Everyone knows exactly how they like their tea and how to make it, but it’s even nicer when someone else makes a cup of tea for you. There’s no getting up involved and they can hardly ruin it, can they?
Can they? Right? NO.
There’s always one, that person who offers you a cuppa and comes back with some kind of abomination in a mug. Maybe they show the teabag to the water for a second, making for a pale and unpleasant beverage. Or, the ultimate sin – putting the milk in first. It won’t brew properly!
But we all know about these tea-based transgressions. There’s something else you may have overlooked that will invariably result in a disappointing cuppa.
Re-boiling an already boiled kettle of water spells disaster for your tea, as it depletes the oxygen and nitrogen in the water, making it tastes flat and stale. Tea expert (I guess that’s a job now) William Gorman says “Usually when people’s tea goes cold they re-boil the kettle and make another cup, but by doing this you are guaranteed to give yourself a dull cup of tea.”
William advises emptying the kettle and refilling it with fresh cold water to ensure a decent brew, and even suggests popping your tea into the microwave for a quick blast to heat it back up if it gets cold – a controversial opinion, to be sure. But he goes on to explain that you aren’t altering the composition of your tea in any way by microwaving it, so it won’t affect the flavour at all.
A quick word on the ‘milk first or last’ debate comes in from more tea experts Sebastian Michaelis and Tim d’Offay, who recommend adding milk last. Putting milk in while you are brewing the tea can slow down the steeping process, as the water will not be hot enough to ensure a good old He-Man shade of tea.
Of course, how long you let the tea brew for is a matter of taste, but at least 3 minutes for a normal black tea should be plenty. Unless you are one of those animals who leaves the teabag in while they drink it. Ugh.