How to make the perfect cup of tea

woman holding a cup of tea
If you're taking comfort in a hot cup of tea during lockdown 2.0, just make sure you're making it right. Photo credit: Getty.

With many New Zealanders back under lockdown and facing uncertain days ahead, there will be a lot of us taking comfort in one thing: a humble cup of tea. 

At least, that's if the last lockdown was anything to go by. According to Kiwi tea brand Bell, during the COVID-19 level 3 and 4 lockdowns earlier this year, New Zealanders consumed around seven million more cups of tea compared to the same period in the previous year. 

But according to one international tea giant, there's a strong possibility those seven million cups were made all wrong. 

Controversially, Twinings - one of the UK's most famous tea brands - says when making a cup of tea, you should put the milk in FIRST, before adding the teabag, then pour hot water on top. 


The message on the company's US website reads: "When adding milk, pour it into the cup before adding your tea. This allows the milk to cool the tea, rather than letting the tea heat the milk."

It sounds bizarre, but as Twinings is the official tea supplier to the royal family, we're happy to take their word for it. 

Brand director Stephen Twining also recently gave Town & Country some further tips about making the perfect cup of tea which may be handy for those of us reaching for our third cup to get through another long lockdown afternoon. 

One of his tips was pouring the water over the tea bag as soon as it reaches boiling point, rather than letting the kettle boil to a stop. "Over-boiling will cause oxygen to be reduced, making the tea taste 'flat'," he explained. 

Finally, when it comes to the shade of the tea, "never judge tea by its colour". 

"Colour comes more quickly, but flavour takes a bit longer to develop. Allow the correct steeping time to fully extract the best flavour." 

And here's a tip from me - the perfect lockdown cuppa always needs to be accompanied by a biscuit. These are uncertain times, so eat the Gingernut.