Tea time: How to steep tea like an expert

Tea is an iconic part of British culture, with how to make the perfect brew often a hot topic for debate, from the teabags used, to the length of time to steep the tea and even whether the milk goes in first. 

To help people out, we recently asked 2,000 Brits how strong they like their tea and compared this to what experts say is the perfect amount of time for steeping (brewing). 

Our study found that the time an average person leaves their tea to brew is just one minute and ten seconds, with Bristolians having the weakest tea, only leaving it to infuse for 46 seconds on average!

However, tea experts advise leaving the teabag in for between four and five minutes to “unlock all its flavour” whilst just one in 50 (2%) UK tea-drinkers follow this guidance. And according to the British Standards Institute, the perfect brewing time for black tea is even higher at six minutes to properly extract the flavours from the tea leaves.

Looking at different types of tea, experts suggest white, green or oolong tea should be steeped for between two and three minutes, whilst herbal tea should be left to steep for four to six minutes. 

Here is how experts at Yorkshire Tea say to make the perfect black tea:  

  1. Run the tap a little so the water’s nicely aerated, and only boil it once to keep the oxygen level up. Oxygen in water helps with the flavour.
  2. Add the teabag and hot water and stir briefly.
  3. Wait patiently for 4-5 minutes to unlock all the flavour of the tea.
  4. Give the bag a squeeze against the side of the mug. Just once, as if you really mash it, it’ll taste bitter.
  5. Add milk and sugar, if using, and enjoy!

How long do you brew your tea for? Why not time yourself using one of our accurate watches and let us know at @TicWatches? Atomic timekeeping watches by Citizen are our personal favourite providing insanely accurate timekeeping.



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