These are my step by step instructions on how to make a proper cup of tea (using British teabags). No fancy teacups here, just mugs.
Hopefully, by the time you’ve reached the bottom, you’ll know how to make a “proper” cup of tea. *BLETHER will be explained at the end of the post
I’ve been posting a lot of Italian recipes lately, so I’m going to do something British for a change. Since it’s an overcast, drizzly day here in Los Angeles (we don’t get a lot of those), it’s a perfect day for it, too.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
My American “tea vs coffee” theory.
I have a theory that from the day of the Boston Tea Party, the US continued their boycott of tea for a very, very long time. Because it was obviously associated with the tyranny of the “mother country,” this is the reason that coffee became the preferred hot beverage in this country. What do you think?
Tea is an institution in the UK. Its fibers are woven into the British culture in such a way that it is difficult to describe to a “non-Brit.” I came across this video a while ago and was so awed by the impact a beverage can have on a country. FYI to Americans, Eastenders is a popular soap-opera type show in the UK. When the show finishes, most viewers turn the kettle on for a cup of tea resulting in a huge surge for electricity!
Click the following photo for my proper scone recipe. 😍
British Tea Bags
I put “proper” in quotation marks because this is my version of how to make a proper cup of tea. It’s not the “proper-proper” tea made with loose leaf tea, of course. What’s the point of making something properly if you don’t like it? In the UK they say to put one teabag per person and “one for the pot.” However, in my opinion that’s too strong for most people in the US who are used to a weaker tea.
If you are using a British brand of tea, which is already much stronger and has a lot more flavor than most US tea brands, you might just want to use a teabag per person. I like Ty-phoo and PG Tips for everyday tea, which are imported from the UK (I buy them on Amazon). Three teabags for a 32 ounce pot, not completely filled to the rim (about 4 cups of tea) is perfect for my family, but if you decide to try this tea, experiment and see if you like it stronger, and adjust accordingly.
How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea
First of all, a proper-proper cup of tea is made with loose leaf tea, but most of us don’t have time for that on a daily basis, two or three times a day.
So this is mostly aimed at US households who are used to a Lipton teabag in hot water in a mug. This will be a big change in flavor for those of you.
Boil the water
First, bring water to a boil, but do not let it keep boiling. Remove it as soon as it comes to a boil. Hot water will not do. We want the tea leaves to infuse the flavor of the tea into the water, and tepid or hot water will not do this nearly as well as boiling water. I use an electric kettle because we make a lot of tea. (I don’t recommend my Breville anymore as it sometimes won’t shut off.)
You will also need a good teapot, preferably one made in the UK (they know their tea there).
I bought this little melamine trivet to keep my teapot warm when making tea so the granite countertop doesn’t cool the pot off too quickly.
Warm the teapot
So, when the kettle is almost boiling, put some water in the pot, just to warm up the teapot. Return the kettle to its base (or stovetop) to make it come to a full boil. Swirl the hot water around the pot and then drain it out. Make sure to have your teabags ready.
Add the teabags and water to the pot
I’m using a PG Tips and a Typhoo teabag together. This is something my daughter started doing, and we all liked the combination. When the water just comes to a boil, put the teabags in the teapot and immediately pour the water into the pot.
Use a tea cosy (if you have one)
Next, if you have a tea cosy, cover the pot. If not, use a heavy tea towel or something to keep the pot warm. You’ll discover that this also makes a big difference in the outcome of the flavor of the tea.
My daughter makes beautiful tea cosies, so email me if you’d like one.
Steep the tea
Let the tea steep for about 3 to 5 minutes; the longer you leave it, the stronger it will be. (Three minutes is too week for me, btw.)
Pour the tea
Now it’s time to pour.
Add milk, and/or sugar (I just add milk).
Now, enjoy with a biscuit or two, and delight in the fact that you know how to make a proper cup of tea!
Now for your Glaswegian
(Glasgow dialect) Lesson:
Basically, “to blether” means to chat–a lot.
“A blether” is someone who talks incessantly–gee, I wonder why I have this mug? :)
Don’t miss another recipe or travel post; sign up for my free subscription below.
Christina’s Cucina is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. This is done by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.