and cover immediately with the tea cosy.

No tea cosy - follow this link!
https://www.instructables.com/id/How_to_knit_a_quotproperquot_English_tea_cosy/

Step 5: A Nice Cup of Tea!

Let the tea in the tea pot stand for a few minutes for the tea to brew. The tea cosy will keep the tea warm for a long time. Take your tea cup and saucer (prererably of the finest English bone china) pour a little milk into the cup (milk in first, please!) and then fill with the clear, hot, amber liquid of life! Add sugar to taste and there you are!

A nice cup of tea - all ready to drink!

Cheers!

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    82 Comments

    1
    alexhalford
    alexhalford

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I will start by mentioning that I very much enjoyed your instructable. However, I have a slight quibble with it; one that I would not have brought up had I not noticed Caitlindad's care in spelling the word "cosy" with an "s", rather than with a "z". In reference to step two, the word "emphasise" is, in England, more correctly spelt with an "s" rather than with a "z".
    Pedantic, I know, but since this is proper English tea, I thought I ought to mention.
    Otherwise, a very informative instructable.

    0
    rooneyandmuldoon
    rooneyandmuldoon

    Reply 10 months ago

    A man after my own heart.

    0
    frenchie16
    frenchie16

    12 years ago on Step 4

    If I have no tea cozy, will a hat work?

    0
    rooneyandmuldoon
    rooneyandmuldoon

    Reply 10 months ago

    Start a new trend. 😏

    0
    praise_song
    praise_song

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I just posted my very first instructable ... "How to make a tea cosy" ... check it out:
    https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-a-Tea-Cosy-also-spelled-cozy/?ALLSTEPS

    0
    stinkymum
    stinkymum

    Reply 12 years ago on Step 4

    a hat would work, but you would not have a hole for the spout or handle - but could take the hat off the teapot before you pour the tea!

    0
    frenchie16
    frenchie16

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Oops. Like caitlinsdad, I have mis-spelled cosy. Sorry!

    1
    bresule
    bresule

    7 years ago on Step 5

    You only have to put the milk in first if you use chipped/ poorly made teacups.

    The reason this tradition started was because in the lower classes the tea would be too hot for the tea cups, and would sometimes cause them to shatter. The milk in first would stop that from happening.

    Other than that the order shouldn't change the taste or experience :3

    0
    rooneyandmuldoon
    rooneyandmuldoon

    Reply 10 months ago

    Interesting. Makes sense. I feel for the poor English of the past. (Ever read "The Abyss" by Jack London?)

    2
    postmaan paat

    A few points that you need to be aware of in making a proper cup of tea.

    The water must not be reboiled before it is poured into the teapot. The process is a chemical reaction which requires oxygen in the water and reboiled water does not have this in sufficient quantity.

    Being a chemical reaction over time the amount of time for brewing is essential. On pouring the water onto the tea leaves caffeine will be produced which gives the feel good factor. But after about 3 mins tannin starts to be produced which gives the bitter taste of stewed tea. So for best tea a brewing time of between 3 and 4 mins is optimal.

    It is irrelevant as to whether the milk should be put in before or after the tea but it was considered common to put the milk in first and posh to put the milk in after. I drink my tea without milk anyway.

    Hope that this helps with your proper cup of tea.

    0
    JennyT3
    JennyT3

    Reply 6 years ago

    Boiling is a physical change, not a chemical change. The water changes into gaseous H2O (steam) as it boils, but all this means is that the molecules are moving more quickly. The chemical makeup of the water stays the same.

    0
    rooneyandmuldoon
    rooneyandmuldoon

    Reply 10 months ago

    Nope. Postmaan Paat (I know a postman named Pat) is perfectly correct, in my understanding. Jenny, you are correct that the release of the oxygen when boiling is not chemical, but mechanical, but oxygen IS a chemical, after all, and has a chemical impact on the tea. Boiling the water too much releases more oxygen, negatively affecting the flavor of the tea.
    I also agree with Paat about the strict concern about taking the pot to the kettle, milk in before or after, etc., yet "brew for a few minutes." Comical. Brew time is the most important factor! Might as well brew in the harbor. I prefer Irish tea, anyway. WITH MILK! AFTER! 😉

    0
    BenD62
    BenD62

    Reply 5 years ago

    Water that we drink is not pure h2o. It has dissolved minerals and gasses in it oxygen being one of them. As the water heats this O2 is lostore easily to the surroundings.

    0
    nebulous13
    nebulous13

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    True. But a pot of water isn't just pure H2O. There are also tons of trapped O2 molecules in there. What do you think fish are breathing? They aren't giving off hydrogen. Those bubbly things you see in aquariums are replenishing the O2. Boiling water forces the trapped O2 to escape. Beer brewers, for instance, know that they have to re-oxygenate the beer after boiling so that yeast have something to work with. That said, I don't think losing O2 is a concern w/ tea. The kettle is covered when you boil and you'd have to leave it boiling for about 15 minutes to deplete the O2.

    0
    R&IM
    R&IM

    Reply 3 years ago

    That's exactly what I do . But you explained it .

    1
    YukinoT
    YukinoT

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    wow thanks,I love tea but dont really know much about how to properly make a cup of tea,and this help a lot,thanks,im gonna make one now :3

    0
    WilliamD267
    WilliamD267

    1 year ago

    The method described here is acceptable in every detail as the 'proper' way to make tea, save for the outrageous heresy of putting the milk in first. Putting the milk in first is a cardinal sin known amongst civilized people as 'scalding the milk'. Those who habitually perpetrate this heresy often seek to proliferate and perpetuate it, as demonstrated in this 'instructable', by insisting to uninitiated foreigners and rootless colonials that putting the milk in first is the 'proper' way to make tea. It is a hallmark characteristic of such heretics that they unfailingly become physically violent when contradicted in this connexion.

    Plainly many of the commenters here have never been in a fist fight over the proper way to make tea. All proper tea is best. Everything else is post postmodern consumerist bilge.

    0
    fgfmvgyu
    fgfmvgyu

    Reply 2 years ago

    The tea tasted very nice but I put in a bit too much sugar.

    0
    bthcas
    bthcas

    6 years ago

    Im a heathen..i drink herbal tea....no black or green for me