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Scientists study proves the best method to make the perfect cup of tea

April 8, 2021
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Professor Alan Mackie has caused much controversy after explaining the ‘correct’ way to pour a cup of tea for the most flavour. 

It’s widely known all around the world that Brits love a cup of tea. The most agreed way to create a cuppa in the age-old debate is: mug, teabag, boiling water and then milk.

According to Professor Alan Mackie, we’ve been doing it wrong for years. 

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He says pouring milk on top of the tea bag, followed by hot water is the best way to get the best tasting brew. This is especially useful if you live in a hard-water area. 

Professor Alan Mackie, head of Leeds University’s School Of Food Science & Nutrition and INTU, who manufactures boiling water taps, both experimented. They found that hard water contains minerals that can stop flavour compounds properly forming. 

Hardness of water depends on how much calcium and magnesium it contains, and the more it includes, the harder the water is. 

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As a result, the milk-first approach means that proteins lower the mineral content and therefore more flavour is locked in. 

Professor Alan Mackie stated, “Flavour by and large is produced by the different compounds in tea including tannins in particular.

“The more minerals present in the water the more difficult it is for these compounds to develop the flavour – resulting in the dull cuppas you get in hard water areas.

“Making tea the traditional way – steeping a bag in hot water before removing it and adding milk – results in the tannins turning into solids before they can develop the flavour properly.”

He continued, “But, if the milk is added at the start of the steeping process then its proteins can bind to the tannins and other minerals in the water – preventing them from turning solid – which in turn gives you a far superior flavour.”

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Managing Director of INTU Boiling Water Taps, Kieran Taylor-Bradshaw added: “A decent cuppa brings joy and brightens the day, but for too many, it remains a distant dream, with hard water to blame.”

Taylor-Bradshaw says his ‘right’ way to make a brew will “be able to bring an end to the misery that blights millions of lives.”

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