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Most British tea drinkers don't know how to make a proper cuppa, new study shows

80 percent of tea drinkers do not let their tea brew for long enough Credit: PA

While tea may be the nation's favourite drink, Britons are failing to make a good cuppa because they don't spend enough time doing it properly, a new study has found.

Experts from the British Science Association studied the tea-drinking habits of 1,000 Britons and found that while three quarters of the nation drinks tea daily, 80 percent don't let it brew for long enough.

The research, conducted for British Science Week, said tea should be brewed for at least two minutes - and anything up to five minutes - to properly release the flavours.

We're not allowing our tea to brew for long enough Credit: PA

However, with the increasing popularity of boiling water taps and decline in the use of teapots, the rituals surrounding the preparation of the drink are changing.

Professor Mark Miodownik from University College London expressed his frustration over the way Britons disregard the complexity of the tea-making process, comparing the speedy dunking method favoured by most to "using a laptop to hammer a nail into a wall".

"Tea is made of 30,000 different chemicals, it’s a very complex thing and those molecules take time to emerge and influence each other," he told The Telegraph.

“I think of all the people who grow and pick these plants in order for you to experience this wonderfully complex drink and at the last minute Brits throw that all away by brewing it badly.

The research found that 91 percent of tea drinkers use a ceramic mug Credit: PA

The research also found that 91 percent of tea drinkers use a ceramic mug, rather than the traditional cup and 47 percent leave the drink to cool for five minutes before tasting it.

This may be controversial, but the British do not understand how to make tea. Or at least they're not doing it properly.

And it's because they don't understand the variables.

Expediency is causing us to throw chemistry out of the window; we're not allowing our tea to brew for long enough, to release the flavours properly.

– Professor Mark Miodownik, of University College London

While some aspects of the tea-making process are subjective and often highly-debated, scientists and tea experts are united on some methods for making the perfect sup of tea.

How to make a 'proper' cup of tea

  • Use freshly boiled water (except with green tea)
  • Let the liquid cool a little, ideal sipping temperature is between 60-65C
  • A warmed ceramic pot is ideal
  • If you are making tea in a mug, add the milk later
  • Steep tea for at least two minutes
  • It can be steeped up to five minutes, depending on personal preference