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Brewing the perfect cup of tea

How d'you brew? The true meaning of making tea

 There’s all sorts of rules about how to make the perfect cup of tea and sometimes it’s hard to see the tea for the leaves. We’ve been in the business since 1886, so it seemed only polite to provide a few pointers. Here’s our guide to a no-confusion infusion.

 Types of Tea


                 Green Tea          Black Tea               White Tea              Fruit Tea                   

   Rooibos Tea        Oolong Tea           Puerh Tea           Yellow Tea   

See the tea for the leaves

 When did tea suddenly get so complex? Just under 3000 years ago actually, when the Chinese emperor Shen Nong discovered a couple of tea leaves floating in his pot of boiling water. The Chinese went on to develop an extraordinary array of different teas, starting with steamed green teas and experimenting with different processing methods to create white, black, oolong and yellow teas.

  You can find out more by checking out our Tea Colour Palette, but suffice to say the difference in the tea types comes down to the varying levels of oxidation – in other words the degree to which the enzymes in the leaf are exposed to oxygen. 


What does this do to my brew?

 As black teas are fully oxidised they can withstand higher water temperatures and longer steeping times. The same goes for teas which experience a higher level of processing, such as highly roasted oolongs and fermented puerh tea.

 Teas which experience minimal or no oxidation (including green, white, and yellow tea) respond better to lower water temperature and lighter brewing. Once you know the basics you’ll never go wrong: green teas will never taste bitter, white teas will be dewy and light.


Boiling water for tea

 Fresh is best

 Just as fresh ingredients are always best in cooking, we’d suggest that you should always boil water freshly drawn from the tap or a filter jug. Freshly drawn water contains higher levels of oxygen, giving your brew a cleaner, brighter taste and bringing the best out of the leaves.

 Off the boil?

 There’s a lot of hearsay about the best tea temperatures, but it’s simpler than you think. Black, pu-erh and most oolong teas can be brewed with freshly boiled water, while less processed teas such as green, white and yellow teas should be brewed with water just off the boil.

 If you have a temperature gauge on your kettle then 80° is often considered suitable for the more delicate, less processed leaves like green tea. If your kettle’s not so snazzy, simply leave the lid open for 3-5 minutes after boiling to allow it to let off steam. The leaves will thank you for it.


How to brew loose leaf tea

 Too many spoons?


 Confused by loose leaf? Never fear, it’s as easy as a teabag. Usually we use about one teaspoon (roughly 2g) of leaf tea per cup (so if you’re making a pot, add as many teaspoons as there people). White tea and yellow tea are delicate enough to allow for 2 teaspoons per cup. 


Tea steeping times

 Each of our teas tells you how many minutes to brew, but it all depends on your taste. As a general rule, more robust teas reach the best strength between 3-5 minutes steeping while delicate teas like Darjeelings, white and green teas should only be steeped for around 2-3 minutes.

Tea Type

Boiling Temperature

Steeping Time

English Breakfast   

100 Degrees

3-5 Minutes

Gunpowder Green

80 Degrees

3-5 Minutes

White Peony

80 Degrees

2-3 Minutes

Apple & Elderflower

100 Degrees

3-5 Minutes

Take milk?


 While black tea can be enjoyed with milk, teas which have experienced less oxidation (including green, white, oolong and yellow tea) are always better without. The same goes for fruit and herbal infusions – although rooibos can be rather nice served as a latte with steamed milk and honey.

 The age-old question of whether to add the milk before or afterwards? We’d say add the milk to your cup first if pouring from a teapot, afterwards if you’ve brewed with a teabag.


Our Tea Timetable

 With over 100 different teas to choose from, making the right decision can take all day – just think, when you could spend all that time drinking tea! Here’s our menu to take you from dawn till dusk:

 Early Riser: 7am

 Our eye-opening English Breakfast works perfectly for a thermos – we’d suggest using our large leaf pyramid teabags for maximum taste, minimum time.

 Leisurely Breakfast: 9am

 Don’t you just love those lazy mornings? Treat yourself to our single estate Kenyan Tea refreshing breakfast Sencha.

 Excellent Elevenses: 11am

 If you’re starting to feel a bit peckish, bring out the biscuits and brew up a pot of our caramel-toned Milk Oolong.

 After Lunch Lounging:

 We’d suggest a green or white tea as a refreshing palate cleanser. Our Genmaicha is nutty and moreish, while our Snow Bud white tea is dewy and sweet.

 Afternoon Tea:

 Layered black tea blends work best with a spread of scones and sandwiches – our Afternoon Tea is a classic and our Robert Fortune blend is delicious with Battenberg.

 Into the Evening:

 Swap the nightcap for a soothing herbal infusion. Our sugar-free Dreamtime combines malty rooibos with a hint of apricots and honey.



 Over to you… Tea means freedom!


  ‘A perfect cup of tea’? What does that really mean? 

 The tea police would have an answer. The truth is, the perfect cup of tea really just comes down to personal taste. We believe rules should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Or sugar. Go on. Tear up the rule book. Turn your tea topsy turvy. Revolutionise the brew.


 How do YOU make a cup of tea? Show us on social! Facebook or Twitter!





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