If you have been following my Instagram feed, you might have noticed that I am a tea addict. Having been raised in a predominantly coffee-obsessed country, I therefore struggle regularly with other people's oblivion (or ignorance) to how to make a decent cup of tea.
As an English tea drinker, I obviously mean black tea, primarily, when I talk about tea, even though I also love green tea, white tea and herbal tea (pretty much anything that's not fruit tea because that isn't even real tea, if you ask me).
Living in Vienna now, it has come to my attention that in Austria barely anybody drinks tea, let alone black tea with milk. For them, putting milk into tea is a perversion as is drinking fake fruit tea for me. Now you can imagine that, apart from when I am at home, I barely get to drink a decent cup of tea because every coffeehouse - and alleged tea house - manages to fuck up making a good cup of tea to the point where I want to rip out my hair.
After I lived in England - where much more people know how to drink tea properly - I was terribly disappointed when I came back to Austria and realised I couldn't expect to find someone here to understand the art of making tea (apart from my family and my good friend, Lilo, of course - who is a tea mastermind).
It started when I visited my best friend and she offered me tea - of course no black tea. When she attempted to pour the hot water into my cup without the tea bag being inside yet, I yelped in horror, reprimanding her instantly that one couldn't possibly go with water first, then tea bag. Only a psychopath would do such a thing. Or a coffee-drinker, so fair enough.
When I am in Austria, I cannot drink tea in a café because they exclusively mess it up. They bring you a cup with lukewarm water, which definitely didn't come from a kettle, and a teabag ON THE SIDE! Who does such things, please? It's called "brewing tea" for a reason.
Usually, I am a really nice person who doesn't complain in restaurants or has some perverse, extra requests for the food, but I do become such a bitch when it comes to drinking tea. I cannot recall how often I have told confused waiters that their tea-making habits are all wrong, and would they please relate that to the manager. I will sit in an alleged "tea house", asking how they prepare their tea, only to derisively snort and order hot chocolate, letting them know they shouldn't be called a tea house.
I know, this doesn't sound at all like me, but, you see, I am on a mission. Others want to end world hunger or own a yacht one day, my mission is to educate people on how to drink tea and science actually agrees with me.
The University of Northumbria did extensive research on what is the best method to drink tea and you can read their instructions by clicking here. Also, the website of Yorkshire tea tells you how to prepare their tea, you can read it here. I will give you my recipe, which is strikingly similar to the scientific way and the Yorkshire (a real Yorkshire girl I am) or Twinings way.
The perfect cup of tea (for a mug, but it's basically the same for a pot, only the waiting time is longer):
1. Put FRESH water in a kettle (and only a kettle, don't even think of using the hot water option from a coffee maker). Why should it be fresh? Well, each time you boil water, it loses oxygen, which will result in your tea tasting hard and metallic. Also the tea can release its taste best with fresh water.
2. While the water is boiling, prepare a mug with a teabag in it (or tea leaves, if you want to do it the super-right way; one spoonful per person) and put next to the kettle.
3. Pour the water over the teabag in the mug. Now, there is some disagreement whether the water should be boiling hot when pouring over the tea or not. Science suggests it should be because the tea leaves dissolve best; however, Twinings insists boiling hot water burns the tea leaves, preventing them from releasing all their toxins and tannins, etc. Personally, I don't really care. When I am nearby, I will pour it immediately, otherwise, the water goes in slightly cooled down already.
4. Let it brew. Now, especially with black tea, this is also a question of taste. Some like their tea strong, others prefer it weaker. The ideal time, apparently, is 2-3 minutes, which I do too, then I slightly squeeze the tea bag to get the last leaves to release their taste too and put the bag in the bin. NEVER REUSE A TEABAG!!!!
5. Add milk and sugar according to your taste. I always add milk until the tea is a beige tone and enough sugar to make it taste a little sweet.
6. Sit back and enjoy your lovely cup of tea.
Black tea, by the way, is the only tea I drink with sugar. All others I don't; however, I add a fingertip of sugar to every tea and you should too. Tea, especially green tea, has acids in it which can make your tummy ache when you drink too much of it, but a pinch of sugar will set off a chemical reaction which will reduce the acids and, even though you cannot even taste the sugar, your tummy will thank you.
Other tea-related trivia:
Asians often put the tea leaves into the water after it was poured, but this is also because they drink rather jasmine or white teas than black teas and they prefer their teas much weaker.
It is rumoured that, regarding black tea, if you leave the teabag in for under five minutes, it will give you a good kick-start into the day; if you leave it longer than five minutes, it will make you tired (and you will have a disgustingly strong black tea).
Did you know that the British drink over 60 billion cups of tea each year? Annually, each British person, on average, drinks 213 litres of tea. In Austria it's only 32 litres of tea per person.
Did you know, Britain only comes third in the ranking of most tea drinkers? Number two is Ireland and number one is Turkey.
Per second, about 15.000 cups of tea are being drunk worldwide.
Did you know that herbal and fruit teas aren't real teas (as if I haven't tried to tell you) because they don't come from a tea shrub nor have they caffeine in them. "Real" teas are black, green and white teas.
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