If you don’t know how to make the perfect cuppa, what will you do if a tiger shows up at your door wanting to enjoy a spot of tea? This might sound ludicrous, but it’s what happened to little Sophie in Judith Kerr’s much-loved children’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea. A production of the same name is currently showing at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket. It’s undoubtedly one of the best family shows of the summer, so be sure to grab your tickets today. And in the meantime, let’s find out how to brew that perfect cup of tea - just in case.
Perfect Cuppa Using Loose Leaf Tea
Many experts believe loose tea offers a much better flavour as the tea leaves are bigger than what you’d typically get in a regular tea bag. To make the perfect cup of loose leaf tea, simply follow the steps below.
Step 1: Use Fresh Water
A good cup of tea starts with good water. Always use fresh, filtered water and never reboil old, stale water that’s been sitting around in the kettle. If you’re guilty of doing this in the past, now is the perfect time to introduce new habits.
Step 2: Get Your Water to the Perfect Temperature
Believe it or not, simply boiling the water and pouring it straight on your tea leaves is a big no-no. The water temperature you need differs from tea to tea, so it’s worth investing in a variable temperature kettle or leaving the boiled water to sit for a while before using it if a lower temperature is required. While green tea requires a temperature of between 70-80 degrees Centigrade, herbal tea requires a water temperature of 100 degrees Centigrade for perfect steeping.
Step 3: Warm up the Pot or Mug
Warm a pot or mug by adding warm water. This will ensure the tea stays warm for as long as possible. Adding hot water to a cold teapot will cool it down too quickly and this will affect the steeping process.
Step 4: Get the Perfect Leaf to Water Ratio
Loose leaf tea packets will tell you how many scoops are needed, but a general rule to follow is about one teaspoon of tea per eight ounces of water. If you use too many leaves for the amount of water, your tea will be very strong. Some people like it this way. But if a tiger pops round, you may want to ask him how he likes his tea - just to be sure.
Step 5: Use a Good Tea Infuser
A tea infuser basket is a good choice as it’s simple to use and fits in a variety of cups or teapots. Basket tea infusers are also spacious, which is important as loose tea leaves will expand when steeping. Tea infuser balls can be a little small.
Step 6: Cover the Teapot
Always pop the lid on as this will keep the water warm and allow the flavours to transfer easily as essential oils won’t escape in the steam.
Step 7: Steep for the Right Amount of Time
While green tea only needs to steep for around two to three minutes, black tea needs between three and five minutes. And herbal tea can need up to seven minutes depending on how strong you want the flavour to be.
Step 8: Remove the Tea Leaves and Enjoy
Feel free to add milk, sugar, honey or sweetener to taste.
Perfect Cuppa Using a Tea Bag
If you want to use a tea bag instead of loose tea leaves, the basic steps and tea making rules still apply. Simply use one tea bag per cup instead of worrying about tea leaf measurements. If your teapot holds four cups of water then you’ll need four tea bags.
While waiting for your very own tiger guest, don’t forget to book tickets to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea. This is a children’s play with plenty of singalong and interactive moments for small kids. It’s been specifically designed for a young audience, making it one of the best family theatre shows in London this summer.