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We Brits drink an impressive 60.2 billion cups of tea per year. But are we making our tea properly? We caught up with Twinings tea expert Philippa Thacker to get her top tips for making the perfect cuppa at home.
• They've been producing tea since 1706.
• They invented Earl Grey tea.
• Queen Victoria granted them the Royal Warrant in 1837 (meaning they are the official tea supplier to the royal family)... that's good enough for us!
• Loose tea is made from whole leaves so is generally thought to be higher quality than tea used in tea bags. Using loose tea allows the hot water to infuse every inch of the leaf producing a fresh full flavour.
• If you're in a hurry, as most of us tend to be, then tea bags with their pre-measured amounts of tea are perfect for a quick cuppa.
• Water should always be freshly drawn from the tap. Every time you boil the same water (if it's sat in the kettle, for example) the water is deoxygenated a little bit more, which can give tea a dull flat taste.
• If you live in a hard-water area, it's best to use a carbon-based water filter to remove any residue left by hard water, which can alter the taste.
The temperature of the water makes a huge difference to the flavour of your cuppa.
• For black tea, use freshly boiled water.
• For green tea, don't use boiling water as it extracts too many of the bitter elements. The water should be cooler - about 85°C. Boil the kettle, then leave it to sit for 5 minutes before making your green tea.
For loose tea made in a teapot, use this guide for the best flavours...
• Black tea: 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you like it
• Green tea: 2-3 minutes
• If you're using tea bags, brew for a minute less, as the tea leaves are cut more finely so the flavour is extracted more quickly.