To all you “traumatised Brits” triggered by an American woman’s TikTok video describing how to make a cup of “British tea,” I hear you. This is an outrage, and I, for one, roundly condemn her actions.
Several years ago I found myself in the company of a British couple who, after some gentle prodding, kindly explained how to make tea the English way. I’ve been following their instructions ever since. Here’s what they told me, for what it’s worth:
• always start with fresh, cold water
• pre-heat your pot or mug
• loose tea is preferred if you’re posh, but bagged is fine
• wait for the water to reach a rolling boil before you pour it over the tea
• steep for anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your taste (but never more than 5)
• add a bit of whole milk to taste (not cream, not half and half; whole milk)
As for the type of tea, spring for the real thing. My preference is for Yorkshire—it’s about $5 for a box of 100 bags—though PG Tips and Typhoo are also good. Stay away from Lipton (it’s too astringent). And for the love of God, don’t drink a mug of tea with the tag hanging over the side. We’re not barbarians, after all.