Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
10 Jun 2021
3:02 pm

Five tips to make the best cup of tea

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Master tea blender shares the biggest no-nos in making tea.

Picture: Istock

Tea drinkers rejoice! The range of teas for the popular beverage continues to grow, with more flavours than ever before.

Rooibos has become synonymous for its health benefits, growing in demand and flavours. The benefits of rooibos are many, including its anti-ageing, antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties that help to fight against bacterial infections.

The branding of tea has become different. It’s no longer seen as a Sunday, or scone special, even the classic English high tea for the older generation is welcomed by younger people.

‘Tea is cool now’

Tetley’s South Africa masterclass showcased tea. With exciting flavours inspired from the continent of Asia, such as Masala Chai and Elaichi Chai with the aromatic flavour of cardamon. Also green rooibos tea with citrus and ginger flavours. These teas are incredibly versatile and suitable for those who like strong or light and fruity blends. They taste great too.

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Master tea blender Jonathan Kelsey said: “The recommended sweetener for traditional chais is sugar. Masala and elaichi teas originate from India and they are traditionally prepared with lots of milk and sugar. For those who prefer honey to sugar for taste or health reasons, this is also a suitable substitute and for diabetics, non-nutritive sweeteners can also be used.”

tips to make the best cup of tea

Tetley Masala Chai.

Tips to make the perfect cup of tea

  • Always use freshly boiled water.
  • Warm your cup or teapot first by swirling around some boiling water in it to avoid your tea cooling too quickly.
  • When preparing black tea or rooibos, use freshly boiled water. When preparing green tea, use water that hasn’t yet reached boiling point.
  • Steep the teabag for the amount of time recommended on the pack to enjoy the full flavour.
  • Black tea and flavoured black tea are generally best enjoyed with milk (and sugar if desired), while rooibos can be enjoyed with or without milk and sugar/honey, while green tea is best when consumed without milk, with a dash of honey if preferred.

We have possibly all been guilty of this when making a cup of tea. That is using re-boiled water. Kelsey’s says this a big no-no.

“The biggest mistake people make is re-boiling water. Often people will keep boiling the same kettle of water throughout the day. Re-boiling water makes tea taste flat, which is why we recommend making tea with freshly boiled water. Another common error is not brewing tea for the recommended amount of time, which means you’re not getting the full flavour of the tea,” he said.

Green tea has grown tremendously in popularity and while the taste is not to everyone’s palate, adding sweeteners or milk won’t help.

“Milk contains a protein called casein that negates some of the benefits of the natural antioxidants found in green tea. For those who find the taste of green tea bitter, a squeeze of honey or a slice of lemon is a good idea,” Kelsey ays .

Flavoured green teas such as mint, green apple, lemon also negate some of the strong taste.