With 165 million cups of tea consumed each day in England (that’s almost three cups for every person in the country), it’s the most popular drink in the UK. I’m not going to explain how to make the perfect cup of tea by boiling the water to 100.4593 degrees and steeping ceylon black in the anti-gravity section of your kitchen, but I’d like to show you how a typical English cup of tea is made.

The English cup of tea is made from black tea and is usually brewed by tea bag in a cup or pot. The drink is pretty standard: black tea with milk. Sugar or sweetener is optional.

Raw Materials

Putting it All Together

  1. Put one and only one tea bag into your mug.
  2. Boil water and pour it over the tea bag. The water needs to be as hot as possible, ideally being poured immediately after the kettle whistles.
  3. Steep the tea for five minutes. The process can be expedited by squeezing each tea bag—carefully, so as not to tear—and releasing gently three times. If you are making more than one cup, extra credit for moving all of the bags into each cup before squeezing, as this increases the tea’s strength in a shorter amount of time.
  4. Add milk until the tea is within the ideal colour range (see below). Milk is a must; no cream or half-and-half.
  5. Optional: sugar or sweetener.
Five mugs filled with tea of varying colours, all being ideal

The ideal colour range

Two mugs filled with tea that's much too light

Too light

Two mugs filled with tea that's much too dark

Too dark

Tea Go-With’s

Johannes and his Grandma, sitting on a park bench, drinking tea

Johannes and his Grandma