Which is the correct way to make a proper cuppa?

According to science there is a correct procedure for making a good cup of tea, but  there are a variety of different methods out there, so which is the best way to make a proper cuppa?
According to science there is a correct procedure for making a good cup of tea, but there are a variety of different methods out there, so which is the best way to make a proper cuppa?

It’s well known that Yorkshire folk love a good cup of tea, but everyone has their own methods of what they think makes the ‘perfect cuppa’.

The best and most ‘proper’ way to make a cup of tea is part of an ongoing debate, with many tea-drinkers stating that they can tell if the milk is put in first or second, or if the tea bag has been taken out too early or too late, just by tasting it.

April 21 is National Tea Day, a day when the nation will celebrate one of their most beloved drinks, and with this the debate of how to make the best brew will begin again.

According to science there is a correct procedure for making a good cup of tea, but there are a variety of different methods out there, so which is the best way to make a proper cuppa?


The scientific method

According to the British Standards Institution (BSI), in their guide called "preparation of a liquor of tea for use in sensory tests", adding the milk first is best way to make tea, but this only relates to when you’re brewing a pot of tea.

Yorkshire Tea is one of the nations favourite tea brands and they even have their very own method of how to make a really good cuppa

Yorkshire Tea is one of the nations favourite tea brands and they even have their very own method of how to make a really good cuppa

Apparently, if you add milk after the boiling water this causes the milk to heat unevenly, which then causes the milk to clump and affects the taste.

This guide states that if you’re making tea this way, you need a teapot made of porcelain, but there must be at least two grams of tea to every 100ml of water.

The temperature of the tea must absolutely not go past 85 degrees when it is served, but it’s imperative that it should be above 60 degrees in order to achieve the best flavour and sensation.

The BSI state that the perfect teapot size is between 74mm and 78mm wide, and 83mm and 87mm tall. At least two tea bags should be used for a small pot, and four for a large one.

Timing is also extremely important as the BSI state the perfect brewing time is six minutes, as this extracts the flavours from the tea leaves and makes the perfect cuppa. However, this is just for when using a teapot, not just a regular cuppa straight from the kettle into your favourite mug.

The Yorkshire Tea way

Yorkshire Tea is one of the nation’s favourite tea brands and they even have their very own method of how to make a really good cuppa.

Ben Newbury, Senior Brand Manager for Yorkshire Tea explains that “The cup of tea is firmly rooted in the British way of life and it is well-loved for many reasons – it makes people feel good, it brings people together and there’s an endless variety of blends and flavours to explore”.

With the nation’s love of tea in mind, Yorkshire Tea have created separate guides for how to make tea in both a mug and by using a teapot.

The mug method

Step one: 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 flavour!

Step two: Pop a tea bag into your mug, pour over the hot water and stir briefly.

Step three: Wait patiently- tea needs time to unlock all its flavour, so give it 4-5 minutes to do its thing.

Step four: Before removing the tea bag, gently squidge it against the side of the mug. Just the once, mind – if you really mash it, it'll taste bitter.

Step five: Customise your brew! Many opt for a splash of semi-skimmed or whole milk, but your brew is unique to you – so add milk, sugar, honey, lemon or nothing at all. Most importantly, enjoy!

The teapot method

Step one: 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 flavour!

Step two: Tea likes hot water, but a chilly teapot cools things down – so swirl a little boiling water around the empty pot first. For bonus points, use that water to warm the cups too.

Step three: Add two tea bags to a regular teapot or one tea bag to a mini teapot. If you’re using loose tea, add one teaspoon per person and one for the pot. Pour the hot water in and stir a bit.

Step four: Wait patiently- tea needs time to unlock all its flavour, so give it 4-5 minutes to do its thing.

Step five: Customise your brew! Many opt for a splash of semi-skimmed or whole milk, but your brew is unique to you – so add milk, sugar, honey, lemon or nothing at all. Most importantly, enjoy!


However, there are a variety of different ways in which people make a cup of tea, including waiting for the water to cool down a little first before pouring it from the kettle, only adding milk that has warmed up a bit first, leaving the teabag in for only a brief amount of time or only ever using tea leaves and a strainer- never a teabag.

Although many people feel strongly about the correct way to make a good cup of tea, the answer to how to make a proper cuppa really depends on the way that you prefer your tea.

Everybody has their own little quirks when it comes to making the perfect brew, which shows the diversity of one of the nation’s favourite drinks and how it can be enjoyed by all.