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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea


Here’s all you need to know about the ‘right’ way to make tea. No ceremony necessary. First of all, we have assumed you are using leaf tea. You really and truly should. Secondly, not all leaves require the same approach. Green leaves may prefer a longer brewing time: Darjeeling performs shabbily with milk. But let’s describe the classic process of making a traditional “black” tea as found in most of Fortnum’s (and the world’s) most popular blends.

Here is a simple digest of what works...


Fill the kettle with fresh water from the tap. Yes, your grandmother was right: water that has been boiled already will affect the taste of the tea.


As it approaches the boil, warm the teapot by rinsing it out with hot water.


Treat the teapot to one rounded teaspoon (yes, or caddy spoon) of tea leaves for each person and one extra spoonful 'for the pot'. That’s the orthodox rule, though many these days find it a little strong. You’re in charge here.


Leave to infuse for three to five minutes, depending on taste. Serve, using a tea strainer.


If making tea in a cup with a tea infuser, the same rule applies – one spoon of tea, use water just off the boil and infuse for 3-5 minutes.

The Blends

From our ever-popular Royal Blend to our Bloody Mary Tea, our selection of teas can be enjoyed any time of day for the perfect cup.

The Milk Debate

The topic of milk has divided a great many tea drinkers for quite some time. Two thorny questions immediately come to mind…

Milk or No Milk?

Many teas taste delicious with milk, particularly stronger teas such as Assam, where the milk tempers the strong flavour. Generally, the lighter the tea, the less likely it is that it needs milk. Green, white and yellow teas as well as aromatic and floral teas should be drunk without milk. Very light teas such as Darjeeling can easily be overwhelmed by milk. If you are not used to drinking your tea ‘black’, do try it – you will be surprised by the difference.


Milk First? Milk Last?

In the early days, putting the milk in last was considered to be the ‘correct’ thing to do in refined social circles, as it was a way of showing that one had the finest china on one’s table. On the other hand, putting the milk in first means that the fat in the milk emulsifies in a different way when the tea is poured, which does change the flavour of the tea, giving it a more even, creamier flavour. So, now that the days when one’s social position was judged by this sort of thing are long gone, pour your tea as you please.

The Essentials

To ensure that every cup of tea you drink is as elegant as possible, we advise you invest in a few tea making essentials, such as these